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Salad shop Chopt plans to open its new Ballston location next month, touting the chain’s new “sustainable restaurant design.”

The Chopt at 4201 Wilson Blvd — in the Ballston Exchange complex, near Shake Shack — will open on a yet-to-be-announced date in June. It will feature “a more eco-friendly means of operating… the first of its kind for the brand, designed explicitly to have a reduced environmental impression,” according to a press release.

The eatery will also emphasize contactless ordering, much like its burger-oriented neighbor, with self-service kiosks and QR codes for ordering at the tables.

“At 1,912 sq ft, Ballston seats 16 guests total, 10 at the bar with views of the salad making station and 6 in a large booth,” said the release. “The storefront will be the first Chopt to go to complete contactless ordering with a variety of advanced ways to order its creative salads, wraps and warm bowls, including self-service kiosks and new QR code tableside ordering and delivery.”

Chopt will compete fellow salad chain Sweetgreen — located two blocks away, along Wilson Blvd — for the patronage of Ballston’s office and apartment dwellers.

In addition to a number of locations in the District, Chopt has existing locations in Rosslyn and McLean.

The full press release is below.

Chopt, the fast-casual salad pioneer, announces plans to expand its footprint in Virginia with a new sustainable restaurant design set to open in the Ballston Exchange at 4201 Wilson Blvd Suite 0185 this June. Opening dates to come.

Chopt’s goal has always been to find a more eco-friendly means of operating and the Ballston restaurant is the first of its kind for the brand, designed explicitly to have a reduced environmental impression. This store will have an energy efficient HVAC system, smaller spatial footprint, energy efficient kitchen wares, and streamlined operations to lower overall energy consumption, and potentially, GHG emissions.

“Sustainability is on everyone’s mind right now and it’s a focus for us as we build and design each new restaurant,” said Dennis Lee, VP of Development at Founders Table. “We’ve invested in shrinking our environmental footprint, and made an effort to quantify the energy savings associated with the new store model – we look forward to seeing how our work can continue to evolve.”

At 1,912 sq ft, Ballston seats 16 guests total, 10 at the bar with views of the salad making station and 6 in a large booth. The storefront will be the first Chopt to go to complete contactless ordering with a variety of advanced ways to order its creative salads, wraps and warm bowls, including self-service kiosks and new QR code tableside ordering and delivery. In addition to its classic and customer craft salad options, Chopt creates limited-edition “Destination Menus” and Ballston will open with Destination California.

“We eagerly anticipate this opening, to see how our customers respond to the new store design,” said Julie Atkinson, Chopt’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s important to play our part in improving our environmental impact and we’ll continue to make decisions with this in mind across all of our efforts.”

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Morning Notes

The entrance to the parking garage on 20th St. in Crystal City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Jogger Robbed Near Rosslyn — “The victim was jogging in the area when the unknown male suspect approached, grabbed her by the arm and pushed her away while attempting to remove her cell phone from her hand. A brief struggle ensued, during which the suspect stole the victim’s cell phone before fleeing the scene in a white sedan. The victim sustained minor injuries and did not require the treatment of medics.” [ACPD]

JBG Announces Carbon Neutrality — “JBG Smith Properties, in its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance report released Friday, said it achieved carbon neutrality across its 16.8 million-square-foot operating portfolio in 2021 as a result of its purchases of carbon offsets and renewable energy credits… More than 50% of the Bethesda-based firm’s holdings are located in Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard, the area branded as National Landing.” [Washington Business Journal]

ACPD Motor Officer Is No. 1 — “Over the weekend, members of the Special Operations Section competed in the 2022 NOVA Motor Rodeo. Congratulations to all the participants including ACPD’s Corporal Maxwell who placed 1st in the Individual Slow Ride – Police Category!” [Twitter]

More Dangerous I-395 Driving — From public safety watcher Dave Statter: “This is a new one for #395cam: Driver gets halfway down Rt 110N ramp & decides that’s not where they want to to go. Watch what they do.” [Twitter]

It’s Tuesday — Possible light rain in the afternoon and evening. High of 66 and low of 57. Sunrise at 6:18 am and sunset at 7:57 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn.

Very good boys (and girls) can now eat food that’s good for the planet, from a Clarendon-based company called Chippin.

It all started when founder Haley Russell gave her goldendoodle a cricket to eat, and her dog enjoyed it.

