Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open to visitors by appointment only. Please call or email from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
703-324-7136 TTY 711
12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035
John Morrill


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Community Services Metrics

Community services, incentives, education, and outreach are essential to successful climate action. In Fairfax County, 95% of emissions come from the community, while 5% come from county government operations. Therefore, there is a need to incentivize and empower the community to reduce their emissions. Community services are also essential in handling the effects of climate change, or in boosting community members’ resilience to flooding, extreme heat, severe storms, and other hazards. 

This page provides key metrics for climate-related community services, incentives, education, and outreach. This page will be updated as program data becomes available. 


Energy Efficiency and Weatherization Services

Improving insulation, sealing leaks, and upgrading the efficiency of HVAC systems is a key way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also improving the comfort of residents and reducing their utility bills. There are several programs in Fairfax County that offer energy efficiency and weatherization services or supply kits. Some of these programs are run by the county government, such as HomeWise (Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination), and the Thermal Camera Loan Program and Conserve Kits (Fairfax County Public Library). Other programs are run by external agencies such as Community Housing Partners and Dominion Energy. This graph shows that nearly 40,000 households were reached by these services between 2016 and 2022. There are additional similar services provided by entities including but not limited to LEAP, Washington Gas, and others. Data for those programs will be added as it is made available.

energy efficiency services or kits distributed 2016-2022

Solar Services and Incentives

Solar group purchasing programs make getting solar easier and less expensive by providing residents with free assessments, bulk discounts and access to qualified installers. Fairfax County promotes two programs available to county residents.

Solarize Virginia
This program is run by the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP-VA).  Since 2014, 425 households in Fairfax County have gone solar through Solarize Virginia.

Capital Area Solar Switch
This program is run by the national nonprofit Solar United Neighbors (SUN) and is available to people living in and around the metro DC area. 2023 was the first year it was promoted by Fairfax County Government, and the program had 108 registrations and 10 signed contracts for solar in Fairfax County.

solarize and solar switch sign ups and installations



As the county builds resilience to climate change effects, addressing vulnerabilities of the population and boosting community services are top priorities. The population of Fairfax County is over 1.15 million and increasing. While all people can be vulnerable to climate-related hazards such as increasing levels of flooding, extreme heat, and severe storms, certain populations may be more vulnerable due to systemic inequities, historic underinvestment in neighborhoods, and personal factors such as health conditions and disabilities. To best serve these residents now and in the future, it is important to ensure that the county’s public services, such as health and community services, emergency response, parks and recreation, and waste management services, are also resilient to a changing climate.

This section of the dashboard highlights a few key metrics relevant to the population and public services as they relate to climate resilience. For climate data and projections in general, please see the Overall Resilience Metrics page. For an interactive map of climate hazards and assets, please see the Resilient Fairfax Interactive Map Viewer. For more information on vulnerabilities, please see the Resilient Fairfax Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA). For more information on Resilient Fairfax and what Fairfax County is doing to address these issues, please see the Resilient Fairfax website

populations climate vulnerbaility matrix

As summarized in the first table, vulnerable populations in Fairfax County (defined by One Fairfax) have “very high” vulnerability to extreme heat and inland flooding, and “high” vulnerability to severe storms. The general population is also vulnerable to these impacts, but to a lesser degree. These vulnerability scores were based on a combination of exposure (how exposed is the population the hazard, and is that hazard increasing or decreasing?), sensitivity (when the population is exposed, does something bad happen?), and adaptive capacity (can the population adapt to changing conditions?). 

community services climate vulnerbaility matrix

As summarized in the second table, certain public services also have opportunities to boost their resilience to ensure they can continue operating at full capacity when they are needed most. In particular, emergency response services have a very high vulnerability to severe storms, high vulnerability to extreme heat, and moderately high vulnerability to inland flooding. Health and community services have high vulnerability to severe storms and moderately high vulnerability to extreme heat and inland flooding. A few key metrics relating to these vulnerabilities and services can be found below. Detailed descriptions can be found in the Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment.

