Friday, Jun 22, 2012

Arlington County Board Revised Green Building Measures

The Arlington County Board has approved changes to its Green Building Incentive program to encourage greater energy efficiency in buildings in the county. Arlington’s focus on energy efficiency could result in a lower level of LEED certification. Bonus density has also been revised.

Arlington County has prided itself on its effort to create a more sustainable built environment. The County first adopted a Green Building Incentive Program in 1999 to encourage buildings to pursue LEED Certification in exchange for bonus density. The program was expanded in 2003 and amended again in 2009.

The Incentive Program was revised in 2009 to allow for requests for bonus density for the various levels of LEED certification listed below.

LEED Level Commercial Residential
Certified 0.05 FAR 0.10 FAR
Silver 0.15 FAR 0.20 FAR
Gold 0.35 FAR 0.40 FAR
Platinum 0.45 FAR 0.50 FAR

It is the view of the County that buildings that achieve LEED Certification are not necessarily achieving levels of energy efficiency that the County desires. In an effort to encourage more energy efficient buildings, the County has modified the levels of bonus density available and now requires a minimum amount of energy efficiency in order to receive bonus density. The County’s goal is to have the focus of the green building measures and investment for any particular project be in optimizing energy performance, even if that results in a lower level of LEED certification than may be able to be achieved otherwise for the project.

The Green Building Incentive Program requires a minimum level of energy savings for all projects that wish to participate. The Minimum Energy Savings (MES) is measured as additional savings beyond the current ASHRAE standards and equates to a particular number of points earned under LEED EA Credit 1 – Optimize Energy Performance of LEED version 2009.