Conservation Assistance Program

Energy Conservation Projects

Reduce energy use. Save money. Cut carbon emissions.

  • Who Can Apply?

    Community Associations and Places of Worship in Fairfax County are eligible for energy funding. Common Interest Communities can include civic, condo or homeowner associations or housing cooperatives; projects must be installed on shared property. Places of worship must be 501(c)3 organizations. Note that this is more limited than the watershed program. See below for more energy resources for homeowners and businesses.
  • How Much Reimbursement?

    50% of costs up to $5000.
  • Maintenance Requirement?

    Energy projects need to be maintained and kept in place for 10 years.
  • Where Does the Funding Come From?

    The Fairfax County Environmental Improvement Program is funding this effort, and it is administered by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

Energy Project Types:

Energy Audit. Have a certified energy auditor perform an assessment and report on civic/homeowner association building(s). 50% match up to $750.

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 For Energy Funding

  • Contact NVSWCD to get started

  • Form project team

  • Organizational approval

  • Contractor bid and budget

  • Submit Application

    Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis.
    Submit by September 1, 2017 for fall 2017 installation
    January 10 for winter installation
    March 1 for spring installation
    June 1 for summer installation
  • Download the Energy Projects Application Form

Watershed Conservation Projects

Capture runoff. Protect streams and rivers. Enhance landscapes.

  • Who Can Apply? Anyone!

    Homeowners, Community Associations, Places of Worship, and Other Property Owners in Fairfax County, City of Fairfax, and City of Alexandria
  • How Much Reimbursement?

    75% of project costs up to max. Percentage and maximum reimbursement vary by project and applicant type.
  • Maintenance Requirement?

    Watershed projects need to be maintained and kept in place for 10 years.
  • Where Does the Funding Come From?

    The statewide Virginia Conservation Assistance Program and the Fairfax County Environmental Improvement Program are funding this effort. It is administered locally by the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District.

Watershed Project Types:

Conservation Landscaping.  Incorporate native trees and shrubs, meadow or wetland plants into your landscape. Typical cost: $5-15 per square foot. Minimum size: 150 square feet.

Rain Gardens. Bowl-shaped garden area that collects and absorbs runoff. Typical cost: $10-25 per square foot. Minimum size: 100 square feet.

Dry Well/Infiltration Trench. 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.

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.

And Many More! Learn more about Watershed Project Options.

How to Apply for Watershed Projects

  1. Form Project Team, Request a Conservation Assistance Site Visit

    First, form a project team and gain any organizational approval needed to request a site vist and begin the process. We will visit your property and provide recommendations. We schedule site visits on a rolling basis, typically 6-8 weeks from the request date.

    Submit your request by September 30 for a fall site visit. Submit your request between October and December for a winter site visit, between January and March for a spring site visit, and between April and June for a summer site visit. Thank you for your patience.

  2. Prepare and Submit Final Application

    The final application includes the size and location of the project(s), design details, and project budget. Plant lists and quantities, as well as contractor bids and/or plant pricing schedule should be included. Please also estimate the number of volunteer hours you plan to dedicate to your project.

    Submit by September 6 Deadline extended to October 4, 2017 for fall 2017 installation!
    Submit by March 1 for spring installation
    Submit by June 1 for summer installation

  3. Please note that planting is not permitted between June 10 - September 15 due to temperatures, and strongly discouraged in the 2-3 weeks before and after that timeframe. Fall is the best time to plant!

"You’re going to have to beat us away from applying again in the future. This is an awesome program and it’s exciting that it’s now open to places of worship and individual homeowners."
Read more from communities who have participated in the Conservation Assistance Program.

Program Requirements

  • Property owner must be willing to keep and maintain practices for 10 years after installation. NVSWCD will verify ongoing maintenance and provide technical assistance. No additional funding is available for maintenance.
  • The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District will issue a 1099-form to the Internal Revenue Service for any reimbursements over $600.00.

  • Native species will be used for all plantings. For possibilities, see: Plant NoVA Natives and online searchable Native Plants for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed or the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora
  • Volunteer help is encouraged but not required. Volunteer time can be used as match at the federal rate.

How to Request a Site Visit

To request a site visit, contact the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at Please include the following information:

  • The site address
  • Which project types you are most interested in
  • A basic description of any drainage and erosion issues on the property
  • Names and contact information (email preferred) for all property owners/decision makers/project team members
  • For community associations or places of worship, please ensure that the board is aware and supportive of the site visit and potentially installing a project on the property.

Please also look up and provide the following information to the best of your ability:

  • Supervisor District (Dranesville, Hunter Mill, Sully, Mount Vernon, Braddock, Mason, Lee, Providence, Springfield) or Jurisdiction (City of Fairfax/Alexandria)
  • Watershed information: Watershed Name, Resource Protection Area on site (Y/N)? Go to Fairfax County Watershed Map, Alexandria City Watershed Map or Fairfax City Watershed Map)
  • Is the property adjacent to parkland (Y/N)?
  • Soils information (Go to USDA Web Soil Survey to find your soil type. Then, learn more about your soil using the Fairfax County Soil Guide, particularly the charts on pp. 9-11.)
    • Dominant soil type (number and name)?
    • Soil drainage (good, fair, marginal, poor)?
    • Suitability for infiltration trenches (good, fair, marginal, poor)?

Submit An Application

Send your association's site visit request or completed application electronically to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District at Attachments must be limited to 6MB or less. Alternatively, you may also mail the completed application form to 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 905, Fairfax, VA 22035.

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. Rain barrels are great when combined with conservation landscaping!

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.

Green Business Program

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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