Climate Leadership XMNR 2013 Projects


Climate Leadership: Mitigation and Adaption

Climate-­Energy-­Urban Nexus

A Case Study of Arlington County’s Innovation and Leadership
Emphasizing Green Building and Smart Growth Policies and Technologies

XMNR April/ May 2013

Arlington County, VA has been a national leader in innovative local government planning for sustainability.  Its application of transit-oriented development around Metro corridors has been celebrated and studied for more than 50 years. Innovations continue, as is evidence by it receiving the US Environmental Protection Agency’s highest award for smart growth in 2002 and the results of innovation are evidenced by a rich variety of vibrant businesses, stable neighborhoods, and quality schools.  It is again innovating with its Community Energy Plan, one of the most progressive and comprehensive county-led climate mitigation efforts in the country.

The Community Energy Plan (CEP) builds direction, alignment, and commitment around a collection of disparate goals and programs, empowering Arlington to take charge of its energy future and meet its climate mitigation goals.  The CEP defines the energy goals and policies that will help Arlington remain economically competitive, environmentally committed, and energy secure.  Arlington County has set a carbon emissions target of 3.0 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per capita per year by 2050, which would match the emissions of benchmark cities such as Copenhagen.  The Plan establishes the framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the County from 2007 carbon emissions level of 13.4 tons CO2/ capita/ year, a 70% reduction.

In April and May 2013, the Arlington County Community Energy Coordinator requested the services of the X14 XMNR cohort to review and critically evaluate the CEP in light of sustainability trends.   The primary purpose of the evaluation was to provide advise on setting priorities within the CEP as well as any suggested redirections and/ or expansions into specific goals and program strategies.  The secondary purpose was to create a proposed stylized representation of the CEP for broader distribution.  The third and final purpose was to help Arlington County extend CEP’s innovative model to climate adaption (beyond mitigation).  The links provided below are the results of this assignment.