Fairfax Green Initiatives

On February 5, 2019, the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the Fairfax Green Initiatives Board Matter, introduced by Supervisors Storck, Foust and (now Chairman) McKay to expedite consideration and implementation of 19 energy-related action items.

On July 28, 2020, the Board unanimously adopted a follow-on motion, Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, introduced by Supervisor Storck. Fairfax Green Initiatives #2 includes 14 additional environment and energy-related action items.

Staff in the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination maintain an implementation matrix, identifying, for each action item in the Board Matter, the lead department(s) charged with implementation, whether the action item is complete or ongoing, whether an action item will be addressed in the CECAP planning process and the time frame for consideration of action items. Quarterly updates to the implementation matrix are provided to the Board of Supervisors and the PDF linked above is replaced accordingly. The implementation matrix was last updated in July 2022.

Climate Planning Action Items

Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Board of Supervisors Environmental Committee about the development of a Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP), no later than June 2019.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 1a

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Action To Date: Staff presented a draft process, resources and timeline for a CECAP at the June 2019 Environmental Committee meeting. The Board approved funding in September 2019, and the CECAP planning process kicked off in January 2020.

Status: Complete

Resilient Fairfax: Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan

Summary: County staff will identify a timeframe for the creation of a Climate Adaption and Resilience Plan.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4f

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Office of Emergency Management, Department of Planning and Development, Land Development Services, and the Fairfax County Health Department)

Action To Date: Staff presented a timeframe for a Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan at the May 2020 Environmental Committee meeting. The Board approved funding in September 2020. The Resilient Fairfax planning process, as it is now known, is underway.

Status: Complete

Community Engagement and Advocacy Action Items

Community Engagement

Summary: Each Board office will identify a district environmental liaison to foster outreach initiatives, education and engagement with the community, and to coordinate with other county agencies and offices. 

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 7a

Lead Department (Partners): Board of Supervisors

Action To Date: The Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination has developed an Environmental and Communications Collaborators group, to share relevant environmental and energy information with liaisons in each of the Board offices.

Status: Ongoing

Review of Local Advocacy Group Proposals

Summary: The Environmental Committee will discuss and review a variety of local advocacy group initiatives, including the Fairfax to Zero Campaign, the Fossil Free Resolution for Fairfax County, a resolution in support of a national carbon fee and dividend program (H.R. 763), and a 12-Point Energy and Climate Action Plan for Fairfax County.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4h

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Action To Date: Leadership from the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and 350 Fairfax agreed that their initiatives could be considered under the ongoing Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) planning process. Both groups are represented on the CECAP Working Group.

Staff shared their reviews of H.R. 763 and the 12-Point Energy and Climate Action Plan with the Board in a June 2019 memorandum.

Status: Complete

Financial, Budgetary and Partnership-Related Action Items

Capital Bonding

Summary: The Budget Committee will discuss and consider capital bonding options that could accelerate energy saving initiatives, provide high economic returns on investments, and enable green building, energy saving renovations, and green purchasing practices.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 3a

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Management and Budget

Action To Date: The County will continue to utilize all debt financing mechanisms to address its capital needs and maintain adherence to its self-imposed debt ratios. The County’s Capital Improvement Program assumes an out-year bond referenda program that incorporates LEED certification for all future project cost estimates to further the County’s commitment to green initiatives.

Status: Complete

Increased County Staff

Summary: The Budget Committee will discuss and consider supporting an increase in county staff dedicated to energy, climate change, and environmental issues.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 3b

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Management and Budget

Action To Date: The FY 2020 budget included dedicated funding for the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination (established in July 2019).

Status: Complete

Grant and Cooperative Agreement Funding

Summary: The Environmental Committee will discuss and consider grant and cooperative agreement funding for energy efficiency, conservation, weatherization, cogeneration, renewable energy, energy resilience and greenhouse gas emission reductions, through public-private partnerships, foundations, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Federal government to provide greater energy reduction support for all residents, consistent with One Fairfax.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4b

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Economic Initiatives, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, and Government Relations

Action To Date:

The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) receives remittances from two energy efficiency grants, which funded equipment upgrades at Noman Cole Pollution Control Plant and result in annual energy use savings of 10,399 kWh.

Grant funding from the Virginia Clean Air Communities Program is being used to purchase electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure for county operations. These include four electric transit buses, a transit truck and four electric vehicles for Solid Waste Collection and Transport, as well as charging infrastructure for each. Staff is working to install charging infrastructure to support vehicle operations.

Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) and the Department of Economic Initiatives (DEI) were granted a one-year extension of the Relay pilot program, the autonomous electric shuttle operating in the Merrifield area, to continue to research its impacts on local ridership and transit. The project team is creating a revised route for the Relay shuttle to expand ridership and visibility.

FCDOT and DEI continue to look for funding to support the innovative research and project implementation associated with the Relay project. This type of research will further establish Fairfax County as a leader in connected autonomous vehicle technology (CAV). The team will also explore opportunities emerging from the federal Infrastructure Bill.

