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

C-PACE in Fairfax County graphic

May 21, 2020 | 10:31AM
The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency program launched by Fairfax County in February provides commercial property owners, both for-profit and non-profit, the opportunity to make substantial improvements to their buildings with little or no money down. On top of that, C-PACE projects can be net-positive in their first year as owners turn what would usually be considered capital investments into operational expenses. Does it sound too good to be true? Read on as we illustrate why C-PACE makes perfect sense using three different scenarios with the same initial parameters provided by the Virginia PACE Authority, the C-PACE administrator for Fairfax County. Take a $2 million energy efficiency improvement project that is expected to yield $320,000 in savings annually, starting in year one. In the first scenario, the project is paid for with cash. In the second scenario, a traditional bank loan is used to finance the project. In the final scenario, the project is financed using C-PACE.   Cash Bank Loan C-PACE Down Payment ($2,000,000) 15% ($300,000) $0 Loan Amount $0 $1,700,000 $2,000,000 Loan Term NA 5 Years 20 Years Interest Rate NA 4.00% 6.25% Annual Payment NA ($382,295) ($180,978) Annual Energy Cost Savings $320,000 $320,000 $320,000 Net Annual Cash Flow $320,000 ($62,295) $139,022 5-Year Net Cash Flow ($400,000) ($611,475) $695,110 5-Year NPV at 6% ($258,430) ($530,574) $585,611 5-Year Internal Rate of Return -7% NA Infinite In the first, cash-only, scenario there is no annual payment or interest to contend with and you start to see energy cost savings right away, but your net cash flow is still in the negative after five years. In the second scenario with the traditional bank loan, you need to have $300,000 on hand for a down payment just to get started. Thereafter, you’ll pay about $380,000 each year on the loan, which outpaces your annual energy cost savings, leaving you in the negative at the five-year mark. Finally, in the C-PACE scenario, there is no down payment and the full cost of the project is financed over 20 years. C-PACE financing is unique in that it allows for the loan to be repaid over the lifetime of the improvement. Though this may lead to a higher interest rate than a traditional construction loan would carry, the lack of a down payment and the lengthy term of the loan make it worthwhile. In the first year, the annual payment in this scenario is just under $181,000, meaning you see net-positive cash flow right out of the gate. At five years, you will still be net positive, a sharp contrast to the other two scenarios. Looking for more information on C-PACE in Fairfax County? Visit our landing page here, or go straight to the Virginia PACE Authority site. You can also view a series of videos from a webinar held in April describing the Fairfax County C-PACE program and how PACE financing works in general. The MidAtlantic PACE Alliance will host two webinars in the coming weeks, the first will be about using C-PACE for solar projects and the second will cover financing C-PACE with regional and local lending partners.