“That initiated the journey of looking at how might we be able to give all-natural alternative protein sources to nourish four-legged family members and meet this totally unaddressed need, which is for pet parents to be able to give them great nutrition while aligning purchases the way they buy other things” — that is, with a focus on environmental impact, she tells ARLnow.

The company sells dog treats and dog food made from crickets, an invasive species of fish and a CO2-sucking algae called spirulina. Russell says Chippin enjoyed a successful 2021: it launched new products and hit the shelves of big-box pet supply store Petco, which aims to have sustainable food companies comprise half of the food brands it offers by 2025.

And this year, she’s focused on increasing distribution and finding new retail and wholesale partnerships. While Russell couldn’t divulge any more details, she said Chippin is looking to respond to the tremendous demand for cat food products later in 2022.

U.S. pets are the fifth-largest global meat consumers, according to Russell, so how pet owners choose to feed their companion animals has a significant impact on the environment. Production of traditional protein sources such as chicken, beef and pork releases methane and CO2 emissions, leads to water overconsumption and degrades water and air quality, among other consequences, she noted.

Haley Russell, founder of Chippin (courtesy photo)

But when Russell began looking for alternatives, she says she found “nothing on the market that was delivering on what I wanted: a high-quality, eco-friendly, tasty product.”

Her dog’s eager consumption of a cricket was not the only source of inspiration for Chippin. Russell, a graduate of Northwestern University, says she studied economics and global health and has always been interested in how food could be “an agent for change for health and the environment.”

Her years in the Great Lakes region prompted her to see if silver carp — an invasive species threatening the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing economy — could become another source of food for dogs. Her hunch was right.

“We created the first-of-its-kind dog food that solves for providing high-quality nutrition with a protein for dogs with allergies to beef and chicken and helps restore biodiversity in the Great Lakes while fishing for a fish we need to fish for,” she said.

Every product is vetted by veterinarians and researchers at the University of Illinois, who ensure these “planet-friendly proteins” are healthy and biologically appropriate for dogs, she said. They’re also more digestible than chicken.

The Maryland native says Clarendon, where she also lives, is the paw-fect fit for Chippin, which is “seeking to be agents for change in taking climate action in an industry that has totally been under-addressed.”

“It’s dog-friendly neighborhood and my team really enjoys engaging with the vibrant community of pet parents here,” she said.

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(Updated 4:40 p.m.) County commissioners welcome Amazon’s latest revisions to plans for the second phase of its HQ2 in Pentagon City — but are pushing for more greenery and accessibility.

Designs for Phase 2, also known as PenPlace, are wending through Arlington County’s planning review process.

Phase 2 will be anchored by a lush, futuristic building, dubbed “The Helix,” and feature three, 22-story office buildings, three retail pavilions, a childcare center, a permanent home for Arlington Community High School, 2.5 acres of public green space, multi-modal pathways and underground parking.

Amazon is massaging out the details with county staff, commissioners and community representatives to ready the plans for Planning Commission and County Board review, possibly in the spring. The tech giant has already updated the three office buildings, pathways and green spaces in response to requests for more architectural diversity and plantings.

“The team has been careful reviewing all comments and believe together, we are making PenPlace a better project for the entire community,” said Joe Chapman, Amazon’s Director of Global Real Estate and Facilities, during a meeting last night. “We are committed to the process and to the community.”

Project designers presented their changes during a Site Plan Review Committee meeting last night (Monday). County staff, commissioners and community members asked for better accessibility for people with disabilities, more pedestrian safety features, increased tree canopy and even more plants.

“In general, everyone really likes the presentation and appreciates the refinements to the design from the [Long Range Planning Committee] to now, and from the comments raised in the online period,” Planning Commission member Elizabeth Gearin said. “There’s very strong and widespread appreciation for changes to the design, for the early incorporation of sustainability, biophilia and art.”

Still, commissioners recommended leveling the entrances to underground parking garages so drivers have clearer views of pedestrians. They and county staff asked Amazon to revisit a set of stairs leading from Army-Navy Drive to an “elevated forest walk” on the northern end of the site.

“We’d really like to see the stairs removed and replaced with ramp that everyone can use equally,” Gearin said.

A rendering of the “elevated forest walk” and stairs from Army-Navy Drive (via Arlington County)

Those suggestions follow up on changes Amazon made this summer to the Army-Navy frontage, “to greatly improve what was seen as a foreboding frontage,” county planner Peter Schulz said.

