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Rethink Energy: Home Energy Rebate Deadline June 18

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. 

Arlington’s Home Energy Rebates will be available through June 18. Time is limited to insulate your home or upgrade to a more efficient water heater, heating or cooling system!

Nothing motivates like a deadline, right?

Follow these simple steps to claim your rebate:

1. Make energy upgrades to your home. The following items are eligible:

  • Central air conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces and boilers and water heaters that meet the program’s minimum efficiency levels.
  • Duct sealing, air sealing and insulation projects.

2. Download, complete and submit your application, including your receipts or other proof of payment. Applications must be emailed or postmarked by the June 18 deadline to be eligible.

3. Receive your rebate check and enjoy your lower energy bills! It’s that easy.

Visit the rebate website for details.

You can also send your questions to us at [email protected]. We’re here to help!

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Rethink Energy: Do You Own, Manage or Develop Commercial Property?

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. 

We can help save you money.

Arlington County recently launched C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy), a green financing program for Arlington buildings. C-PACE provides long-term financing for projects that improve the energy or water efficiency of existing or new commercial buildings in the county. 

Existing Buildings

The program makes it easier and cheaper for existing commercial properties to undertake efficiency-enhancing projects, such as:

  • Lighting retrofits
  • New heating and cooling systems
  • Added insulation and new windows
  • Water pump and electric motor upgrades
  • Solar panels and other retrofits…

Projects can be designed to be profitable from day one by providing long-term financing for up to 25 years. This is possible because the work lowers utility bills below the monthly repayment cost. The program was created by the County through a public-private partnership, and no County funds are used to facilitate building upgrades and energy reductions.

New Development

Commercial property developers can finance up to 20 percent of the total construction cost of their new buildings, provided the building exceeds minimum energy efficiency standards.

Learn more

If you own, manage or develop commercial property in Arlington learn more at: www.arlington-pace.us

Contractors can learn more at the upcoming workshop on March 8 at 8 a.m. Space is limited. Learn more and RSVP here: https://arlington-pace.us/event/c-pace-contractor-workshop-030818/

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Rethink Energy: Free Electric Vehicle Chargers

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. 

Do you own an electric vehicle, or have you thought of purchasing one?

Electric vehicles, or EVs, offer a number of benefits over their gas-guzzling cousins: they’re cheaper to operate, easier on the environment and come flush with exciting new technologies. But if you live in a multifamily building, finding a place to charge your EV can be a challenge.

Enter Electrify America. As part of the Volkswagen settlement, Electrify America is installing $40 million worth of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. They’re specifically looking for suggestions of multifamily buildings and workplaces that could benefit from an EV charger.

That’s right, your multifamily building or workplace could have an electric vehicle charging station installed for free. Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit electrifyamerica.com/submissions before March 1.
  2. Select “Specific Site Location” from the first dropdown menu, where it says “Submission Type.”
  3. Fill in the rest of the form. This should only take a few minutes.
  4. Electrify America will weigh these suggestions over the coming months. If your site is selected, they’ll reach back out to you.

Make sure you submit your building or workplace before the March 1 deadline. If you would like assistance filling out the form or have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

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Rethink Energy: What the 30% Solar Tariff Means for Arlingtonians

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. 

Solar has been booming in Arlington.

Through Arlington Solar Co-ops, Arlingtonians have more than doubled the amount of solar on homes in just 2 years. The co-op helps residents buy solar panels in bulk to drive down the cost by as much as 20%.

This month the federal government announced a 30% tariff on solar equipment manufactured outside of the U.S. But what does this really mean for Arlingtonians who want to go solar?

The short answer is that the 30% tariff will add approximately 10-15 cents per watt, or about 6% to a system’s total cost. This is because solar panels are only a portion of the cost of going solar.

The tariff does not apply to the “soft costs” associated with going solar. The increased cost of panels would add about $1,050 to the total cost of an average solar installation. If you apply for the 30% federal solar tax credit available to residents, the additional tariff amounts to approximately $735 per home system.

We will launch another solar co-op this spring to support residents who want to lead on going solar, take their energy future into their own hands and help create a more sustainable Arlington.

If you would like to receive information about the co-op when it opens, please email [email protected].

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Rethink Energy: Free Energy Conservation Kit

When we spot a great opportunity for Arlingtonians to save energy, we share it.

Washington Gas has a new Online Home Energy Profile tool. It takes less than five minutes and there is no sign up or personal information required.

The tool will give you an energy ranking, savings estimate and upgrade recommendations that make the most sense for your home.

Above all, if you are a Washington Gas customer, you can submit your address and have a FREE energy conservation kit sent to your home.

Free Energy Kits Include:

  • Two 1.5 GPM Shower Heads
  • Three 1 GPM Faucet Aerators
  • Self Adhesive Door Sweeps
  • One 17 ft. Roll of Weather Stripping

Sealing air leaks, lowering water and sewer bills and reducing the amount of hot water used at home for free is a no brainer. Don’t delay, get yours before they run out!

Washington Gas Online Home Energy Profile Tool
>>FREE Energy Conservation Kit<<

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Rethink Energy: 200+ Arlingtonians Prepared for Cold

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. 

More than 200 Arlington homeowners prepared for the cold by air sealing or insulating their homes with Arlington’s Home Energy Rebates. You, too, can apply for up to $575 in rebates for added insulation and air sealing. The rebate covers 30% of the cost up to $575. You are eligible for the rebate if you spend a minimum of $200.

Insulation and air sealing photos generally aren’t the most glamourous. Nevertheless, we picked out some insulation photos from the 200+ rebate projects and placed them in the photo slider above. These will give you a sense of the types of projects that your neighbors have completed.

Do you have uneven temperatures throughout your home? Can you feel the bitter wind blowing even when to doors and windows are closed? Is your floor freezing cold? What are you waiting for!? Join other Arlingtonians that already weatherized their homes and are enjoying the benefits of year-round comfort and lower utility bills.

In most cases, the fixes aren’t complex and the cost will likely be less than you expect. In one day you can have your home insulated and be comfortable year after year.

Doesn’t my home already have insulation?

It probably has some, but 9 out of 10 homes don’t have enough. Older homes are even more likely to be deficient. Signs of inadequate insulation or air leaks include drafts, rooms that are uncomfortably cold or high energy bills.

In most houses, the attic is the easiest and most effective place to air seal and insulate.

How do I get started?

To find a contractor that specializes in this type of work, visit the list of contractors that have participated in this program or try this searchable directory.

If you are handy and ready to take matters into your own hands, an insulation or air sealing project is as simple as a trip to your local store and an afternoon in your attic. ENERGY STAR has great resources to help you identify inadequate insulation, install insulation and air seal your home.

It’s that easy. Just make a decision to be comfortable and reduce your utility bills. Install insulation and/or air sealing. Apply for a rebate!

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Rethink Energy: New Green Building Report

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.

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Rethink Energy: Arlington’s Energy Future

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.

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Rethink Energy: It’s Not Too Late, Plant a Tree

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!

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Rethink Energy: Daylight Saving Time

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:

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Rethink Energy: Honored with 2017 Climate and Energy Leadership Award

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.

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Rethink Energy: Green Kitchen and Bath Certification Pilot Program to Launch

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.

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Rethink Energy: Last Chance to Go Solar at a Discount

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.

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Rethink Energy: 11 APS Energy Fun Facts You Didn’t Know, But Should

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!

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Rethink Energy: Throwing Shade – Two Arlington Solar & Eclipse Factoids

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

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