Status: Ongoing

Partnership Development

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Board of Supervisors on the development of partnerships, like the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 6cv

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Economic Initiatives and the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Action To Date: DEI, OEEC, university and technology partners will recruit start-ups to participate in a new Pitch and Pilot event focused on carbon neutral technology in early 2022.

DEI, FCDOT, Smart City Works, and the Center for Innovative Technology are partnered on a Bike/Ped Safety Pilot project to inform new approaches to bike/ped safety in the community. The bike/ped pilot project, being conducted by Street Simplified, is currently in the data collection stage. Analysis and recommendations are due in mid-2022.

Status: Ongoing

Energy Efficiency Funding Pool Pilot

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Environment Committee on the feasibility of creating an Energy Efficiency Funding Pool (EEFP) pilot and will consider developing a competitive grant process through Public-Private Partnerships for funding local entities to provide workforce energy efficiency and weatherization (green jobs) training opportunities while upgrading the energy efficiency on eligible low-income and seniors homes.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 7a

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Economic Initiatives (Community Services Board, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, and the Office of Strategy Management)

Action To Date: In support of the green jobs objectives included under this item, DEI is exploring a partnership with Dominion Energy to understand their workforce needs. Dominion is interested in creating pathways to energy-related jobs from middle school on and partnering with Fairfax County in job fairs and in other workforce development activities. DEI continues to work with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority to segment green economy sectors to understand areas of economic competitiveness.

Status: Ongoing

Fairfax Green Bank

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Environment Committee on the feasibility of creating a Fairfax Green Bank.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 7b

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Finance (Department of Economic Initiatives, Department of Management and Budget, Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, Office of the County Attorney, and Government Relations)

Action To Date: In fall 2020, the Office of the County Attorney (OCA) determined that the Board lacked enabling authority to establish a Fairfax Green Bank. At the direction of the Board, staff drafted a bill for the 2021 session of the Virginia General Assembly to enable a locality to enact an ordinance establishing a green bank. The bill (House Bill 1919), which was sponsored by Delegate Kory, and as amended to include consumer protection standards, has been signed into law. The Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination has engaged ICF International on a feasibility study for a green bank. OEEC, DEI, DOF, and OCA are contributing to this effort.

Green Retirement Fund Investments

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Board on the feasibility and legality of providing guidance to Fairfax County retirement fund managers to increase support for non-greenhouse gas emitting energy investments, local green business investments and decreasing those in fossil fuels.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 8a

Lead Department (Partners): Office of the County Attorney (Retirement Administration Agency)

Action To Date: The Office of the County Attorney determined that the Board may lawfully provide guidance to Fairfax County retirement fund managers on increasing support for non-greenhouse gas emitting energy investments and decrease support for fossil fuels. However, legal difficulties could arise if mandates or limitations on investment choices are imposed.

Status: Complete

Natural Resource Management Action Items

Tree Planting

Summary: The Tree Commission will recommend to the Board of Supervisors low- and no-cost options and partnership ideas that could help residents plant more trees, thereby increasing the county's tree canopy. The Commission will report on this annually.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 5a

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and the Fairfax County Park Authority

Action To Date: The Fairfax County Tree Commission approved a letter at its September 2020 meeting that served as its first annual report. The Tree Commission approved a letter at its June 2021 meeting that serves as its second annual report. The letter states that 22,247 trees were planted or distributed through combined efforts of nonprofits and government agencies through 2021. The next annual report will be incorporated into the Tree Commission's consolidated annual report anticipated to be delivered in fall 2022.

The Urban Forestry Division within the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has entered into a contract with a nonprofit whereby the nonprofit will work with residents to plant trees on private property. This pilot program is focused in areas near the Route 1 CRD. To date, over 100 trees have been planted at single and multifamily residential properties along the Route 1 corridor, with plans to plant an additional 50 trees in early spring 2022. A full report about the success of this pilot project will be sent to the Board through a memorandum in March 2022.

Status: Complete

Planning, Zoning and Green Building Action Items

Planning for Environmentally-Sustainable Development

Summary: The Development Process Committee will discuss and consider whether county staff should review and report back on the costs and benefits of comprehensive plan and zoning changes that would incentivize and support more environmentally sustainable development.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 2a

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Planning and Development

Action To Date: As part of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization (zMOD) project, a new Zoning Ordinance, adopted in March 2021, includes new uses to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure and solar projects at residential, commercial and County facilities.

Additional Comprehensive Plan and Zoning changes may be identified in the ongoing CECAP planning process.

Status: Ongoing

Building Design and Code Changes

Summary: The Development Process Committee will discuss and consider whether county staff should review and report back on building design and code changes that could lead to greener and more energy efficient buildings throughout the county.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 2b

Lead Department (Partners): Land Development Services, Government Relations

Action To Date: As directed in an April 2021 Board Matter, Land Development Services (LDS) is seeking adoption of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and energy provisions of the International Residential Code (IRC) into statewide building codes during the 2021 code development cycle. LDS has also established a new Voluntary Green Building Recognition Program to acknowledge designers and contractors who voluntarily build green in Fairfax County.