Others called for more and taller trees throughout the site — not just in the “elevated forest.”

“Anything less than towering oak will look out of place next to 22-story buildings,” said Arlington Tree Action Group member Anne Bodine.

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The Crossing Clarendon (staff photo)

The Crossing Clarendon says it has “some ‘reel’ good news to share.”

The retail and residential development formerly known as Market Common Clarendon has netted Seamore’s, a New York-based sustainable seafood spot, announcing the new restaurant tenant on social media.

“Born from a love of sustainable and local fishing, Seamore’s brings the ocean back to the urban table with modern, healthy dishes for every eater,” the post said. “From lobster rolls, fish tacos, to their signature tuna poke, this is Clarendon’s best catch and you’ll only find it at The Crossing Clarendon.”

The restaurant is slated to operate in a 2,605-square foot spot at the corner of N. Edgewood Street and Clarendon Blvd — where the old Baja Fresh used to be — on the same strip as the MyEyeDr. and Nicecream. The building has since been renovated, along with the four-story office building behind it.

Regency Centers and Seamore’s were not immediately able to provide additional details about when the restaurant could open.

Seamore’s has a half-dozen locations around New York City, and was founded by a New Yorker seeking better options in Manhattan for local fish.

“For a city surrounded by water, New York shockingly lacks menus with local fish,” the restaurant’s website says. “Seamore’s was born to change this. Founded by native New Yorker, Michael Chernow, who longed for better fish tacos and a reunion of city and sea, Seamore’s brings the ocean back to the urban table in a deliciously modern and healthy way.”

The menu is always changing based on what’s available, according to the restaurant.

Seamore’s says it only sells fish with stable or growing populations that are harvested “in an environmentally conscious manner.”

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Amazon has made changes to its plan for the second phase of the company’s HQ2 in Pentagon City.

For the last eight months, Amazon has been hammering out the details of the planned second phase, on the PenPlace site at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S. Today (Thursday) it unveiled some significant tweaks it has made in response to local feedback.

Members from the community have weighed in on everything from transportation to sustainability to architecture, suggesting changes that would make the office campus more walking- and biking-friendly, more verdant and more architecturally interesting.

“We appreciate the ideas and have made changes to enhance the overall connectivity of the site. We also incorporated additional sustainable elements and more greenery into the design, and diversified the architecture within PenPlace,” wrote Joe Chapman, Amazon’s director of global real estate and facilities, in a blog post published this morning.

“These updates make the entire project even better, benefitting our neighbors and all those that will visit HQ2,” he continued.

PenPlace is situated on an 11-acre site near the Pentagon City Metro station, bordered by Army Navy Drive, S. Eads Street, 12rd Street S. and S. Fern Street. It will be anchored by a lush, futuristic building, dubbed “The Helix,” and feature three, 22-story office buildings, retail pavilions, a childcare center and a permanent home for Arlington Community High School. A park drawing inspiration from local waterways will run north-south through the site.

But residents were critical of the multimodal transportation planning Amazon offered at first.

In response, Amazon changed some circulation patterns surrounding and running through the site, widened the paths running east to west to accommodate more pedestrians and cyclists and widened certain sidewalks where the heaviest pedestrian traffic is anticipated.

Transit options around PenPlace (via Arlington County)

It also added protected bike lanes along S. Eads Street and S. Fern Street to connect PenPlace to the county’s surrounding local bike transit plan.

“All of these adjustments will create more direct, wider pathways through the site and make traversing PenPlace even safer,” Chapman said. “It will also make the public Central Green and urban forest at the center of PenPlace even more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”

At least one transit advocate welcomed the change, but said a protected bike lane along 12th Street S. would further improve circulation.

Per an Amazon blog post, residents who weighed in on the planning process told Amazon to add even more green space and native plant species to its campus. In turn, the tech and ecommerce giant expanded the planted area by 5,500 square feet and reduced the amount of impermeable surfaces, such as paving.

“We are excited to be able to deliver 2.5 acres of public open space for everyone to enjoy at PenPlace,” Chapman said.

Amazon increased the plantings within PenPlace in response to community feedback (via Arlington County)

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For Arlington’s environmentally-sustainable schools — one of which was praised as a model for the country during an event yesterday — the buildings are teaching tools.

Agency heads from former presidential administrations and other boldface names in education toured Alice West Fleet Elementary School yesterday, highlighting the building as an exemplary, energy-efficient school, while teachers noted the impact it has on students.

