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; it 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 Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040.
Eco-City Businesses in the Green Business Recognition Program
Congratulations to the businesses who have earned recognition as Eco-City Businesses! These businesses make an effort to save energy and water, reduce waste, and provide eco-friendly options for their customers and employees.
Gold: Mason and Greens (913 King St)
Silver: Magpie Reclamations (202 E Custis Ave)
Interested in learning more about the Green Business Recognition Program? Could your business earn recognition? Check it out: Green Business Recognition Program | City of Alexandria, VA (alexandriava.gov)
Thermal Cameras Help Improve Energy Efficiency
Feeling a draft in your home? Utility bills higher than they should be? A thermal camera may be exactly what you need to help! Thermal cameras can help you identify hot and cold spots in your home, showing you where those drafts are.
The city, in partnership with the Alexandria libraries, provide residents with the opportunity to check out a thermal camera kit. Alexandria Library customers can reserve a camera just like a book through the library catalog, and it will be shipped to your local library branch for pick up.
Take a look at this video from the city team to learn more about how to use the thermal camera. You can perform a Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit, provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, to identify some easy fixes. And there are federal tax incentives available for all types of improvements, from simple air sealing and insulation to larger improvements, like a new heater or new windows or doors. Find out more here at energy.gov/save.
Eco-City Alexandria means everyone working together to make improvements and reduce our impact on the environment. A thermal camera can help you do your part, and lead to a more energy efficient, comfortable home, for you to enjoy – no matter what the weather is outside!
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.
- Read the Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040
The EAP 2040 incorporates ten topic sections with an average of two goals and four to six actions in each goal. The City will provide annual updates to track the EAP's progress and its implementation.
Sustainability News and Updates
Office of Climate Action established
In September 2022, City Council authorized $1.85 million to establish an Office of Climate Action to respond to the ongoing climate crisis.
LEED gold Certification awarded
The City has achieved LEED Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Cities v4.1 rating system which evaluates cities’ performance against key climate change action metrics in areas of energy, water, waste, transportation, education, health, safety, prosperity and equitability.
NEW COMMERCIAL PROPERTY ASSESSED CLEAN ENERGY (C-PACE) PROGRAM
The City has launched a new Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program that will enable owners of commercial, multifamily (5+ units) and industrial properties to obtain low-cost, long-term financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, resiliency, and stormwater management improvements. Visit the City’s C-PACE page for more information.
2020 ALEXANDRIA ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENTS
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.
ALEXANDRIA ECO-CITY ACADEMY
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 for the next session here.
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.
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA’S RELEASES ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE READINESS STRATEGY
The City of Alexandria’s Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Readiness Strategy (EVRS) identifies strategic recommendations for the City to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the Alexandria community. The EVRS’s development is an action identified in the City’s Environmental Action Plan 2040 to achieve the City’s greenhouse gas emission targets and goals. Moreover, the EVRS supports advancing many of the smart mobility goals under consideration in the City’s Alexandria Mobility Plan. Learn more about the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Readiness Strategy.
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA ADOPTS ALTERNATIVE FUEL POLICY
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 since 2003, 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 are in 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. More than 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. 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.
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.
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, and 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 and Honors
The City of Alexandria has received numerous awards for its commitment to sustainability. Visit the Sustainability Awards and 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 page to learn more.
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