Community Services Metrics for Extreme Heat

Urban Heat Islands

On extreme heat days, people are at risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, and cardiovascular, respiratory, and cerebrovascular disease. While extreme heat affects everyone, people living or working in Urban Heat Islands have even higher exposure to dangerous temperatures, because temperatures are significantly higher in those parts of Fairfax County. Additionally, certain populations may have higher sensitivity to extreme heat, due to health conditions, disability, age, inability to afford air conditioning, outdoor employment, or other factors. To ensure those who need the most help during extreme heat receive help, the county prioritizes areas of the county where community members are both more exposed and more sensitive to extreme heat. First, land surface temperatures were summarized by Census Tract, to make population data analyses easier. 

summer mean surface temperature map turning into the heat exposure index map graphic


Next, the temperature data (Heat Exposure Index) was overlaid with demographic data (Heat Sensitivity Index) to find areas that are more vulnerable to heat overall. (For an interactive map of these data, please see the Resilient Fairfax Interactive Map Viewer.)

temperature data map multiplied by demographic data mpa returns a heat vulnerbaility index graphicpercentages of households in fairfax county living in urban heat islands

As can be seen in this chart above, the burden of living in Urban Heat Islands is not shared evenly. As a result of systemic injustices, underinvestment, and lack of green space in lower-income neighborhoods, and households that are already disadvantaged due to socioeconomic, demographic, and health related factors are also more likely to live in Urban Heat Islands.

As shown in the chart below, almost all of Fairfax County community service provider buildings are also located in Urban Heat Islands. Specifically, 98% of community centers, 100% of hospitals and urgent care facilities, 100% of libraries, 97.8% of HHS facilities, 100% of police stations, 100% of fire stations, and 100% of emergency management facilities are in Urban Heat Islands, where green space is scarce and summer daytime temperatures are significantly hotter than other areas of the county. There are opportunities to improve the design of these buildings and sites to be more heat-resilient through things like cool roofs, cool pavements, and shade tree plantings. When service provider buildings are more heat-resilient, they can remain cooler and safer during power outages, and they have significantly lower air conditioning costs.

percent of community service buildings in urban heat islands

Heat-Related Hospitalizations

It is also important to track heat-related hospitalizations, or the number of people who are hospitalized due to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or other heat-related illnesses. As shown in the chart below, heat-related hospitalizations align closely with the number of hot days per year, as would be expected (Hospitalization data courtesy of the Fairfax County Health Department.) To see temperature trends overall, please see the “Resilience Metrics Overall” page of the dashboard.

all fairfax county heat related hospitalizations 2015 to 2022

The burden of heat-related hospitalizations is not spread evenly across the county’s population. Black residents, Hispanic or Latino residents, and Native Hawaiian residents disproportionately experience heat-related hospitalizations. Black residents make up only 10.9% of the population, but 16.11% of heat-related hospitalizations. Hispanic or Latino residents make up 16.8% of the population, but 17.06% of heat-related hospitalizations. Native Hawaiian residents make up 0.10% of the population but 0.47% of heat-related hospitalizations. The other demographic groups in Fairfax County have a disproportionately smaller share of the heat-related hospitalizations. Outdoor workers, those in substandard housing, and those without access to air conditioning are at especially high risk for heat-related illnesses. It should be noted that “Hispanic or Latino” is defined by the US Census as an ethnicity rather than a race, which means it is counted separately.

heat-related hospitalizations by demographic

Cooling Centers

The county works to prevent heat-related illnesses in several ways, including Cooling Centers and other heat-related emergency resources. As of 2023, there are 47 newly enhanced Cooling Centers, where residents can find not only air-conditioned spaces, but water, sunscreen, other supplies, and information on relevant public services. Additionally, transportation assistance is provided to for access to the Cooling Centers. In 2023, the first year of the enhanced Cooling Centers, 251 visits to Cooling Centers were recorded during heat emergencies, and 27,000 supplies were distributed. 100% of Human Services Offices (5 facilities out of 5), 88% of Libraries (22 out of 25 facilities), and 33% of the county’s Community Centers (20 out of 60 facilities) are currently designated cooling centers. 

