Arlington ranks as one of the most sustainably powered localities in the country, according to a new study, thanks to its large share of energy-efficient buildings and bevy of electric vehicle options.
Commercial Cafe, a blog tracking commercial real estate trends, ranked Arlington 15th in the country in a new study of America’s greenest cities.
The group awarded localities points based on how much they rely on sustainable forms of energy, like wind, solar and hydropower, and docked points for how much carbon dioxide they generate, or how much they rely on traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas.
Arlington scored poorly when it came the total amount of greenhouses gases the county generates, but made up for those poor marks with its high numbers of commuters who bike or walk to work, and large number of electric vehicle charging stations.
Additionally, Arlington ranked seventh in the country with one of the highest shares of office buildings that are LEED-certified for energy efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council. Of the county’s 452 buildings, Commercial Cafe found that 106 have LEED certifications, with another eight on the way that are set to meet that specification.
Overall, San Francisco, Seattle and Oakland took the top three spots in the company’s rankings, while D.C. placed ninth.
Eagle-eyed readers of this site may have noticed something odd in this past Friday’s weekend discussion post: namely, the inclusion of an article from December among the most-viewed stories of the week.
We also found that unusual, so we did a bit of digging. It turns out, there have been more than 6,000 views of the article, “County Wins Top Environmental Award from U.S. Green Building Council,” over the past week.
Here’s an excerpt:
Arlington County is the first community in the country to win a top award for its environmentally-friendly policies from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The county was named a Platinum level community by USGBC under its new LEED for Communities program.
USGBC said the certification recognizes the county’s creation of a “sustainable and resilient urban environment that has long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing stormwater, ensuring economic prosperity and focusing on education, affordable housing, health and safety for residents and businesses.”
So from where is all this newfound interest in Arlington County’s sustainability bonafides coming? From Amazon.com, it seems.
The vast majority of the traffic to the page over the past week that can be tracked came from what appears to be an internal Amazon.com page devoted to its HQ2 search. Arlington, of course, is in the running as one of the potential landing spots for the company’s second headquarters.
Below is a chart showing traffic to the page, via Google Analytics.
No other page on ARLnow.com has a similar level of traffic coming from Amazon.
Last week a noted NYU professor who has written about the company opined that New York City and the D.C. area are among the most likely finalists for HQ2, due to a combination of being destinations for talented workers and being places that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos likes to frequent.
Puerto Rico Pets Coming to Arlington for Adoption — Dogs and cats from Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, were flown from the island to the D.C. area over the weekend by Arlington-based Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. The pets arrived via van convoy to a hero’s welcome in Shirlington and are now up for adoption. [Washington Post]
Arlington Among ‘Best Places to Live’ — City ranker Livability.com is out with its 2018 “Top 100 Best Places To Live” list and Arlington has placed No. 35, one spot below Pittsburgh and one above Asheville, N.C. Arlington previously ranked No. 3 on the list. [Livability]
Lower Property Value Rise Will Cause Budget Challenges — “The year-over-year increase in real-estate assessments throughout Arlington came in lower than government officials had expected, which may cause problems for County Board members trying to avoid either tax increases or budget cuts.” [InsideNova]
More on Key Bridge Marriott Sale — The new owners of the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn may benefit from the previous owner’s application to the FAA to construct buildings up to 470 feet tall on the property, which overlooks Georgetown and the Potomac River. The FAA application is “an indication it was setting the stage for the site’s redevelopment.” [Washington Business Journal]
Betsy Franz Leaves Leadership Center — Leadership Center for Excellence (formerly Leadership Arlington) founding President and CEO Betsy Frantz is leaving the organization in April to become President of the Virginia Hospital Center Health System Foundation. Liz Nohra, the COO of LCE, will take over as Acting President and CEO. [Leadership Center for Excellence]
Eviction Notice for TechShop in Crystal City — “A Jan. 18 eviction notice from the Arlington County sheriff’s department now hangs in the storefront of the maker space chain’s Crystal City location. The notice comes more than a month after San Jose, California-based TechShop announced it would file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and then, a few weeks later, disclosed in early December it was reaching a deal to be acquired.” [Washington Business Journal]