The visitors, representing the nonprofit Aspen Institute, came to the school to help unveil the organization’s K12 Climate Action initiative environmental plan for schools.

“I hope school districts around the country can learn from Arlington,” said John King Jr., former Secretary of Education under Barack Obama.

The school opened in the fall of 2019 and cost around $59 million, according to Arlington Public Schools. A contract allowed a company to put solar panels on the roof at no upfront cost to APS. Seventy-two 560-foot-deep underground wells exchange heat with the ground.

“It’s an all-electric building, so no fossil fuels are burned operating this building,” Wyck Knox of VMDO Architects, whose firm designed the school, told visitors.

Fleet is one of three schools that the school system considers net-zero in terms of energy usage — the others being Discovery Elementary School and the newly opened Cardinal Elementary School.

“Generally, the building doesn’t cost more to do these features,” said Jeffrey Chambers, the director of design and construction for Arlington Public Schools. “A sustainable building should not cost you anymore than a regular building if you’re smart about what you do.”

Discovery’s energy costs are less than $15,000 per year, which compares to around $120,000 for a typical elementary school, said APS Director of Facilities and Operations Catherine Lin, as visitors toured a classroom overlooking a playground and the solar panel-covered roof.

The school also takes advantage of the sunlight to turn off electric lights and illuminate classrooms naturally whenever possible.

Aspen Institute leaders lauded Fleet Elementary as an example of what districts can do with new and retrofitted buildings.

“This is an amazing school and precisely the thing we want to highlight,” said New Jersey governor and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration.

King and Whitman, the co-chairs of the climate initiative, noted the impact the nation’s school districts have on the environment with the amount of land, buses and other resources at their disposal. Others in attendance included American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, teacher and philanthropist Valerie Rockefeller, and APS Superintendent Francisco Durán.

Along with other environmental efforts, APS announced last month that it’s getting three fully electric school buses to replace those with diesel engines. The district aims to debut them next fall.

Fourth grade history and science teacher Ashley Snyder said that the school’s sustainability efforts have inspired students to talk with their families about the environment — including one family that’s now getting a rain barrel and another that’s talking about installing solar panels in the community.

She noted how the building itself is part of a student’s education. Each floor teaches students about earth science, while a cylindrical column with blue and red lights displays live data about how much energy the building is creating and using.

“Being able to have a field trip right at our school has been so life changing,” Snyder said.

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Morning Notes

Board OKs More Small Biz Money — “The Arlington County Board voted 5-0 today to approve the Small Business GRANT 2.0 program, which will provide direct financial assistance to small businesses as they continue to recover from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The GRANT 2.0 program will provide immediate funds to businesses and nonprofits to aid in their short-term recovery.” [Arlington County]

Amazon Ramps Up HQ2 Hiring — “That job posting is one of roughly 2,700 openings newly unveiled by Amazon for its HQ2 campus, 99% of which are full-time corporate roles. The slew of new openings was added to the company’s jobs site earlier this week, ahead of Wednesday’s annual Amazon Career Day, held virtually… This is one of the bigger hiring pushes by the tech giant, which disclosed this month that its latest HQ2 employee tally tops 3,000, nearly double its last count in December.” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Charts Path to Net Zero Carbon — “Amazon.com Inc.’s design for the second phase of its HQ2 development must be carbon-neutral to comply with both Arlington County’s policy, as well as the tech giant’s own climate pledge to reach that status by 2040… The company’s consultant, Seattle-based Paladino and Co. Inc., found that carbon neutrality is “likely feasible” based on the current PenPlace [HQ2] design.” [Washington Business Journal]

Another Video of Columbia Pike Flooding — “We needed some scuba gear out on Columbia Pike” during Thursday’s flash flooding near S. Greenbrier Street. [Twitter]

Lots of Locals Want to Work at the Polls — “Arlington has too many people wanting to serve as poll officials in the upcoming election. Way, way too many. About 440 are needed and more than 1,100 expressed interest in serving, said Eric Olsen, Arlington’s deputy registrar. He called it, without hyperbole, ‘an extraordinary amount of interest.'” [Sun Gazette]

Remembering the Alexandria Canal — “The canal was completed in 1843. It roughly followed today’s Metro blue line and South Eads Street in Crystal City. Canal shipping, though interrupted by the Civil War, continued until 1886, by which time, railroads had rendered it obsolete. In modern times, remnants of the Aqueduct Bridge are visible from both the Virginia and Georgetown sides of the Potomac.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

