Metro D.C. Ready to Go Green...with Federal Money
Elected local officials from across Metropolitan Washington recently showcased the region's successes on energy and climate solutions and called on President-elect Obama and the incoming Congress to invest stimulus dollars in local climate action as a quick and effective way to create new green jobs, revitalize the economy, and promote energy independence.
According to a Dec. 10 press release, local governments in the Metropolitan Washington region can launch innovative clean energy and smart transportation projects that are ready-to-go and could quickly create green jobs in their communities. Examples of local green projects that could be implemented in the next 12 months if federal funds are made available include:
• Alexandria, Va., has a goal of achieving LEED Gold certification at its new police facility, with a target of reducing energy consumption by 22 percent, and plans to meet LEED Silver standards at a fire station. With federal support, Alexandria could reduce carbon emissions at both facilities by more than 500 metric tons annually, while creating construction and permanent jobs.
• Arlington County, Va., would install medium- and large-scale rooftop solar photovoltaics on multiple county facilities. This project would reduce energy usage by between 250,000 - 500,000 kWh/year and could result in an annual energy savings of $18,000-$45,000/year. The greenhouse gas reductions resulting from this project would be substantial, as every kilowatt hour of electricity from a clean source such as solar saves 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
• Fairfax County, Va., would support efforts to expedite extension of Metrorail service to the Dulles airport, which would create many construction jobs and reduce vehicle miles traveled in the region.
• Montgomery County, Md., would launch a Home Retrofit Revolving Fund to provide lending for residential energy retrofits. A $35-million annual investment in the program would result in $47 million in energy savings benefits to consumers, while increasing home values and producing green jobs. In addition, a 30 percent participation rate has the potential to reduce nearly 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Currently there are no federal programs to support local climate and energy initiatives. The Local Government Climate Action Blueprint calls for stimulus legislation to include $10 billion for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and $18 billion for public transit and green vehicles infrastructure. The Blueprint outlines many other opportunities for the federal government to invest in local government innovation.
Officials from Metro Washington and more than 370 other local governments nationwide have joined with Climate Communities and ICLEI USA to endorse Empowering Local Government Climate Action: Blueprint for the New President and 111th Congress. To read the blueprint, visit www.climatecommunities.us/endorseblueprint.html or www.icleiusa.org/blueprint.
ICLEI USA provides expertise, technical support, and innovative tools to help local governments advance their emissions reductions and sustainability goals. More than 500 cities, towns and counties in the U.S. are members of ICLEI. For more information, see www.icleiusa.org.