Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE)


Upcoming Event

You're Invited! WPI Cohort Presentation

You are invited to join Arlington County for the Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s IQP Student Cohort presentation on Strategies for Adaptive Reuse of Buildings, on December 13 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. You can join the meeting here.  

Adaptive reuse of buildings offers buildings a second life that due to age, style or composition have otherwise lost market competitiveness under their original purpose. Typically, these buildings lose tenants or occupants in a spiral toward resale or foreclosure followed by demolition and redevelopment. Fundamentally, this path produces significant greenhouse gas emissions while, under certain circumstances, the existing building can be re-visioned and retrofitted for a new and vibrant repurposing. Adaptive reuse avoids excessive carbon emissions and opens the door for ingenuity and innovation, and the rebirth of buildings in a new use that stimulates local economies, responds to social and cultural needs, and elevates the profile and desirability of cities. 

Established in 1970, the Worchester Polytechnic Institute’s Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) Program brings interdisciplinary teams together to attack problems with both technological and human dimensions, matching Student Cohorts with government, corporate and institutional sponsors who submit proposals for consideration among a limited number of Cohorts. This year, Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services (DES)-AIRE submission on adaptive reuse of buildings and embodied carbon was selected; bringing together a support network that includes Arlington Economic Development and Community Planning and Housing Development, as well as the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and international consultants and architects, to support the Cohort over a period split between campus-research and 7 weeks on-site in Arlington and the District of Columbia. This presentation will showcase the Cohort’s work and be hosted by the DES Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management.  

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About AIRE

The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE), a division of Arlington County’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management (OSEM), operates as the County’s core agency for climate mitigation, adaptation/resilience programs, and community-facing energy programs. The AIRE program has been a catalyst for climate action since 2008 with multifaceted programs designed to: 

  1. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from County government operations,
  2. Encourage, assist, and recognize businesses that join the County in reducing emissions from their activities,
  3. Inform and encourage residents to reduce their own emissions,
  4. Engage other localities and regional organizations in a broader effort, and 
  5. Execute its Community Energy Plan (CEP), with a goal of setting mid- and long-term targets for emissions reductions in the County as a whole. 

Through the AIRE program, Arlington is on the way to achieving its 2050 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for carbon neutrality. AIRE deploys an all-of-government approach and works with a wide range of external partners to achieve common climate and energy goals.

Community Energy Plan

Arlington’s Community Energy Plan (CEP) is a long-term vision for transforming how we generate, use, distribute, and store energy in the County. It is a climate strategy that highlights plans for resiliency, adaptation, and mitigation, and helps facilitate planning across all county departments. In 2019, the Arlington County Board adopted a sweeping update to the Community Energy Plan that sets Arlington on a path to becoming a carbon-neutral community by 2050. Interim milestones include: 

  • 100% of Arlington’s electricity will be from renewable sources by 2035
  • County Government operations to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2025 (accomplished in 2023)

Read the Community Energy Plan.

Community Energy Plan Roadmap

This CEP Roadmap operationalizes the CEP and outlines how Arlington County will implement the CEP to achieve the community’s climate and energy goals, all while considering energy equity. In brief, the CEP Roadmap identifies specific implementation strategies by sector, establishes timelines and responsibilities for each strategy, and lays a framework for aligning and measuring their impacts. The CEP Roadmap is constructed to allow for flexibility to adapt for emerging or evolving technologies, future policymaking, and changing financial, legislative and regulatory contexts. 

Read the CEP Roadmap.

Accelerate Report

Accelerate is an annual report that features Arlington’s completed core work pertaining to energy, climate, and the environment. Due to the variety of on-going and completed projects, programs and policies, each report will contain fresh new stories to maintain transparency, highlight Arlington’s key successes and provide education on climate and energy related activities. 

Read the latest Accelerate Report

GHG Dashboard

Arlington County’s GHG Dashboard presents the community-wide anthropogenic (originating from human activity) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all major sources as estimated in the 2016 Arlington County Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. This includes emissions from residents, businesses and County operations. The linked report provides additional details about the data sources and methodology used to develop the GHG inventory estimates. 

A GHG emissions inventory provides an estimate of GHG emissions for a given year from major anthropogenic sources and is used to identify, plan, and implement reduction opportunities and to track progress toward climate goals. A GHG inventory typically estimates total emissions for a single year, providing a snapshot of emissions in that year. The GHG Dashboard allows users to interact with the data through visualizations. 

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Community Engagement