It’s the End of Summers — The former Summers restaurant in Courthouse was torn down yesterday, making way for a new apartment development. Video of the demolition shows water being sprayed to control dust as the building was razed. [Twitter]

Staffing Concerns At 911 Dispatch Center — “The head of Arlington, Virginia’s Emergency Communications Center is addressing concerns that its current setup is problematic and even potentially dangerous. ‘We are like every other 911 center in the country, which has traditionally struggled with staffing,’ center administrator Dave Mulholland told WTOP. ‘We’re going to be very honest in acknowledging not every shift has optimal staffing.’ However, Mulholland maintains that crucial positions have always remained filled, and that more people are being trained to fill needed roles.” [WTOP]

Lebanese Taverna Helping to Feed Refugees — “When word came that thousands of Afghan refugees would be landing at Dulles in late August after their country fell to the Taliban, World Central Kitchen mobilized to make sure those reaching the U.S. after a harrowing journey would be greeted with a hot meal. The nonprofit’s first call was to Grace Abi-Najm Shea, one of five siblings behind Lebanese Taverna… Of the 61,298 meals WCK served there between Aug. 25 and Sept. 10, 5,037 came from Lebanese Taverna.” [Washington City Paper]

County Board May Modify Hotel Tax — “Arlington County is weighing whether to tax hotel guests for the total cost of their stay, including fees and other charges, and not just the cost of the room. The potential change to the transient occupancy tax — the revenue from which has collapsed amid the pandemic, affecting Arlington’s incentive arrangement with Amazon.com Inc. — follows changes to the tax definition in the state code adopted by the Virginia General Assembly.” [Washington Business Journal]

Much of Crystal City Is Now Carbon Neutral — “JBG SMITH, a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced it has achieved carbon neutrality across its entire 16.1 million square foot operating portfolio. Building on this accomplishment, JBG SMITH intends for its properties to maintain carbon neutral operations annually.” [BusinessWire]

Tucker Rants About Beyer — Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson called Rep. Don Beyer “a fashionably radical car dealer from Arlington” on his show earlier this week, in a segment about vaccine mandates. But Beyer’s communications director says that the local congressman, who is actually an Alexandria resident, “does not own any auto dealerships and has not for years.” [Twitter]

Harris Teeter Stores Cutting Hours — “Harris Teeter stores nationwide will be reducing their store hours until further notice, citing the shortage of labor caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Starting Wednesday, Sept. 15, all Harris Teeters will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stores in Northern Virginia have previously been open 24 hours, or until 11 p.m.” [InsideNova]

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Officials say a new statewide renewable energy commitment could help Arlington achieve its own green goals.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced today (Friday) that Virginia has struck an agreement with Dominion Energy to purchase 30% of the all energy used by the state government’s buildings from renewable sources. Local officials says the agreement to sustainability agreement also helps their own goals.

“It means that we’re kind of being aggressive but the state is pulling in this direction so it does make it easier for us,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey, who is running for re-election and who said the governor’s morning press conference at George Mason University’s Arlington campus meant the county was no longer “swimming upstream” when it came to leading in sustainability.

“When you consider the state government, when you consider Amazon’s commitment to even exceed their originally ambitious goals — this is all good stuff for us,” Dorsey said, referring to Amazon going from Gold to Platinum LEED certification goals for its new headquarters. “This means we have a better likelihood of achieving all of our the goals in the timeframe set forth.”

“Arlington recently committed to its own, ambitious energy targets and we hope to see more cities follow its lead,” the governor said during the press conference.

Northam’s announcement comes two months after Arlington committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 for all buildings — public or private. The goal was part of the county’s updated Energy Plan, a planning document which envisions a future for Arlington where “all electricity will come from renewable sources, where more residents will drive electric vehicles and more will use transit, and where homes and buildings will be more energy-efficient.”

Since passing the plan in August, Dorsey said Arlington has been contacted by “three or four” other Northern Virginia jurisdictions for advice on enacting similar carbon-cutting goals themselves.

“Sometimes all jurisdictions need to see is one shining example,” said state Sen. Barbara Favola, who is also running for re-election. “Somebody gets out there and takes the lead and something good happens and they go, ‘I can do that, too’.”

She told ARLnow that when the state government takes a stance on sustainability, it also paves the way for local jurisdictions to do the same.

