Green building is a collection of land-use, building design, and construction strategies that reduce the environmental impacts that buildings have on their surroundings.
Arlington County uses the US Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™) Green Building Rating System to measure the energy and environmental performance of buildings. LEED is a comprehensive way to implement green building standards and practices. The LEED rating system spans six specific categories: site location, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation.
Private Development History
In October 1999, the County Board adopted a Pilot Green Building Incentive Program based on the USGBC’s LEED rating system to evaluate special exception site plan requests for bonus density and/or height. The original incentive program offered bonus density up to .25 FAR exclusively for office buildings achieving LEED Silver certification.
Although many developers expressed interest in the pilot program, only one project applied and received bonus density in exchange for a LEED Silver certification. After more than three years of experience and feedback, Arlington County updated and expanded the Green Building Density Incentive Program in 2003. The updated program allowed the County Board to consider requests from all types of site plan developments (office, residential, and mixed-use) at all four levels of LEED certification. In 2003, the County’s Green Building Fund was also established. Developers who did not commit to LEED certification contributed to the Fund at a rate of $0.03 per square foot. If the developer later achieved LEED certification, the contribution would be refunded. The Green Building Fund is available for education and outreach to the developers and the community on green building issues.
In 2009, the Green Building Incentive program was reviewed and updated again. The amount of bonus density was adjusted based on market acceptance of the LEED standard. The program was modified with slightly more density offered to residential construction to encourage residential projects to participate in the program. The green building fund contribution was also increased to $0.045 per square foot.
The program was revised again in 2012 to address market acceptance of the LEED program, and to take a step toward the greenhouse gas reduction goals outlined in Arlington’s Community Energy Plan. Projects may request bonus density in exchange for a commitment to a minimum level of energy savings and LEED Silver certification or higher. In addition, participating projects must report energy usage to the County for 10 years. Projects may also request a small amount of additional density in exchange for a commitment to achieve LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance or ENERGY STAR building certification.
See table below for program participation:
Public Development History
Arlington County Government incorporates green features into its new public facilities. Virginia’s first Silver LEED certification was awarded to Arlington’s Langston-Brown School and Community Center in September 2003. In the fall of 2008, this commitment was formalized in Arlington’s Policy for Integrated Facility Sustainability. The policy commits Arlington to build public facilities that reduce costs through energy and water efficiency, provide healthy work environments for staff and visitors, and contribute to the County’s goals of protecting, conserving, and enhancing the region’s environmental resources.
The policy states, in general, that Arlington will fund, design, and construct projects to achieve the LEED Silver certification. The policy applies to buildings owned by the County as well as space leased by the County. The appropriate LEED rating system will be applied on a case-by-case basis (LEED for New Construction, LEED for Commercial Interiors, LEED for Core and Shell, etc.). The policy does not apply to Arlington Public School projects.
Arlington County LEED Certified Projects
The County’s LEED certified buildings are:
- 2003 Langston-Brown Community Center LEED Silver
- 2006 Walter Reed Community Center LEED Silver
- 2006 Park Operations Building LEED Silver
- 2009 Washington-Lee High School LEED Gold
- 2009 Westover Library LEED Gold
- 2009 Arlington County Inspection Services Offices LEED Silver
- 2011 Arlington County Commuter Services LEED Gold