proportion of county facilities that are cooling centers, by type

Cooling Centers may be most needed in Urban Heat Islands, or the hottest parts of the county. This map shows the locations of the county’s Cooling Centers (dots) in relation to the Urban Heat Islands (red areas).
map of cooling centers in urban heat islands
As of 2023, 26% of Urban Heat Islands (hot areas) have Cooling Centers within the same Census Tract. However, 78% of Urban Heat Islands have a Cooling Center either in the same Census Tract (“within”) or in an adjacent one (“nearby”). 
cooling centers and urban heat islands in fairfax county chart

Cooling Assistance

Another community service that is key for resilience to extreme heat is called “Cooling Assistance.” This program helps those who cannot afford their air conditioning bills or equipment repairs, greatly reducing residents’ risk of heat-related illnesses during hot summer months. The program is administered by the Fairfax County Department of Family Services (DFS) as part of Virginia’s Energy Assistance Program. This chart shows how many Cooling Assistance service requests were approved each year in Fairfax County between 2018 and 2023. The chart also shows how many applications were received. Each applicant can request multiple services, so the number of service requests is always higher than the number of applicants.  On average, the county approves over 1,300 Cooling Assistance service requests per year, helping over 1,200 households.

cooling assistance service requests in Fairfax County from 2018 to 2023

While this level of service is impressive, it is also important to assess how much of the total potential need is being met. The chart below shows that approximately 4% of households (1,523 out of 37,395) that meet the income eligibility criteria for Cooling Assistance applied in 2023. It should be noted, however, that not all lower-income households are necessarily unable to afford air conditioning.

percent of households potentially eligible for cooling assistance that are applying for cooling assistance in 2023

For heat data and temperature projections in general, please see the “Overall Resilience Metrics" page. For an interactive map of climate hazards and assets, please see the Resilient Fairfax Interactive Map Viewer. For more information on vulnerabilities, please see the Resilient Fairfax Climate Vulnerability and Risk Assessment (VRA). For more information on Resilient Fairfax and what Fairfax County is doing to address these issues, please see the Resilient Fairfax website

Community Services Metrics for Flooding

As summarized in the chart below, the Fairfax County population and the public facilities that serve them have varying exposure to flooding. The Resilient Fairfax data shown below were based on a property-by-property analysis to find areas that may be flood-prone. The properties were scored for 10 flood-prone factors, including proximity to county floodplains, proximity to FEMA floodplains, proximity to streams, parcel location in sump, structure location in sump, subdivision age, absence of stormwater infrastructure, location outside a Facility Drainage Area, infill lots, and history of flooding-related service requests.  For example, a score of four would mean that the property has four of the ten factors that could make it prone to flooding.  Properties that have four or more flood-prone factors are shown in the chart. To clarify how many of those facilities are vulnerable due to floodplain exposure specifically, a bar for floodplains is shown in dark blue for each item. Approximately 14% of general households, 11% of vulnerable households, 10% of community centers, 4% of hospitals, 4% of libraries, 1% of HHS facilities, 5% of police stations, and 9% of fire stations may be exposed to flooding based on this analysis.

It should be noted that the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) is conducting additional analyses on flood-prone properties, based on four scenarios rather than ten factors. However, these data are not yet broken down by community facility type, so the ten-factor analysis is still shown below. For more information on stormwater, please visit Stormwater Management.

Percent of Households and Community Service Providers in Potentially Flood-Prone Areas (Based on Resilient Fairfax VRA Data) Fairfax County, VA

DPWES Service Requests

stormwater service requests in fairfax county

Residents experiencing certain flooding issues can contact the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) to request service. This map and chart use data from DPWES to illustrate the location and number of service requests by Supervisor District. Between 2018 and 2022, residents in the Dranesville District submitted the most stormwater service requests (1,722), followed by the Mount Vernon (1,411), Springfield (1,206), Providence (1,198), Mason (1071), Braddock (1068), Sully (978), Lee (883), and Hunter Mill Districts (873). 100% of service requests are investigated by DPWES. It is important to note that a higher number of service requests does not always mean a higher presence of flooding issues. It could also mean higher awareness in that District that the service exists. Residents experiencing flooding issues who do not know how to request DPWES services would not be shown in these data. (To submit a service request, visit the Report a Problem page).

DPWES service requests by supervisor district from 2018 to 2022
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