“Richmond is not known all the time for being a trailblazer but in this area but seem to be trailblazing so I’m delighted,” Favola said.

Renewable energy for state government buildings and universities will be sourced from Dominion Energy’s Belcher Solar project in Louisa County and its offshore wind farm near Virginia Beach, among others.

“Under the partnership, Dominion Energy will supply the Commonwealth with 420 megawatts of renewable energy,” the utility company wrote in a statement. “When combined with previously announced solar projects, the power produced is enough to meet the equivalent of 45% of the state government’s annual energy use.”

“That’s the equivalent of powering more than 100,000 homes,” noted Northam.

Friday’s announcement comes on the heels of the governor’s earlier promise to power the state using 100% carbon free resources by 2050 — a mission aided by agreements with Dominion Energy and planned initiatives like replacing traditional diesel school buses with electric buses and investing in electric cars.

The governor said collaboration is key to tackle climate change and “move this state in the right direction.

“We can leave our children and our grandchildren a world that’s cleaner and more sustainable,” Northam said.

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Arlington officials are asking Amazon to go back to the drawing board for its proposed headquarters in Pentagon City to put a greater emphasis on sustainability.

The 2.1 million-square-foot proposed office complex at the corner of 15th Street S. and S. Eads Street, is currently pending review by Arlington’s Planning Commission and County Board. If plans are finalized on schedule by the end of 2019, demolition is due to start early next year, according to JBG Smith’s Vice President of Development Matt Ginivan, with excavation then lasting through the end of the year.

In early 2021, the developer expects to start constructing the 22-story-tall building, with the goal of being ready to house Amazon’s growing workforce by early 2023.

It’s not easy being green 

As part of the construction, Amazon Vice President of Global Real Estate John Schoettler announced during a Site Plan Review Committee (SPRC) meeting last night (Monday) that HQ2 would seek a LEED Platinum energy certification instead of its lower, original Gold goal.

“We are working to secure renewable energy for the campus which means our Arlington buildings will operate on 100% renewable energy by 2030,” said Schoettler.

SPRC members commended Amazon for the new goal but pressed the company for more details on how it would meet the carbon emissions reduction targets. Previously, the company’s designs were scored on the lower end of LEED’s Gold efficiency ranking.

SPRC members also asked how Amazon would avoid use of fossil fuels, particularly in its restaurant spaces.

Brian Earle, a principal at ZGF Architects, said Amazon was committed to forgoing natural gas in its kitchens and cafeterias, but admitted they didn’t “see a path towards having a life safety [electric] generator that meets the county’s requirements that does not use fossil fuels.”

Schoettler added that Amazon was planning to build off-site renewable energy facilities like solar or wind farms elsewhere in Virginia to power the buildings with renewable energy and off-set the impact of fossil fuels.

One SPRC member, however, cited the case of how Georgetown University’s off-site solar energy production plan was blocked after concerns that it required clear-cutting 240 acres of trees in Maryland.

“That might make us feel very virtuous, but we have to be very cautious about how we produce that off-site energy,” she said of off-site renewables.

Another part of the HQ2 plan involves the landscaping of the site itself, which is slated to include gardens, a dog park, and terraces on the multi-step grooves.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently pledged his company would achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and that Amazon was “going to work very hard with the community [in Arlington] to make sure our presence there ends up being a net positive, rather than a net negative.”

Arlington officials also recently passed a new energy policy committing the county to carbon neutrality by 2050.

Another protected bike lane, what about electric vehicle parking?

SPRC member and Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt urged Amazon to nix some of its parking spaces, saying: “I think your parking is a far greater blemish on your sustainability than whether there’s a wood-burning fireplace in the staff lounge.”

Other members of the SPRC focused on the nexus of sustainability and transit asked Amazon to expand the percentage of parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles. The recommendation follows the county’s new energy plan predicting more people will drive electric cars in the next thirty years — a trend backed by Gov. Ralph Northam’s recent investment to expand the number of charging stations available statewide.

Amazon’s current designs set aside about 2% — or about 40 spaces — of its 1,968 total parking spaces for electric vehicles.

“Why not push for 10%?” asked one SPRC member.

There was at least one big win for non-car transportation last night. Following repeated calls from activists, Amazon announced it would build a protected bike lane on 15th Street S. along the length of the Metropolitan Park development, of which its headquarters is the final phase. That follow’s Amazon’s previous pledge to build a protected lane along S. Eads Street.

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