- Achieved nearly 12% emissions reduction
- Goal exceeded even as County buildings, services grew
- 15% reduction in building energy-use intensity between 2000-2012
- County energy, water costs $850,000 lower in 2012 than if energy performance had remained at 2007 levels
ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington County has met and exceeded the 2007 AIRE (Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy) goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from County government operations 10 percent by 2012 from a 2000 base. The County has achieved a reduction of 11.7 percent in its emissions, even as its services and facilities increased, County Manager Barbara Donnellan reported today to the County Board.
“This is an important milestone in Arlington's efforts to build a more sustainable future for all our residents and businesses,” Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada said. “The County has made great strides in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and of our fleet and services, and we will continue to look for ways to reduce emissions and reduce spending on energy.”
Emissions cut by improving energy efficiency, using cleaner fuels
Improved energy efficiency and the use of cleaner fuels helped the County achieve the goal set by the County Board on Jan. 1, 2007, according to a report prepared by the County's Department of Environmental Services.
The reductions came even as County government's total building space in use increased 17 percent between 2000 and 2012, to almost 2.4 million square feet. Since 2000, the County has added two new state-of-the art fire stations, two new libraries, a community center, and several other buildings.
The County bus fleet grew from four vehicles to 55, and annual ridership increased from 163,523 to more than 2.5 million between 2000 and 2012. The The Water Pollution Control Plant underwent a massive $568 million upgrade, expanding the County's capacity to treat wastewater by 33 percent.
How did we do it?
To meet the 2012 goal, the County implemented a variety of energy measures, such as:
- Improving energy efficiency in government buildings by retrofitting lighting and upgrading heating and cooling systems.
- Upgrading traffic signals and 2,500+ streetlights to LED technology.
- Using biodiesel fuel and more efficient vehicles in the County fleet.
- Improving the energy efficiency of our water supply and treatment systems.
- Installing 250 solar panels providing 60 kilowatts of power to the Central Library.
- Increasing purchases of “green power”
15 percent reduction in building energy use per square foot
Between 2000 and 2012, the County achieved a 15 percent reduction in building energy use per square foot (“energy intensity”). In 2012 alone, energy and water expenditures in County buildings were about $850,000 lower than they would have been if energy performance had remained at 2007 levels.
Achievement of the AIRE goal was also helped by an improvement in the GHG emissions rate from our purchased electricity, and, Arlington County government purchased 13 percent of its electricity in 2012 as ‘green power' by buying certified renewable energy certificates.Arlington has bought green power for a portion of its electricity since 2005, when the County bought three percent.
The County is evaluating options to improve energy performance and further reduce emissions from government operations through continued improvements in efficiency in buildings and infrastructure, use of solar technology where cost-effective, and use of cleaner alternative fuels. This evaluation is informed by the proposed Community Energy Plan, which proposes long-term improvements in energy performance, energy security, and economic competitiveness for all of Arlington. The County Board voted on Saturday, May 18 to hold a public hearing on this plan, and consider its adoption, in June. Visit the County website to read the staff report on the proposed energy plan. Scroll down to Item No. 35 on the May 18, 2013 Regular County Board Meeting Agenda.
AIRE offers a variety of programs to help Arlingtonians become leaders in smart energy use to help maintain and improve the community's quality of life. AIRE helps residents reduce energy costs and waste and maintain the health of the environment with programs such as:
- Green Games—a fun, friendly competition to help residents and businesses learn how to reduce costs while reducing emissions.
- Engaging community events – including the Energy Journey and our Energy Scavenger Hunt.
- Educational videos, blog posts and games give examples of smart energy choices that help maintain and improve the quality of life in Arlington.
Arlington County launched the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE) in 2007, as the Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions. To learn more about AIRE programs and what residents can do to rethink energy in Arlington, visit www.freshaireva.us and follow AIRE on Twitter and Facebook.