2020 Environmental Excellence Awards Graphic

May 15, 2020 | 12:12PM
With just over two weeks remaining in the nomination period for the 2020 Environmental Excellence Awards, it’s a great time to revisit some of the past winners. Here’s another look at the 2019 honorees and their fantastic work in service of the environment in Fairfax County. Let it serve as inspiration as you consider who to nominate this year! In 2019, Fairfax County honored two individual county residents, two organizations, and two county employees. Each of the awardees made a unique and impactful contribution to environmental causes in the preceding year, and all of them have a strong history of engagement and leadership. County Residents Cathy Ledec is an indefatigable public advocate, leader and volunteer who inspires others and works to incorporate environmental considerations and impacts into decision-making. As president of the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park, Cathy led two conservation campaigns that resulted in the long-term conservation of natural and historic resources, including rare and globally significant resources. The first campaign challenged a local utility’s plans to rebuild a transmission line on Huntley Meadows Park property. As a result of her leadership and persistence, the utility company agreed to change the project design to avoid permanent damage to a historic viewshed, reduce the transmission line collision risk for birds and ensure the protection of natural and cultural resources at Huntley Meadows. The second campaign worked to remove two conceptual paved bike trails from Fairfax County plans for Huntley Meadows Park, thereby protecting sensitive park resources. As a result of her work, the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the removal of these conceptual trails from County plans. In addition to providing public comments to minimize the impacts of development projects, Cathy performs public outreach as a certified Fairfax Master Naturalist, Audubon-at-Home ambassador and member of the Plant NOVA Natives coalition.She also restores habitats as a site leader for the Fairfax County Park Authority Invasive Management Area program and as the president of her homeowners’ association; participates in citizen science for the Washington, D.C. and Fort Belvoir Christmas Bird Counts; and serves on multiple advisory boards. Helen Stevens is the clinical director of Inova HealthPlex – Lorton Emergency Department.  Under Helen’s guidance, the Lorton HealthPlex has become a leader in sustainability.  Helen goes above and beyond her clinical responsibilities to educate and engage all staff on environmental efficacy, with a focus on recycling and the elimination of Styrofoam and single-use plastics in the department. In 2017, Helen noted that the department’s waste hauler was mixing recycling with trash.  Through Helen’s actions, another vendor was selected, which now reliably removes recycling and trash separately. Helen also educated her team about proper recycling of plastic grocery bags, which are now collected and transported to the grocery store for proper recycling. Helen personally donates 5 cents per recycled bottle/container, with the collected money used for an end-of-year staff party staff. In 2018, more than 10,000 pieces were recycled. Under Helen’s leadership, the efficient use of equipment and resources has become an integral part of the day-to-day operations of the Lorton HealthPlex, where staff participate and take ownership of their impact on the environment. Helen cares not only for her patients, but the community she serves. Organizations The Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions(FACS) works with more than 70 congregations in Northern Virginia with a shared vision that care for creation is a moral responsibility of people of all faith traditions.  FACS unites people to develop local solutions to the climate crisis and organizes and empowers a large corps of volunteers to become champions of climate change action in their communities. FACS builds coalitions and partnerships to tackle climate-change challenges, reduce county-wide greenhouse gas emissions, increase equity and catalyze civic engagement.  FACS accomplishes this through its advocacy teams, candidate forums, energy justice and faith and the environment workshops; programs such as community gardening and zero waste; webinars on reducing your carbon footprint and how to go green in your home and place of worship; and tours. The Reston Annual State of the Environment (RASER) Working Group, established in 2017 by the Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, is comprised of nine volunteer professionals and citizen scientists, including Doug Britt, Don Coram, Robin Duska, Linda Fuller, Carl Mitchell, Sara Piper, Claudia Thompson-Deahl, Katie Shaw, and Stephanie Vargas. Together, this group completes an annual assessment of an array of environmental resources and attributes in Reston. The report incorporates information from more than 325 data sources and scientific reports; and describes how each attribute relates to Fairfax County’s Environmental Vision. Nearly 2,000 hours of volunteer time went into the production of the RASER and the implementation of many of its 72 recommendations. To address the paucity of information about wildlife in Reston, the RASER Working Group recommended that Reston implement a BioBlitz to collect information on biological diversity. More than 90 naturalists and volunteers (including the RASER Working Group) identified 608 separate species of plants, animals and other organisms within Reston. The RASER Working Group recommended that Reston apply for membership into the prestigious international Biophilic Cities Network. Reston subsequently became the first Virginia community and the first unincorporated community to be accepted into this worldwide network. County Employees Jim Hart has served as an at-large member of the Planning Commission since 2004 and its Environment Committee chair since 2007. During that time, Jim has been a constant and effective force behind the furtherance of the county’s environmental goals and an invaluable asset to the county. As chairman of the Environment Committee, Jim has sought consensus among members, often with vastly different perspectives. His leadership and facilitation have ensured the development of consensus positions that are defensible, meaningful, and durable. Jim has been a champion of stakeholder input and has welcomed stakeholder perspectives, particularly during the committee review process. With his leadership in developing consensus positions, the patience to explore all perspectives and avenues of inquiry, and the intellect to identify critical environmental policy questions and challenges, Jim is an effective environmental champion dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the county environment. Noel Kaplan worked tirelessly on a wide array of environmental initiatives over a career of more than 31 years and helped define nearly all land use-related environmental policies within Fairfax County that were adopted during his tenure. Noel demonstrated a firm commitment to the environmental health of the county and brought an environmental awareness to others. Noel became a recognized expert in his dealings with local, regional and state agencies and represented the Department of Planning and Development on numerous interagency environmental coordination committees. As liaison to the Environmental Quality Advisory Council (EQAC), he coordinated EQAC’s Annual Report on the Environment with related outreach to 57 separate county, state, federal, and regional agencies. Over his career, Noel led staff in the development of county policies addressing a host of land use-related environmental issues, including air quality; green building; stream protection; and airport noise compatibility planning. His work in development review helped to identify, preserve and protect hundreds of acres of Environmental Quality Corridors. He was the principal author of the original version of the county’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance and assisted with the development of the Environment section of the 1990 Policy Plan. He made numerous presentations to elected and appointed officials, advisory groups and citizens and provided support to other county agencies on their environmental initiatives. Through these actions, Noel demonstrated a legacy of leadership and service leaving long-lasting positive impacts on the county. 2020 Nomination Information To submit a nomination for the 2020 Environmental Excellence Awards, please click here. All nominations must be submitted by June 1, 2020.

