73°Overcast

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy has many programs that serve residents. We don’t talk much about our programs that serve other sectors, such as our Green Building Incentive Program that serves large-scale builders. While you may not hear much about it, arguably it is our must successful program.

This voluntary program guides large-scale commercial building development using the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Certification Program. Projects are designed and built using LEED in ways that use significantly less energy, water and sit more lightly on the land than they would otherwise.

Despite adding 22,000 new residents and 20+ million sq. ft. of commercial office and residential space over the past 10 years in Arlington, energy and water use have actually Decreased! That’s right, tons more people and buildings without so much as a drop of additional water or energy used. The Incentive Program isn’t solely responsible for this change, but it is a big piece that has guided 20 million square feet of development in Arlington to maintain this trend.

How much energy and water are saved as part of the Green Building Incentive Program? I’m glad you asked. Take a few minutes to read the newly released Green Building Report. We think you’ll agree; the results are pretty impressive.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

Two weeks ago the Rethink Energy program had the honor of partnering with Arlington’s Department of Technology services for a panel discussion on the Future of Energy in Arlington. This Digital Destiny series has taken Arlington on a conversational journey to look at the past, present and future of aging independently, mobility, learning and now energy.

Two questions immediately struck us at the event:

  1. How will we generate, store and use energy?
  2.  Can you predict the future of energy in Arlington?

How will we create, store and use energy?

Arlington’s electrical energy is generated far outside the Beltway, sent through transmission and distribution lines and arrives to power the device that you are presently using. More than half of the raw energy used to create electricity is lost during electrical generation.

Conversely, Arlington’s Discovery Elementary school generates as much solar power as it uses over the course of a year. This is a net zero energy school and it shows what is possible. APS is looking at how other schools may harness solar power and use it as a learning resource for students.

By mid-century, 2 of every 3 people on the planet will live in cities, or counties that resemble cities. Since cities are where people are and so much economic activity takes place, they are also the perfect place to generate and use energy. Renewable energy like solar power is an increasingly preferred power source. No fuel must be brought in, fewer additional long distance transmission lines will need to be built and the cost to install solar panels is dropping quickly.

In the past 24 months more than 120 Arlingtonians have participated in the solar co-op which has more than doubled the amount of solar on homes in Arlington. As electric vehicles increase in prevalence and are connected to homes with a solar array, opportunities exist to store solar power and even use a car to power your home.

We could go on and on about other emerging technologies, but folks, what you need to know is that things are changing quickly and the future of energy generation, storage and use is unfolding before our eyes.

Can you predict the future of energy in Arlington?

Not exactly, but here are a few things we see that may be in Arlington’s energy future.

  • Home values will increasingly be tied to energy efficiency and solar exposure
  • Electric vehicles (and eventually autonomous vehicles) will rule our streets
  • Time-of-use utility charges are likely coming, but will require the utility to expand the use of smart meters throughout the state. Energy is more expensive and dirty to produce when demand is highest, such as the middle of the day and especially during the dog days of summer.
  • Your home’s devices (e.g. dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, thermostat, air conditioner, lighting) will increasingly include microchips connected to the internet, turn things off when you leave, adjust their operation to run when energy is cheaper (as noted in tie-of-use item above), order things for you and notify you when they need service.
  • Smart grids or micro grids will become a critical piece of community infrastructure. Right now when your home’s energy goes out, you likely have no other choice for power unless you have a generator. Micro grids are small electrical grids that can be separate and isolated from the overall grid. This could afford Arlington more control to operate in the event of a power interruption (e.g. derecho, snowmageddon, the great earthquake of 8/23/11).

We had a great time discussing Arlington’s energy past, present and future! If you are interested in attending or watching future Digital Destiny events in 2018 on Place and Livelihood, stop by the Digital Destiny page as more information is firmed up.  Also, take a look at the archived event videos while you’re at it.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor November 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

If you thought you missed your last chance to plant trees in your yard this year, think again.

Hands down, fall is the best time of year to plant trees. It gives roots a chance to set and grow before the heat of the following summer arrives. Now is still a great time to get trees into the ground.

Trees are under-appreciate heroes. They clean the air, create wildlife habitat, soak up stormwater, provide food and even save energy.

When planted strategically, trees cast shade on buildings and pavement, lowering the temperatures and thus reducing demand for power to cool these buildings during summer. Planting the right trees in the right places can also create a wind break and keep your home warmer in the winter.

Here are some tips to help you select the right tree for the right spot:

Arlington’s TreeStewards can also lend a hand. Visit their website to learn about classes, upcoming events, and other resources.

