Arlington County Board Adopts Energy as Part of County's Comprehensive Plan

  • Underscores importance of energy to community planning
  • Sets goal of more than 70% reduction in C02 emissions by 2050
  • Improving economic competitiveness, energy security, environmental commitment
  • Broad community participation in years-long planning effort
  • Ambitious long-term goals for building, transportation efficiency, County Government activities

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today adopted the Community Energy Plan (CEP) as a new element of the County's Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan guides development in Arlington. The Board also directed establishment of a CEP Implementation Review Committee.

In adopting the CEP, the Board underscored how energy is a critical resource to be considered in all major Arlington planning efforts, while ensuring Arlington remains an innovative, competitive, resilient, and sustainable place to live, work, and do business. The CEP addresses all major aspects of energy generation, use and distribution in Arlington between now and the year 2050 and sets ambitious, yet achievable, goals in the areas of building and transportation energy efficiency, and County Government activities.

“Energy planning is the next wave of smart growth,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “Like the commitments Arlington made for Metro, urban villages, and green buildings, long-term energy planning benefits everyone, and we thank the many members of the community who devoted more than three years of effort to crafting a plan that charts a course for sustainability, energy efficiency and energy savings for Arlington.”

The Board voted unanimously to adopt the plan. To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #27 on the Agenda for the June 15, 2013 Regular County Board Meeting.

Broad community participation in developing plan

The County Board appointed a Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force in January 2010, composed of 29 community leaders, businesses, energy experts, and County staff. The Board charged the task force with creating a plan that will enable Arlington to maintain and enhance its economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental commitment. The task force presented its recommendations to the County Board in May 2011. The recommendations formed the basis for the draft Community Energy Plan, presented by the County Manager to the County Board in November, 2012.

Key target: reducing greenhouse gas emissions

The plan's key target is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as a proxy for energy efficiency, to 3.0 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per resident per year, which aligns with Copenhagen, Denmark, the global benchmark for low greenhouse gas emissions. Arlington is among a very few jurisdictions in the U.S. tackling energy issues this holistically.

CEP Goals

The CEP focuses on six long-term energy planning goal areas:

  1. Increase building energy and operational efficiency
  2. Use District Energy to increase local energy supply and distribution efficiency
  3. Employ renewable energy technologies, primarily solar photovoltaics ( solar electricity) to increase locally generated energy
  4. Refine and expand transportation infrastructure and operations consistent with the Master Transportation Plan
  5. Continue to integrate CEP goals into all County Government activities
  6. Advocate and support personal action

The overall goal is to create the most desirable and competitive commercial, residential, and retail market in the region and country. Implementation of the CEP would provide a competitive development environment, lower operating costs, enhance energy reliability, and decrease power disruptions.

Public process

Arlington has spent more than three years developing the CEP. Discussion included a diverse set of community voices, including affordable housing groups, the development and business community, environmental organizations, federal facilities located in Arlington, and educational institutions. Meetings, special events, and print and online media were employed in an effort to gain the broadest reach possible. Since the draft of the CEP was released to the public in November 2012, feedback was received from:

What does the CEP mean for you?

Adoption of the Community Energy Plan will bring many benefits to both residents and businesses in Arlington:

  • Increased energy efficiency will save money — lowering utility and other energy costs reduces the cost of living and doing business in Arlington.
  • Increased energy resiliency – our energy sources will be more reliable and our energy pricing will be more competitive. By generating energy locally with renewables and district energy, we will place less demand on the local grid, help minimize supply disruptions, and increase fuel choices, resulting in more stable energy prices.
  • Improved local and regional environmental quality – reducing the County's carbon footprint will make Arlington a healthier, more pleasant place to live and work.

Visit our website for details on the plan and some Frequently Asked Questions.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.