Conservation Assistance Program

Sustainable Landscapes. Energy Conservation. Community Incentives.

Civic Associations and Places of Worship

The Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) provides incentives for Fairfax County community associations and places of worship to create more watershed-friendly landscapes and energy efficient buildings. See below for more information and to apply. Make a difference in your community!

Conservation Assistance for Homeowners

The Conservation Assistance Program is now also open to individual homeowners and other landowners. Go to: Conservation Assistance Program for Homeowners

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. Lighting projects can also include occupancy sensors, timers, or photo sensors to ensure that lights turn off when not needed.

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

  • We advise contacting NVSWCD prior to submitting a final application.
  • February 15, 2017 for spring 2017 installation
  • June 15, 2017 for summer 2017 installation
  • September 15, 2017 for fall 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

  • NVSWCD accepts watershed project site visit requests on a rolling basis. We are currently scheduling site visits for one to two months from the request date.
  • For a fall site visit, please submit your request by November 7, 2016.

Final Application Deadlines

  • Final applications include contractor bids or pricing schedule. It is recommended that the community have a site visit or contact NVSWCD prior to submitting a final application.
  • February 15, 2017 for spring 2017 installation
  • June 15, 2017 for summer or fall installation
  • September 15, 2017 for fall installation

Download the Watershed Projects Site Visit Request/Application Form

Eligibility Requirements

  • Homeowner, civic or condo association or housing cooperative (Common Interest Community) or place of worship is located within Fairfax County, Virginia. Places of worship must be 501(c)3 organizations.
  • Practices will be installed on community association or place of worship property. For individual homeowner property, see: Conservation Assistance Program for Homeowners.
  • Community association/place of worship has approved participation, 50% matching funds and will sign a participant and maintenance agreement with final plan submission.
  • Community association/place of worship is willing to keep and maintain practices for 10 years after installation. NVSWCD will verify ongoing maintenance and provide technical assistance. No funding is available for maintenance.
  • Native species will be used for all plantings. For possibilities, see: Plant NoVA Natives and online searchable Native Plants for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

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.

Key Project Steps

  1. Site visit application.
  2. Final application with contractor bid or budget - project selection/approval.
  3. Submit signed participant agreement.
  4. Project installation.
  5. Submit reimbursement forms.

About the Conservation Assistance Program

The Power of Volunteers: If possible, your community may want to rely on volunteering to help reduce expenses and engage members. Planting, mulching, coordinating pickup or dropoff of materials and other installation components can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Currently, volunteer time cannot be used as match in the HOA/place of worship 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, the 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: You can apply for more than one practice in a single application or in subsequent rounds. For energy projects, 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.

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 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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