Conservation Assistance Program

Energy Auditor inspects attic insulation and HVAC. Photo Credit Energy Action Fairfax

Sustainable Landscapes. Energy Conservation. Community Incentives.

The Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) provides incentives for Fairfax County community associations to create more sustainable landscapes and energy efficient buildings. Get your civic, homeowners or condo association involved with this new program!

Energy Conservation

Energy Audit. Have a certified energy auditor perform an assessment and report on civic/homeowner association building(s). 50% match up to $750.

Energy Efficiency Projects. Upgrade your community’s energy efficiency practices. Total match up to $5000.

Eligible Projects:

Air Sealing and Insulation: Maintain an airtight building envelope. (Don’t heat the outdoors in the winter.)

HVAC and Duct Sealing: Fix leaking ducts. (Don’t let conditioned air escape from ducts to an attic.)

Lighting: Keeping a community well-lit doesn’t have to be an energy drain.

Appliances: Replace appliance dinosaurs.

Others as recommended in an energy audit. For more information about the building science approach, see:

How to Apply: Energy Projects

For energy conservation projects, there is a one step application process, where all supporting documentation is submitted together. Prior to submitting the application, NVSWCD recommends that community members begin by contacting us to express interest and ask any questions. Then, the community will form a project team, gain official organizational approval and reach out to contractors.

2016-2017 Energy Project Application Deadlines

  • June 15, 2016 for Summer/Fall Installation
  • September 5, 2016 for Fall Installation
  • February 15, 2017 for Spring 2017 Installation

Download the Energy Projects Application Form

Watershed Conservation

BayScaping.  Incorporate native trees and shrubs, meadow or wetland plants into your landscape. Typical cost: $5-15 per square foot. Minimum size: 150 square feet. 50% match up to $1500.

Rain Gardens. Bowl-shaped garden area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $10-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 150 square feet. 50% match up to $3000.

Vegetated Swales. A wide, shallow ditch with amended soil and dense vegetation or grass designed to slow and absorb rainwater runoff and/or filter pollutants. Typical cost: $5-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 150 square feet. 50% match up to $1500.

Infiltration Trench/Dry Well. A gravel-filled area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $5-15 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet surface area or 300 cubic feet volume. 50% match up to $3000.

Porous Pavement/Pavers. Replace impervious hard surfaces to allow water to pass through and absorbs into the ground below. Must be installed by certified professional. Typical cost: $10-35 per square foot. Minimum size: 300 square feet. 50% match up to $4000.

How to Apply: Watershed Projects

For watershed projects, there is a two step application process. Step One: The community will submit a site visit request. NVSWCD staff will visit your community and provide written recommendations. Step Two: Based on the site visit recommendations, the community will submit a final application with a budget and contractor bid or pricing schedule. If selected, communities will sign a participant agreement, move forward with project installation, and submit a reimbursement request upon project completion.

2016-2017 Site Visit Request Deadlines

  • Accepting site visit requests on a rolling basis through July 11, 2016 for fall installation. We currently have a backlog of approximately 1 month for scheduling your site visit.
  • November 7, 2016 for spring 2017 installation
  • March 2017

2016-2017 Final Application Deadlines

  • Currently accepting final applications on a rolling basis through September 5, 2016 for fall installation
  • February 15, 2017 for spring 2017 installation
  • June 2017

Download the Watershed Projects Site Visit Request/Application Form

Key Dates for Spring Installation

  • January 31: Funding application deadline.
  • Notifications by late February.
  • Participant agreement due March 15.
  • March 1 – May 15: Project installation
  • June 1: Reimbursement forms due

Eligibility Requirements

  • Homeowner, civic or condo association or housing cooperative (Common Interest Community) is located within Fairfax County, Virginia.
  • Practices will be installed on community association property. Individual homeowner property is not eligible at this time.
  • Community association has approved participation, 50% matching funds and will sign a participant and maintenance agreement with final plan submission.
  • Community association is willing to keep and maintain practices for 10 years after installation. NVSWCD will verify ongoing maintenance and provide technical assistance, though not funding.
  • Native species will be used for all plantings. For possibilities, see: Plant NoVA Natives and Plant List for Bioretention Facilities
  • No new paving/pavers will be added as part of the project.

Submit An Application

Send your association's completed application electronically to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at You may also mail the completed application form to 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035.

About the Conservation Assistance Program

Funding levels: Match funding will be awarded for up to 50% of total project costs. For example, if the total project cost for a rain garden is $6000, your association can be reimbursed for $3000. If the project cost is higher, the maximum reimbursement still remains at $3000. The project cost can be greater, but CAP will only reimburse up to the maximum level for each practice.

Maintenance and inspection requirements: Annual maintenance will be required of the installed runoff practices. Periodic verification/inspections will ensure they were installed properly and are maintained to ensure proper functioning.

Multiple practices: Your association can apply for more than one practice in a single application or in subsequent rounds. For energy actions, we encourage associations to apply for an energy audit in one round, and follow up with an application to implement audit recommendations in a following round.

Match Funding: Unlike the Fairfax County NEPP program, volunteer hours cannot be used as match, although volunteer hours can be used to bring down total project costs.

For questions, please contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

Other Conservation Programs

There are several other programs that help Fairfax County residents and neighborhood associations conserve energy and water resources at home. Here are just a few:

Rain Barrel Workshops. Rain barrels can be placed under the downspout to collect water for reuse. They can be acquired through the Rain Barrel Workshops and Sales sponsored by the Conservation District and other regional partners.

Home Turf - A Virginia Healthy Lawns Program. This Virginia Cooperative Extension program provides homeowners and community associations with a personalized nutrient management plan and recommendations for a healthy lawn. Learn more about the Home Turf program.

Energy Action Fairfax - Energy Efficiency Presentation. These experienced energy auditors can answer questions about typical energy efficiency challenges and how to solve them for homes in your community. Free, no application required. Request a presentation.

Energy Action Fairfax - Neighbor-to-Neighbor Energy Audit: Bringing neighbors together for an energy audit gathering with a certified professional. Homes built at the same time often face similar energy challenges and pitfalls. Neighbors can get customized advice and the most practical solutions for your homes. Free, no application required. Request a neighbor-to-neighbor energy audit.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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