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Posted at 8:22 PM ET, 10/20/2010

Let the Arlington Green Games begin

By Erica Johnston

Arlington has just under 20 companies, property managers and office tenants signed up for the Arlington Green Games program, but county officials are looking for more.

The Crystal City Business Improvement District, Public Broadcasting System and Monday Properties are among the competitors who plan on reducing the carbon footprint over the next year by following about 30 ideas aimed at energy sustainability, said Sarah O’Connell, energy outreach coordinator for the county.

"It is a creative partnership between the county and private sector to help them save money and to help protect the broader environment," said Jay Fisette, county board chairman. Friendly competitions, like the one Fisette started with the Virginia Municipal League, "can be a helpful tool to move the bar forward," he said.

Commercial office buildings in Arlington account for 40 percent of the county’s carbon emissions, O’Connell said.

“We would love to see both property managers and office tenants register and participate,” O’Connell said. “Hopefully we come close to numbers in Chicago.”

The Arlington program is one four communities selected by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, an organization of about 1,200 local governments committed to sustainability practices, to run the program based on one previously run in Chicago.

The Chicago games had 150 participants and had energy reductions equivalent to removing 10,000 cars from the road for an entire year, O’Connell said.

"In many ways, I would think this is the kind of community that would perform at a higher per capita level, but [Chicago] is a much bigger city. That should be taken into account," Fisette said. "If it can work in Chicago, it can definitely work here in Arlington."

Office tenants and commercial property owners are welcome to sign up at the program’s website, http://www.arlingtongreengames.com and check out some of the measures that will be used beginning Jan. 1. Office tenants will use the on-line scorecard. Commercial property managers will be guided by the Environmental Protection Agency’s performance rating system, which helps track water and energy consumption, and be asked to share waste diversion reports with the county.

The businesses will get monthly support by way of training, networking, web series and brown-bag lunch talks. The Arlington Green Games also will partner with organizations that focus on energy and sustainability to have experts at the monthly meetings.

The competition is part of the county’s Fresh AIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions) and works towards the larger goals being set by the Community Energy Plan.

For more information, log onto www.arlingtongreengames.com.

-- Christy Goodman

By Erica Johnston  | October 20, 2010; 8:22 PM ET
Categories:  Virginia  
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