County to Connect Building Owners and Investors for Sustainability — “All systems are ‘go’ for Arlington’s new ‘C-PACE’ program, a first-in-Virginia public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing to improve energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings.” [Arlington County]
Reminder: Use Salt in Moderation — Prior to this morning’s rain, Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services tweeted a reminder to residents to avoid excess application of salt during freezing weather. “Use only as much as needed and no more to melt ice because this will wash into our watershed,” DES said. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Hot Item for the Holidays: E-ZPass — With tolling set to begin on what are now the I-66 HOT lanes, stores in Arlington and elsewhere in Northern Virginia are having trouble keeping E-ZPass transponders in stock, particularly the E-ZPass Flex devices that will allow carpoolers to continue to use I-66 for free. [WJLA]
W&OD Trail Changes Discussed — Officials are considering options for separating cyclists from those on foot on the W&OD Trail. “I love the potential separation,” Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt is quoted as saying. “I think that will be well-received by both sets of users.” [InsideNova]
Dad Speaks Out After W-L Grad Son ODs — “As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction,” writes retired Adm. James Winnefeld, in an Atlantic article entitled “No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic.” Jonathan Winnefeld, a Washington-Lee High School grad, died in Denver this past September “after a long and honorable battle with addiction.” [The Atlantic, Legacy, Denver Post]
More on Accessory Dwelling Vote — A GGW writer argues that while the Arlington County Board is to be commended for allowing the creation of basement apartments that can be rented out, it punted on the issue of backyard cottages at its Tuesday meeting. The Board’s action on so-called Accessory Dwelling Units included instructing the County Manager to study setbacks from the property line for detached accessory structures before any are approved under new rules. [Greater Greater Washington]
New Incentive for Sustainable Buildings — “Arlington County will pioneer Virginia’s first Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program–a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings in the county.” [Arlington County]
DCA Tweets at Teigen — Model and social media personality Chrissy Teigen told followers yesterday that she left “a very large mom bra” under her seat on a flight that arrived at a D.C. area airport. Reagan National Airport’s official Twitter account responded by recommending that Teigen stop by the Spanx store in the airport for a replacement. [Twitter]
‘Age in Place’ Tax Deferral Questioned — Mortgage and title companies are reportedly not big fans of Arlington’s Real Estate Tax Relief Program, which allows older residents who meet certain income requirements to defer property tax payments until the home is sold. The system has sometimes sprung large tax bills on unsuspecting heirs, real estate agents and mortgage settlement officers. [Falls Church News-Press]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
Arlington Man’s Dog Found Days After Fatal Crash — Ten days after 57-year-old Arlington resident William F. Schlesinger died in a crash on I-95 in North Carolina, his dog has been found alive. Nellie is being called a “miracle dog” after she wandered into a convenience store late at night with a broken leg and numerous bug bites. She had been riding in the pickup truck with Schlesinger when he reportedly fell asleep, veered off the highway and slammed into a tree. [Fayetteville Observer]
Local Election Fundraising Very Light — The frontrunners for Arlington County Board and School Board only have a few thousand dollars apiece in the bank as of the beginning of the month. Their opponents have even less. “It may turn out to be one of the least costly County Board general elections in recent history,” the Sun Gazette reports. [InsideNova]
State Dept. Office Staying in Arlington — The U.S. State Department is keeping its footprint in Rosslyn for another decade-and-a-half. The GSA signed a lease worth just over $200 million over 15 years for nearly 350,000 square feet of office space in central Rosslyn. The lease extends over two buildings, with one of the buildings also housing a private State Department contractor. [Washington Business Journal]
Update: W-L Expected to Reopen Next Week — Washington-Lee High School is expected to reopen for summer school classes next week after an air conditioning issue closed the school this week. W-L’s summer school classes were temporarily moved to Yorktown High School this week. [Arlington Public Schools]
‘Capital Bikeshare Fiesta’ in Nauck — “Arlington’s Dieta Cero-Auto program will be promoting Capital Bikeshare this Saturday at Drew Sprayground (3514 22nd Street S.) from 2-5 p.m. Stop by and purchase your CaBi membership for 50% off!” [Event Calendar]
Discovery Named ‘Green Ribbon School’ — “Discovery Elementary School is being recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School… Discovery is one of 45 schools being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Earlier this summer the Urban Libraries Council honored Arlington Public Library as its 2012 Top Innovator for Sustainability.
