Arlington County Meets Federal Energy Challenge

Published on October 24, 2023

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has recognized Arlington for achieving (and exceeding) its energy savings goal in the Better Buildings Challenge.

The Challenge aims to cut energy use across participants’ facilities by 20% as part of the DOE Better Buildings Initiative. Partners are encouraged to make their buildings more efficient, saving energy while creating “green tech” jobs in the United States.

Operating a portfolio of some 75 buildings consisting of roughly 2 million square feet, and starting from a 2009 baseline, Arlington County reduced its energy use intensity by a cumulative 23%.

Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey accepted the recognition on Mon., Oct. 23, 2023, at a DOE White House event.

"Arlington County is proud to have completed the Better Buildings Challenge, showcasing our steadfast commitment to building a sustainable community," said Chair Dorsey. "By focusing on continuous improvement and innovative solutions, we have made strides in reducing energy usage and are closer to reaching countywide carbon neutrality by 2050."

Arlington County maintains its buildings with the energy management practice of “continuous improvement.” Implemented efficiency solutions have come through processes such as data-based automation and utility bill tracking and analysis.

Of note in recent years, Arlington implemented a whole-building advanced metering solution at the Justice Center in Courthouse, complementing the County’s existing building automation system. Data and predictive energy optimization produced noticeable savings.

The County also replaced its mid-1950s Lubber Run Community Center, located near Buckingham, with a new state-of-the-art, highly energy-efficient, LEED Gold-targeted, net-zero-ready facility that also features vast green roof spaces.

For the Better Buildings Challenge, the County annually benchmarked and reported energy consumption using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, the industry standard for commercial buildings.

Early this year, Arlington achieved its goal of 100% renewable electricity use at all County facilities, two years ahead of schedule.

With the County’s Community Energy Plan putting Arlington on the path of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, County staff are encouraging commercial property owners to take on the Better Buildings Challenge for their own buildings.

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