Don’t delay, now is the time to drop a shade tree in the ground for future energy savings!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

It’s no secret that fall is starting to surrender itself to winter. Not only are temperatures finally dropping, the sun is setting earlier, and Daylight Saving Time is nearly upon us (reminder – set your clocks back on 11/5). 

As daylight dwindles, we use more lighting in our homes. Switching to energy efficient lighting is all the more important to save money and leave a lighter footprint on the environment.

The AIRE program is taking the guess work out of light bulb shopping by offering an LED Bulb Sampler box. The box can be checkout out, just like a book, with your library card from the Arlington Public Library.

The Bulb Sampler box allows you to sample different bulbs at home without having to buy a variety of bulbs you may not like. The Sampler includes standard bulbs of different brightness levels and colors, recessed fixture bulbs, chandelier bulbs, bathroom vanity bulb, 3-way bulb and an LED nightlight.

Stop by the Arlington Public Library or reserve a box online.

Start saving, today!

Supplemental Information:

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

  • County program recognized for helping residents to cut energy use and save money
  • Arlington County first in nation to implement Energy Lending Library concept
  • Program works to achieve Arlington’s Community Energy Plan

Our Rethink Energy Program is delighted and honored to receive the 2017 Climate and Energy Leadership award from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) for our innovative efforts to help residents save energy and leave a lighter environmental footprint through its Energy Lending Library program.

Arlington’s Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) in partnership with the Arlington Public Library launched the first-of-its-kind Energy Lending Library program in 2016. The goal of the Energy Lending Library is to increase energy awareness and support residents to take actions that make their homes more energy efficient.

The Energy Lending Program allows residents to borrow free energy efficiency tools from their local library, along with the information needed to identify and act on energy efficiency opportunities. These tools include: a thermal camera, a sampler kit of 10 different LED lightbulbs, an energy meter to manage home electricity use and Do-It-Yourself energy retrofit books.

Since the launch of the Energy Lending Library, the demand for thermal cameras and LED samplers has been so high that additional cameras and bulb boxes were added to the library to reduce the wait time — underscoring the program’s success and the community’s motivation in helping reduce energy waste. In conjunction with the Energy Lending Library roll out, Arlington County also introduced the County’s Home Energy Rebates to incentivize residents to insulate their homes and replace old equipment with energy efficient air conditioners, furnaces, and water heaters.

The Energy Lending Library, home energy rebates and other AIRE programs offer the community energy-saving resources to help rethink energy use and achieve the goals outlined in Arlington’s Community Energy Plan, which calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2050.

To check out energy-saving tools and literature, visit the AIRE: Energy Lending Library webpage.

Learn more about Arlington’s Initiative to Rethink Energy.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. 

Remodeling an existing kitchen or bathroom can be an exciting challenge. Among all of the things to consider, water and energy efficiency can easily fall by the wayside.

The Rethink Energy program is here to help make the choices a bit easier and greener. Starting this fall, Arlington Green Home Choice will launch a free kitchen and bath pilot certification program to complement the successful whole home certification program.

Free consultations and the kitchen and bath checklist will guide you in making your new space more comfortable, healthy and durable, so you can enjoy your new space and celebrate lower energy and water bills.

Elements of the program include, but are not limited to:

  • Energy Star appliances
  • LED lighting
  • High efficiency water fixtures
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Non-toxic materials and finishes
  • And much more

Act now — the first 25 projects are being taken as part of the initial pilot. If you are interested, send an email to [email protected].

Also, don’t forget, you can get a home energy rebate if your upgrades qualify under Arlington’s Home Energy Rebate Program.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. This post focuses on the Greater Arlington Solar Co-op, open for Arlington and other Northern Virginia residents interested in purchasing solar at a discount by the October 1 deadline. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

More and more Arlingtonians are considering solar power for their home. It’s a great way to slash your energy bill, your carbon footprint and your dependence on the electric grid.

But like any major purchase it’s hard to know if you’re getting a good price or what questions to ask.

If that sounds like your experience, we can help! You can go solar at up to a 20 percent discount with the Greater Arlington Solar Co-op.

To get started, visit the co-op website by the October 1 deadline for a no-obligation roof screening. You can also attend the final information session to learn more.

  • Final info session: Thursday, September 21, 6:30 p.m., Key Elementary, 2300 Key Blvd, Arlington. RSVP here.
  • Sign-up deadline: October 1

Over 80 Arlingtonians have already gone solar using co-ops like this, and solar has never been cheaper. Systems cost less than half of what they would have just five years ago and the federal tax credit offers a 30 percent discount in addition to the co-op discount.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor September 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

Tuesday marks the official start to school here in Arlington for teachers and students.  Schools, sustainability, and learning go hand in hand. We want to celebrate APS’s commitment to sustainability and this new school year with a few energy fun facts.  How many of these did you know?

