Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Fairfax County, Virginia

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Our office is open 8:30AM-5PM M-F

703-324-7136 | TTY 711

12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035

Kambiz Agazi, Director

WHAT WE DO

The Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (OEEC) leads the county's cross-organizational development and implementation of effective environmental and energy policies, goals, programs and projects. OEEC engages county departments, authorities, businesses and residents to advance environmental and energy priorities and address community needs.

Learn More

From this page you can find information on the development of the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan, locate resources and information to help improve the sustainability of your home or your business, and explore the latest news from Fairfax County on topics like clean energy and environmental conservation.

Latest News and Information

Electricity transmission tower and lines

September 24, 2020 | 03:12PM
For the most part, when you flip a light switch or turn on a computer, it is impossible to know whether the electricity flowing from an outlet comes from fossil fuel-based sources, or clean energy sources. Purchasing Renewable Energy Credits/Certificates (RECs) is one way to account for the use of clean electricity. While purchasing a REC does not guarantee that the electricity flowing into a specific building or facility is generated from a renewable source, it does allow the purchaser to legitimately state that a certain percentage of their electricity comes from clean sources. RECs are decoupled from the electricity itself, but they are representative of the clean nature of the electricity. RECs are a representative commodity, signifying the generation of one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity from a renewable energy source, that has been put into the grid for distribution to end users. In other words, RECs are proof that a unit of electricity has been generated from a renewable source and provided to consumers for their use. Each REC must include specific information about the energy generated, including the nature of the source (solar, wind, hydro, etc.), the location of its provenance, the utility it is connected to, and more. In the United States, RECs are legally recognized documentation of renewable energy generation and use. For businesses and individuals, RECs present a way to support the clean energy sector without needing to install or maintain on site renewable energy technology. RECs come in handy for businesses with limited roof space or open land to place solar, wind, or geothermal technology, or for those that rent office space rather than owning. Individuals can also take advantage of RECs by electing to match their home energy use with REC purchases through their utility. This begs the question, is a REC the same as an offset? RECs vs. Offsets Put simply, RECs and carbon offsets are not the same thing. A REC represents one MWh of energy created from a renewable source, while carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of greenhouse gases mitigated. If a business engages in operations or activities that produce a certain number of metric tons of greenhouse gases each year, the business could invest in voluntary emissions reductions, or carbon offsets, to mitigate their impact. Offset purchases may finance renewable energy projects, among other mitigation strategies, but they are separate of and different from RECs. Individuals can purchase carbon offsets to counterbalance their personal greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their individual carbon footprint. Certain greenhouse gas-intensive industries, like air travel, have begun offering carbon offsets to consumers at the point of sale. If you are interested in purchasing RECs, look into offerings from your electric utility. If you are interested in carbon offsets, look for opportunities to purchase them in connection with activities like air travel.

Graphic that reads Monthly CECAP Update

September 17, 2020 | 03:28PM
The past four weeks have been very eventful for the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP). Following the CECAP Task Force meeting on July 29, county staff and ICF prepared for the first round of formal public engagement. In late August, the county released a public survey designed to provide the Task Force with actionable information about the likelihood that county residents and workers would make certain behavioral changes or support specific policies to help reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions. The community survey was largely multiple choice, enabling the county to offer the survey in four different languages: English, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese. One open ended question offered respondents an opportunity to share free form thoughts, and a public email inbox was established to provide a venue for individuals to share more in-depth commentary. Some survey respondents observed that the survey did not provide the opportunity to share information about actions already taken – such as already purchasing or driving an electric vehicle, or already having made home improvements to increase energy efficiency. These comments were well-received by the survey design team and will be taken into account for future surveys. This particular survey was future-focused and primarily concerned with assessing the likelihood that county residents and workers will make specific changes in the coming one or two years. The survey team was less concerned with identifying individuals who have already made these improvements at this time. The county also hosted a series of three successful virtual public meetings in late August and early September. These meetings, which were held using WebEx, included brief presentations from experts working with the CECAP Task Force to develop the mitigation plan. The presentations covered the CECAP process, potential goals and strategies to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, and information on future public engagement opportunities. Attendees were given the opportunity to provide feedback and to ask questions of the panelists at several points during the meeting. Video recordings and the presentation slide deck from each of the three meetings are available online. What’s Next Throughout the remainder of September, staff will analyze the results of the public survey, the comments made at the public meetings, and the thoughts shared via the public inbox. A comment matrix or summary of the comments provided by the public will be prepared and presented at the next Task Force meeting on September 30. These materials will help inform future discussions and decision making. Over the next several weeks, the Focus Groups will meet in advance of the September 30 Task Force meeting. All Focus Group and Task Force meetings are open to the public for observation. More information on meeting dates, times and access can be found online. In response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the public engagement process, and the desire for ongoing interaction with Fairfax County residents as the CECAP is developed and implemented, the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (OEEC) is adding another round of formal public engagement in February 2021. Come February, county residents, workers, and stakeholders will have another opportunity to participate in public meetings and to take a follow up survey. This will precede the previously announced public engagement planned for late spring/early summer 2021, when the OEEC anticipates sharing a draft plan with county residents for feedback before it is presented to the Board of Supervisors for final approval. More information on CECAP public engagement opportunities will be made available online. If you have questions, thoughts, or suggestions pertaining to CECAP, please email cecapoutreach@fairfaxcounty.gov.

The words Climate Planning spelled out with images of nature in each letter

August 25, 2020 | 05:09PM
More than 95 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Fairfax County come from cars and trucks on our roads, energy use in our homes and businesses, waste management processes, and other community sources. Controlling our greenhouse gas emissions is not only good for the environment around us, it’s also important for our health and our economic well-being. Air pollution from greenhouse gases can make it harder to breathe, increasing and worsening the occurrence of asthma and other respiratory illnesses in our community. Additionally, severe weather costs real money, and we all foot the bill. In 2019, a single, severe storm cost Fairfax County taxpayers $14 million. That’s money that could have been used to provide county services and programs, to support our schools, or to improve our local infrastructure. It’s up to all of us to take steps, even small ones, to reduce our emissions so that our families, friends, neighbors, and future residents of Fairfax County are spared the consequences of climate change and can thrive in a clean, healthy, safe, and prosperous community. To that end, Fairfax County is developing its first-ever Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) and your input is needed! Starting this week, we have three ways you can get involved in the county’s community-driven climate planning process. This is your county, it’s your community, and this is your opportunity participate. Attend a Public Meeting The Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination is pleased to offer three public meetings between August 27 and September 2, 2020. Attend one of the three meetings to hear from climate experts on the county’s planning process and goals, and to offer your feedback. Meeting information can be found on this page. Take the Public Survey Starting on August 27, a brief public survey will be available to all Fairfax County residents and workers. This survey will provide our climate planning Task Force with important information about your thoughts, preferences, and opinions on climate action, so they can create a plan that works for everyone in Fairfax County. The survey will be available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese and will remain open until September 13, 2020. Take the Climate Planning Survey in English Realice la encuesta pública. 공개설문조사에응답해주시기바랍니다 Hãy tham gia khảo sát công khai. Stay Informed   The Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan development process will continue into 2021. If you would like to stay informed on the latest updates, or to help implement the actions and strategies that will bring our greenhouse gas emissions down, please email cecapoutreach@fairfaxcounty.gov.
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