The council singled out the library’s “Bikes, Buildings and Broccoli” approach to transportation, energy and food sustainability as one of the factors that helped it win the award. Urban Libraries Council CEO Susan Benton spoke about the award at the July 24 County Board meeting, as seen in the video below from the county’s Arlington TV channel.
Low Attendance at Tax Rate Hearing — At a public hearing last night, it only took half an hour for the County Board to hear all the speakers for and against raising Arlington’s real estate tax rate. In the end, those in favor of raising the tax rate to pay for additional government services outnumbered those who wanted less spending. [Sun Gazette]
Frida Kahlo Exhibit Closes Sunday — Arlington’s exclusive and much-publicized exhibit of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s personal photos will come to a close this weekend. Hours have now been extended on Sunday, the last day of the exhibit at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd). The remaining hours are: Friday 4:00 to 11:00 p.m., Saturday 12:00 to 11:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Zimmerman: Metro Needs More Support — Arlington County Board member and former Metro Board member Chris Zimmerman says Metro needs more funding from governments, especially from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the federal government. Zimmerman also recommends keeping any potential fare increase small and making sure it doesn’t “punish the folks who take the shortest trips.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Crystal City Apartment Building Sold — The 442-unit Buchanan apartment building in Crystal City has changed hands for $175 million. The property was sold by Archstone to Dweck Properties, the same firm that bought the Crystal Plaza Apartments from Archstone last year. [CoStar]
Green Games Saved Some Green — Forget the Hunger Games, Arlington County says its “Green Games” competition was a blockbuster in terms of savings. The sustainability challenge saved $2 million in avoided energy and water costs, the county announced at an awards ceremony on Thursday. [Arlington County]
‘Housing 4 Hipsters’ Attracts a Crowd — Arlington’s inaugural “Housing 4 Hipsters” event attracted a crowd of about 100 young people Monday night, though it seems unlikely that any of the attendees were actually “hipsters” in the literal sense. [Washington City Paper]
ShoeFly to Close — Clarendon shoe store ShoeFly is closing up shop after 10 years in business. The store is planning on holding a going-out-of-business sale. [Washington Business Journal]
Va. Congressional Districts Approved — The U.S. Department of Justice has approved Virginia’s redrawn congressional districts, allowing the state’s congressional primaries to move ahead on time. The primaries are scheduled for June 12. [Office of the Attorney General]
‘Green Patriot’ Award Nominations — George Mason University is seeking nominations for its “Arlington Green Patriot” awards. The award “recognizes an individual, business or organization that exemplifies sustainability in more than one aspect of their recent life or operations to better civic life in Arlington.” An online nomination form is available. The deadline for nominations is March 30.
Arlington is launching a ‘Retail Doors Campaign’ as part of its ongoing Green Games business sustainability competition. The campaign encourages individual shops and restaurants to save energy by closing their doors.
“The Campaign is a voluntary effort through which retailers pledge to keep their doors closed if the air conditioning or heat is running,” said county spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel. “Arlington is asking retailers to make this commitment to close their doors, which will help save them money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create a more comfortable indoor environment for staff and customers.”
It’s “a win-win situation all around,” Whalen McDaniel said.
Businesses that want to join the campaign can sign up on the Arlington Green Games website.
Somber Anniversary at the Pentagon — A crowd of 1,600 people — including survivors and loved ones of victims — gathered at the Pentagon yesterday to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks. Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Adm. Mike Mullen were among the speakers. President Obama arrived later in the afternoon and laid a wreath at the Pentagon Memorial. [Washington Post, New York Times]
‘Walmart’ Ordinance May Be Delayed — The County Board was supposed to vote this month on a new ordinance designed to give the board final approval on all ‘big-box’ development in Arlington, but county staff wants another month to write the ordinance. [Sun Gazette]
APS Creates Sustainability Committee — Arlington Public Schools have created a “Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability” in order to be “active stewards in protecting the environment.” The committee will examine sustainability policies and practices as well as energy and environmental curriculum in the schools. [Arlington Public Schools]
From a county press release:
Arlington County has been selected as one of four U.S. local governments to receive assistance to create a Green Office Challenge program. The Green Office Challenge is an innovative program that engages property managers and office tenants in a friendly competition to save money and reduce energy use in their buildings, as well as reduce waste, save water, and reach other environmental goals.