  1. Arlington built a Net Zero Energy school. That means that the building creates as much energy as it uses in a year. No joke! Discovery Elementary is very energy efficient and has rooftop solar to generate electricity.
  2. Energy is learning. Discover Elementary has an online energy dashboard that shows real-time energy generation of the solar array and building energy use, and is used as a learning tool.
  3. The Earth heats and cools Discovery, Wakefield and Taylor. Geothermal wells drilled hundreds of feet into the ground use the Earth’s constant temperature to reduce heating and cooling costs.
  4. Wakefield water is heated by the sun. Solar thermal panels on the roof heat water for school use. Feel the sun’s warmth the next time you wash your hands at Wakefield.
  5. New LED lights shine brightly in the Thomas Jefferson Gym. Next time you are at the TJ gymnasium, look up. The new LED lights save about $45,000 annually and will have a payback of less than 4 years.
  6. Arlington currently has 5 LEED certified schools (Langston-Brown, Reed-Westover, Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown). LEED Schools are more energy and water efficient, and create healthy environments for learning. Every high school in Arlington is LEED certified.
  7. Daylight is thoughtfully integrated into new schools. Daylight in classrooms saves energy. Daylight in classrooms has also been shown to improve test scores and reduce off-task behavior.
  8. White roofs and vegetated roofs create cooler school environments.  Many schools feature environmentally responsible “cool” roofs.  Think about the temperature difference of an asphalt parking lot and grassy field.
  9. An abundance of bike racks available at schools. Bike racks aren’t new, but the number of covered bike racks has increased significantly.  Biking to school reduces transportation energy use and is great exercise.
  10. Stormwater is captured for irrigation and toilet flushing. Have you noticed the large planted area at Wakefield’s front door? This area captures roof rainwater which is filtered and stored for use in toilet flushing and field irrigation. This saves water and reduces that amount of energy used to treat and pump water for school use.
  11. BYOWB — Bring Your Own Water Bottle. New water bottle filling stations minimize the need for single-use water bottles and reduce the energy needed to produce and transport bottled water.

Welcome back. Have a great year students and teachers!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor August 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

On Monday, August 21, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. When the sun isn’t blocked, it offers a terrific, carbon-free source of power. Here are two things to know about solar in Arlington:

  1. Join the Greater Arlington Solar Co-op. More than 80 homeowners have installed solar with this co-op over the past two years, more than doubling the number of systems in Arlington. You can start with a free, no-obligation roof screening by visiting the co-op website before the October 1 deadline. You’ll also learn how you can save around 20 percent on the cost of a system, reduce your energy bills and help make Arlington a more sustainable community.
  2. Discovery Elementary is Arlington’s first net-zero energy school. That means that it creates as much power as it uses on an annual basis. This is due to its energy-efficient design and their massive rooftop solar installation. We’ll be watching the Discovery Elementary Energy Dashboard during the eclipse. As you may know, even a partial eclipse causes a significant decrease in the amount of solar power generated by solar cells. The 80 percent totality will occur at 2:32 pm. Will we see an 80 percent correlated decrease in power generation? Check the dashboard to find out after the eclipse!

Here is a link to Discovery’s Live Energy Dashboard

by ARLnow.com Sponsor August 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

If you cool or heat your home with forced air through vents and duct returns, keep reading.  Duct sealing is a great way to improve home comfort, save money, and improve indoor air quality.

As of July 2017, we’ve added duct sealing to Arlington’s Home Energy Rebate program.  That means that you can get up to $575 to seal your ducts.

How much of a difference in home heating and cooling efficiency do you think duct sealing makes? According to the EPA, as much as 20 percent.

What’s the big issue with duct sealing? For starters, your air ducts are a vital part of your cooling and heating system.  Metal on metal ductwork connections are never a perfect fit and over time ductwork can separate, creating holes and cracks.

All of these holes and cracks mean that your air conditioning or heating is likely blowing into your walls, crawl space and attic, and are creating uneven temperatures in your home.  It also means that air may be sucked from your crawl space or attic into your home in your air duct returns.  That isn’t the healthiest air to breathe.

What’s the fix? A technician can seal your ductwork where it is visible using an adhesive called mastic, coupled with professional grade foil tape. Believe it or not, duct tape is never recommended. The technician will also check for disconnected or poorly connected ducts and reattach them.

