Alexandria City Council Adopts Environmental Action Plan 2040 and Green Building Policy

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Alexandria City Council Adopts Environmental Action Plan 2040 and Green Building Policy

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2019

On July 9, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Environmental Action Plan (EAP) 2040, an update to Eco-City Alexandria’s comprehensive roadmap for creating a thriving, sustainable community. This action followed City Council’s unanimous adoption of a Green Building Policy on June 22.

“Alexandria must do its part to combat the climate crisis, and with the passage of the Environmental Action Plan 2040 and Green Building Policy we send a message that we intend to lead by example,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “This is a key priority for our community, and adoption affirms Alexandria’s commitment to sustainability. These comprehensive strategies both build on existing work and set new, ambitious goals for our future.”

“Alexandria recognizes that we have an obligation to mitigate our contribution toward climate change,” said Environmental Policy Commission Chair Praveen Kathpal. “It is the environmental challenge of our generation, and the Environmental Action Plan is our promise to meet that challenge. We will fulfill that promise by transitioning to renewable energy, investing in green buildings and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Key goals and actions in the plan update and policy include:

  • Reducing community greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 and 80 to 100% by 2050.

  • Ensuring that all new construction in the community has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver green building certification or higher going forward and is carbon neutral by 2030.

  • Ensuring that all new City and public school building projects starting in 2020 achieve net-zero energy use.

  • Offsetting municipal electricity use with 100% renewable energy credits by 2020 and directly purchasing renewable electricity for 100% of City operations by 2035.

  • Replacing 25% of the municipal fleet with electric vehicles by 2027, and 100% by 2040.

  • Retrofitting 95% of conventional street lights by 2021 and 75% of City facility conventional lighting by 2023 with energy-efficient LED lighting.

  • Increasing Alexandria’s tree canopy to 40% by 2035.

  • Expanding rail, bus, bike and pedestrian infrastructure to encourage a shift to low-carbon transportation modes.

  • Continuing and strengthening community environmental education efforts.

The City began a collaboration with the community and the Alexandria Environmental Policy Commission to update the EAP in two phases, starting in 2017. Residents provided input at an Eco-City Café and an Eco-City Summit, as well as through other community meetings and online engagement opportunities.

The Environmental Action Plan 2040 is an update of the EAP 2030 adopted by City Council in 2009, and includes emerging technology, evolving infrastructure needs, and new approaches to reducing the City and community’s impact on the environment. This adopted plan will serve as an informed and responsive guide for environmental decision-making. 

To achieve the targets in the new plan update and policy, Alexandria recognizes that its leadership must be met with action at the state level, especially related to decarbonizing the statewide electricity supply mix. The City has set a legislative priority to participate in state-level policy and regulatory activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to community energy use.

In October 2018, City Council unanimously adopted the EAP Phase One Update, which identified short-term goals (through Fiscal Year 2023) and action items for five EAP focus areas: Energy, Climate Change, Green Building, Land Use and Open Space, and Solid Waste.

The Phase Two Update, which was adopted July 9, establishes short-term goals and action items for the remaining five focus areas: Transportation; Air Quality; Water Resources; Environment and Health; and Outreach, Education and Implementation. Phase Two also includes mid- and long-term actions for all 10 focus areas.

Moving forward, the EAP 2040 will be updated every five years to adapt to the needs of the community, fiscal constraints, changing technologies, and global, regional and state issues.

For more information about the Environmental Action Plan and Green Building Policy, or to view the final documents, visit alexandriava.gov/Eco-City.

For media inquiries, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at craig.fifer@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3965.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/110544.

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