Temperature gauge

May 13, 2020 | 04:47PM
Two degrees. It sounds minimal, no matter the context. But scientists, the media, politicians, and academics all talk about this figure with a sense of anxiety, at least when it comes to climate change. It is entirely reasonable to wonder, what’s the big deal? Back in 2015, world leaders gathered in Paris for the 23rd Conference of the Parties and hammered out a landmark agreement to collectively keep the global average temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That is to say, above the global average temperature in 1860 or so. This wasn’t the first time two degrees Celsius had been referenced as an acceptable threshold for climate warming. In fact, it was first suggested by an economist from Yale in 1975 as a reasonable approximation of the amount of warming that might naturally take place on Earth over time. In the intervening decades, scientists posited that a one-degree temperature increase globally would be the safest target but that two degrees was a fair upper limit to bear in mind. In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report on the potential impacts of global warming in excess of 1.5 degrees Celsius and compared the magnitude of changes between 1.5 degrees of warming and two degrees of warming. This report illustrated significant differences between the two scenarios. For example, in a world that has warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius, 14 percent of the global population would experience an extreme heat wave at least once every five years. In a world that has warmed by two degrees, 37 percent of the global population would be subjected to the same scenario – more than twice as many people. On opposite sides of a very important coin, both water scarcity and sea level rise would be compounded by this incremental change in the global average temperature. With 1.5 degrees of warming, more than 350 million people would be affected by water scarcity. With two degrees, more than 411 million people would experience the consequences of severe drought, that’s a 17 percent increase. With 1.5 degrees of warming, up to 69 million people would be at risk of flooding from sea level rise. With two degrees of warming, that figure increases to as many as 80 million people, that’s nearly a 16 percent increase. These are not small numbers and the costs of this seemingly miniscule difference in global temperature don’t end there. From lower crop yields to serious reductions in plant, animal, and insect species, to the complete extinction of coral reefs, the list goes on and on. These impacts will never be uniform -- a 1.5 or two degree rise in the global average temperature does not equate to a 1.5 or two degree increase in temperatures here in Fairfax County, necessarily. And people living in landlocked states or countries will not experience the consequences of sea level rise as coastal residents may. The trick is, in order to make a real difference in the upward trend of the global average temperature, everyone needs to play a part. In late 2019, the UN Environment Programme issued their tenth Emissions Gap Report and said, “By 2030, [global greenhouse gas] emissions would need to be cut 25 percent and 55 percent lower than 2018 to put the world on the least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to below 2° C and 1.5° C respectively.” In other words, the longer we wait to make changes, the more expensive it will become to do so, both financially and in terms of human life and suffering. Two degrees sounds small but the implications are huge. To learn more about the Fairfax County Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan, visit this site. To review 50 ways you can take personal climate action, check out this article.

2020 Environmental Excellence Awards Nominations

Each year, the Fairfax County Environmental Excellence Awards recognize county residents, organizations, businesses, and county employees who go above and beyond to help protect, preserve and enhance our natural environment. Nominations for the 2020 awards will be accepted through June 1, 2020.

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