Most duct work isn’t visible because it is behind your walls, in your attic and crawl space, or beneath floors. Sealing that part of your ductwork requires an aerosol-based product. This process seals your ducts from the inside out.  It is the most effective way to seal your ducts. This video helps to detail the process.

Take the next step to home comfort and seal your ducts. It will make sure that your air is healthier, your home is more evenly cooled and heated, and your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard.

Learn more about home energy rebates:  https://environment.arlingtonva.us/energy/rebates/

Have questions?  Email us at [email protected]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

You read that correctly, 9 out 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. That means that you most likely live in one of them. Older Arlington homes were built when insulation was expensive and fuel was cheap. Many Arlington homes were built with no insulation and are uncomfortably hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and have uneven temperatures room-to-room and floor-to-floor.

People don’t see insulation so they don’t think about it. They see windows and doors so they think about those items more. The reality is that insulation has a significantly greater impact on the average home’s energy use and comfort than windows or doors.

Arlington’s Home Energy Rebates have helped nearly 500 households save energy, money, and increase comfort over the past year. You can receive up to $575 to add insulation and air seal your home.

Unsure where to start? Check out this list of participating Program vendors. Give an insulation contractor a call today to get an estimate. The sooner you take action the more comfortable your home will be.

POLL: What would motivate you to insulate your home?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

Arlingtonians have more options than ever to declare their independence from high energy use this summer, and to save money all year. The July 4 holiday is a great time to relax, reflect and rethink.

Here are a few of our previous posts that will save you money:

Enjoy the holiday!

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. This post focuses on the Greater Arlington Solar Co-op, currently open for Arlington and other Northern Virginia residents interested in purchasing solar at a discount.  Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

Summer is just about here and all across Arlington, people have reemerged from winter hibernation.

Our neighborhoods and neighbors are the heart of what make Arlington such a great place to live. Every week, any given corner of Arlington will be abuzz with a block party.

A block party is an opportunity for neighbors to get together, play games, let kids run about, learn a bit about your community history and just connect.

As popular as block parties are, they provide more than a good time; personal recommendations from neighbors are coveted.  Who uses which home contractor? Painter? Auto body shop? Pest control? We would like to share some information with you as you connect this spring, summer and fall.

When you get a block party permit this year, ask for a free Block Party Go Pack. Each kit includes ~25 cozies (R-value for your beverage!), along with information about Arlington’s green home renovation program, solar co-op and home energy rebates.

If your upstairs is roasting hot in the summer, if your utility bills are very high, if someone on your block has solar panels, if you’ve seen a Green Home Choice sign in a neighbor’s yard – don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation. You too could be more comfortable and save money with a smart energy upgrade.

Kick your feet up, connect with neighbors and let us help you get the conversation started as you celebrate community, summer and great neighbors.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. This post focuses on the Greater Arlington Solar Co-op, currently open for Arlington and other Northern Virginia residents interested in purchasing solar at a discount.  Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

The county’s commitment to address climate change is nothing short of a commitment to save money, do our part to leave a lighter footprint on the planet and care for Arlington’s future generations.

ARLnow previously reported on the county’s pledge to uphold the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy program helps our community make smart decisions about energy and supports individual actions that improve and sustain Arlington’s quality of life.

This year, the Rethink Energy team is celebrating 10 years of climate action. Over the past 10 years, this program has helped spur energy and money savings throughout the community, and the county government is now saving about $1 million a year from energy- and water-saving improvements in public facilities.

Big or small, every action makes a difference and we see Arlingtonians taking action every day. What can you do? Take advantage of these resources to reduce energy use and your carbon footprint, while saving a few bucks in the process:

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Have you been thinking about a home renovation, expansion, or new construction in 2017?  How about making it “green?”

More than 250 Arlingtonians have used Green Home Choice to help make their homes energy efficient, healthy, and comfortable. Green Home Choice is a county program that offers free consulting and certification for renovation projects and new home construction.

This year the county honored the homeowners, architects, and builders of 55 Green Home Choice certified homes. Green Home Choice projects go beyond just creating an energy efficient home, they include water efficiency, indoor air quality, waste reduction, stormwater management, tree and site preservation and more.

Congratulations to the homeowners, architects and builders that are helping to create more sustainable and healthy homes. Photos above note the projects that achieved certification this past year.

full list of builders, architects, and other Green Home Choice service providers is available online.

For more information about the program, visit the Green Home Choice website  or contact the program manager at [email protected]

×

Subscribe to our mailing list