What is Eco-City Alexandria?
Eco-City Alexandria is a collaborative strategic effort to achieve sustainability throughout the City of Alexandria. Eco-Cities work to harmonize their natural resources and environmental assets with existing policies, regional realities, and economic and business markets while engaging the community in a collaborative and transparent decision making process.
Alexandria City Council adopted the Eco-City Charter in June 2008 and was the first Environmental Charter adopted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Charter defined Alexandria’s commitment to ecological, economic, and social sustainability. The core values and ten guiding principles formed the basis for the City’s first Environmental Action Plan (EAP) in 2009 and the updated EAP 2040.
Click on the icons below to find out more about the Environmental Action Plan topic areas within the different City departments.
Sustainability News & Updates
The Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, Office of Environmental Quality, compiled the list of 2020 environmental achievements which includes initiatives aimed at progressing the City further toward environmental sustainability.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory Trend
The 2018 GHG Inventory shows an overall emissions reduction of 18% from the base year 2005, even with a 17% increase in population. Per capita trending has gone down 30% from 13.3 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2005 to 9.4 in 2018. Over this time emission from the transportation sector contribution to emissions has increased 5% and the built environment has decreased 8% as the electric grid transitioned from coal to gas with a small but growing amount of renewables.
The City of Alexandria facilities and operations account for only about 4%. Thus participation from all parts of the business and residential community is needed to reach the Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040 goals of 50% emissions reduction by 2030 and 80-100% reduction by 2050. Reach out to the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Ellen Eggerton, at Eco-CityAlexandria@alexandriava.gov if you have additional questions.
ALEXANDRIA ECO-CITY ACADEMY
Held virtually on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. for 6 weeks (April 7, 14, 21, 28 and May 5 and 12) in Spring 2021. This course is an opportunity to graduate an Eco-City Ambassador and commit to volunteering for 10 hours within a year after graduating from the Academy. You will lean what actions the community can take to make our City more sustainable with daily and long-term sustainable action to help reach the Environmental Action Plan 2040 adopted goals. Apply online here.
On January 26, 2021, Alexandria City Council formally approved the City’s first Alternative Fuel Policy. This policy, which will govern the purchase of City owned and maintained vehicles, includes the goals of replacing 25% of the City’s fleet with electric vehicles by fiscal year 2024 and reducing overall vehicle emissions from the City’s fleet by 25% over the next 10 years. The City owns and maintains a fleet of approximately 900 vehicles and pieces of equipment. The recently adopted policy guides the City in purchasing the most cost effective, lowest emission generating, and fuel- efficient vehicles and equipment possible, while still meeting the operational requirements of the intended use. The policy also focuses on best practices for fleet utilization, driver behavior, route optimization, and maintenance.
While hybrid technology has been standard for many of the passenger type vehicles purchased by the City over the past 10 years, we have recently introduced 6 fully electric Nissan Leafs, 4 plug-in hybrid Chrylser Pacifica vans, and an electric bucket truck for our traffic signal repair team. In addition our partners in DASH and ACPS have begun the process of electrification of their respective fleets.
LED Streetlamp Replacement Update
The City's T&ES/Traffic Operations continues to work with Dominion Energy on retrofitting city streetlamps with LED lights. The project surpassed its goal of completing 2,500 retrofits by the end of summer 2020. As of October 2020, approximately 3,000 streetlamps have been retrofitted—that’s nearly 30% of Alexandria’s streetlights. The changes made to date have resulted in an energy savings of more than 900,000 kWh (kilowatt-hours) annually.
LED lights have environmental, safety, and cost benefits. They:
- Last five times longer than incandescent lights
- Reduce energy consumption by 90%
- Burn brighter
- Save the City money
- Align with the City's Eco-City Alexandria and Vision Zero goals
The project is currently focused on completing retrofits on the city’s arterial streets. Beauregard Street, Van Dorn Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Telegraph Road, and Washington Street have all been completed; on Duke Street, 70% of planned retrofits have been installed. Over the next 12 months, Dominion is slated to finish the arterial work on Route 1, King Street (excluding Old Town), and other major streets and move to retrofitting lights on collector and residential streets.
Some work on collector roadways in the West End and Central Alexandria has already begun—S. Walker Street, Sanger Avenue, N. Jordan Street, Stevenson Avenue, Yoakum Parkway, Taney Avenue and N. Howard Street are on track to be completed over the next 2-3 months.
City of Alexandria Seeks Public Input on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Readiness Strategy
The City of Alexandria launches a process to develop an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Readiness Strategy that will provide a roadmap for the electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs of City residents, workforce members and visitors. Watch a video introduction to the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Readiness Strategy project, which includes information about electric vehicle trends and statistics in the U.S. and Alexandria; preliminary charging station location analysis information; and goals for the project. The Alexandria community and interested stakeholders can provide feedback online by May 22, 2020.
Alexandria earns SolSmart Silver designation
The City of Alexandria has earned SolSmart Silver designation from the national designation program recognizing cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature local solar markets known as SolSmart. To learn more about the SolSmart program and what else the City is doing to further solar development, see the City's renewable energy page.
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA JOINS THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S BETTER BUILDINGS CHALLENGE
On October 22, 2019, the Alexandria City Council approved the City of Alexandria to join the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. The U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge is a national leadership initiative which aims to improve energy efficiency in buildings. By joining as a Partner, the City has made a public pledge to improve the energy intensity of its publicly-owned building portfolio by 25 percent over a fiscal year 2018 baseline by fiscal year 2027. Read the press release and visit the City of Alexandria’s Better Buildings Challenge Partner page.
ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL DECLARES A CLIMATE EMERGENCY
On October 22, 2019, the Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted a resolution declaring a climate emergency, recognizing that climate change poses a grave threat to everyone in Alexandria and around the world. For more information about the Climate Emergency Resolution read the City's news release.
ALEXANDRIA CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION PLAN 2040 AND GREEN BUILDING POLICY
On July 9, the Alexandria City Council adopted the Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040, an update to Eco-City Alexandria’s comprehensive road map for creating a thriving, sustainable community. This action followed City Council’s unanimous adoption of a Green Building Policy on June 22. Read the official news release and the Environmental Policy Commission Letter of Support.
Environmental Action Plan 2040
The Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted the updated Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040 in July 2019. The EAP is a comprehensive road map and affirms Alexandria’s commitment to lead by example for a thriving, sustainable community. The Environmental Action Plan 2040 updated the 2009 EAP 2030 and includes emerging technology, evolving infrastructure needs, and new approaches to reducing the City and community’s impact on the environment. Please visit our Environmental Action Plan 2040 page to learn more!
The City of Alexandria has adopted a variety of plans and policies that provide the framework for creating a more sustainable future. Visit the Environmental Plans page to review the City’s current plans and find more information about the efforts the City of Alexandria has implemented over the years.
Sustainability Events, Outreach & Education
The City of Alexandria is working to motivate the community to take actions that make our City more sustainable. Visit the Sustainability Events, Outreach & Education page to learn more about events, educational opportunities to increase awareness of environmental challenges and recommendations for adoptable daily sustainable practices for residents, businesses, and City staff.
Sustainability Awards & Honors
The City of Alexandria has received numerous awards for its commitment to sustainability. Visit the Sustainability Awards & Honors page to read more.
Environmental Policy Commission
The Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission (EPC) was established under Chapter 4, Article M, of the City Code to "advise and make recommendations to the City Council and, where appropriate, to the Planning Commission and City Manager." Visit the Environmental Policy Commission to learn more.
Contact the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Ellen Eggerton, at Eco-CityAlexandria@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.4065 with any questions and comments.
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