Arlington County Ups the Ante on Energy Efficiency

Checking Out Savings at Arlington County’s Energy Lending Library

Better Buildings local government partner Arlington County, Virginia has come up with a new way to bring the benefits of energy efficiency to the masses: an Energy Lending Library!

As a public education service of the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy (AIRE), all seven branches of the Arlington Public Library System now feature an Energy Lending Library. These lending libraries contain more than just books; this suite of tools is designed to help community members take a hands-on approach to evaluating energy consumption.

In addition to a selection of books related to energy efficiency, the Energy Lending Library includes:

  • Thermal cameras (which snap onto smart phones),
  • Electricity usage monitors, and
  • LED bulb sampler kits (the newest addition).

Patrons can borrow these items from the library and use them at home to identify heat loss, measure energy use by appliances, and test various LED bulbs. It’s a practical opportunity to identify ways to save money on energy.

This program is the first of its kind, and neighboring localities have already been inspired to explore similar programs. Find more information on this Solution-at-a-Glance in the Better Buildings Solution Center.

Arlington County Equipment Bureau Goes the Distance for Energy Efficiency

The Arlington County Equipment Bureau, which manages the entire 1,200-vehicle fleet for Arlington County, Virginia, recently underwent upgrades resulting in 34 percent savings on energy consumption.

The Equipment Bureau’s facility operates 18 hours per day, and includes 28 vehicle bays in addition to mechanic shops and office space. With an HVAC system on its last legs, the County decided to go further and upgrade not just that system, but the lighting and controls, too.

Replacing the old HVAC system with a new, more energy-efficient Variable Refrigeration Volume (VRV) system was a little more expensive, but it was worth the cost based on the return on investment and to meet the ambitious energy reduction goals in the County’s Operations Energy Plan. This project is just one of many Arlington is pursuing in its commitment to the Better Buildings Challenge.

LED retrofits and a new lighting controls system rounded out the project, which reduced annual operating costs by $22,000. Employees enjoy having more temperature control (and not having to use space heaters) between the office and the maintenance shop, and the lowered noise levels were a plus for the surrounding neighborhood.

To learn more about this Showcase Project, check it out in the Better Buildings Solution Center!