Status: Ongoing

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)

Summary: The county will complete the work required for C-PACE adoption by July 2019, with implementation by the end of 2019.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4d

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Action To Date: Fairfax County's C-PACE program launched in February 2020.

Status: Complete

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Residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (R-PACE)

Summary: The Environmental Committee will expedite consideration of R-PACE or other financing options to support energy use reductions in residential real estate.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4e

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, Government Relations

Action To Date: Implementation requires the passage of enabling legislation in the General Assembly. Staff will continue to monitor and provide updates on legislative activity to the Board. The 2021 General Assembly passed budget language that directs the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to establish a work group to assess the feasibility of creating a Virginia R-PACE program. DMME was required to submit a report with its findings to the General Assembly no later than December 1, 2021.

Status: Ongoing

Stronger Green Building Policies for County Facilities

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Board of Supervisors on how best to strengthen green building policies for county facilities.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 6a

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Facilities Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination.

Action To Date: The 2021 update to the Operational Energy Strategy (OES) includes a target that all new construction and major renovations over 10,000 square feet beginning planning and design in 2021 meet net zero energy standards, unless the Board is informed why it cannot meet such standards by the 30 percent design phase. The Sustainable Development Policy will be revised to align with the OES targets. DPWES continues to evaluate and implement new strategies to meet these targets.

Status: Complete

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Incentivize and Accelerate Green Building

Summary: The Land Use Policy Committee will consider directing the Department of Planning and Development to identify and report on ways to encourage and incentivize developers and builders in the county to adopt or accelerate residential and commercial green building practices.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 6d

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Planning and Development, Land Development Services

Action To Date: The Department of Planning and Development and Land Development Services have determined that the creation of a Fairfax County Green Building Profile would duplicate existing third-party certifications and rating systems, and as such, the agencies suggest such a profile not be developed.

Status: Complete

Renewable Energy Action Items

Locally Generated Energy

Summary: The Environmental Committee will discuss setting a goal that by 2025, locally generated energy (like solar) would offset county government energy use.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 4c

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Department of Planning and Development, Facilities Management Division, Fairfax County Park Authority, the Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination, and Government Relations

Action To Date: The 2021 update to the Operational Energy Strategy includes a target to produce 25% of county electricity from renewable energy by 2030, and 50% by 2040, using FY 2018 energy use as the baseline.

To implement renewable energy targets in the Operational Energy Strategy and Sustainable Development Policy, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) is incorporating solar PV in new Capital Building projects to offset energy usage and meet Net Zero Energy standards. Several agencies are also working with the County’s solar power purchase agreement (PPA) service providers to install rooftop and canopy-mounted solar installations at County facilities. DPWES continues to evaluate off-site renewable energy credits to offset the energy usage.

To address barriers to renewable energy generation, the County has had a longstanding position in the legislative program in support of removing barriers to net metering for municipalities, including eliminating restrictions on the use of PPAs. This will continue to be an issue in the 2022 General Assembly.

Status: Complete

Solar Public-Private Partnership Agreement

Summary: The County Executive will report to the Board of Supervisors on a solar public-private partnership agreement.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #1, 6b

Lead Department (Partners): Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Action To Date: In December 2019, the County announced contracts with multiple solar power purchase agreement (PPA) service providers. Solar PPA projects are being implemented at sites throughout the County.

Status: Complete

Community Solar and Geothermal Systems

Summary: Analyze requirements and impediments for new commercial construction and incentives for new residential construction to incorporate community solar and/or geothermal systems in project planning.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 6c

Lead Department (Partners): Department of Planning and Development, Land Development Services, (Office of the County Attorney)

Action To Date: Solar Power Facilities and Solar Collection Facilities are new uses proposed as part of the Zoning Ordinance Modernization (zMOD) to more readily incorporate solar projects into county and other community facilities, commercial construction projects and individual residential sites.

The County has processes in place to expedite reviews for solar and geothermal systems and permitting costs are waived for residential and commercial solar systems. Land Development Services (LDS) recently developed a geothermal publication, providing guidance on permitting and review processes for customers. This is similar to guidance LDS offers for residential solar customers. LDS will incorporate these materials into future outreach opportunities.

Status: Complete

Residential Energy Action Items

Residential Energy Use Disclosures

Summary: The Land Use Policy Committee will consider requiring energy use disclosures on residential home sales. The county attorney will provide legal review for any considerations.

Location in Matrix: Fairfax Green Initiatives #2, 6a

Lead Department (Partners): Office of the County Attorney (Department of Planning and Development, Government Relations)

Action To Date: The Office of the County Attorney determined that legislation passed in the 2020 General Assembly, requiring a seller of a residential property to disclose that a buyer may obtain a building energy analysis, does not require the seller to provide an energy cost and consumption history such as the one required by Montgomery County, MD. Additional legislation would need to be passed in the General Assembly to impose the requirement on sellers or authorize localities to do so.

Status: Complete

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