Arlington County, Va., is the first community to achieve Platinum level under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) newly created LEED for Communities program.
The certification recognizes the County’s “leadership in creating a sustainable and resilient urban environment that has long-proven success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing stormwater, ensuring economic prosperity and focusing on education, affordable housing, health and safety for residents and businesses,” USGBC says. Progress and outcomes for the program are measured using Arc, a digital platform that benchmarks and tracks performance data at the building, city, and community level.
The county’s sustainability achievements include developing a commuter rail and smart growth strategies in the general land use plan. The county also created a program target to reduce county government's carbon emissions by 10% by 2012, compared to 2000 levels. It achieved that goal by improving energy efficiency in the County government's buildings, vehicles, and infrastructure.
In addition, the County's Community Energy Plan (CEP), adopted in 2013, established a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 75% by 2050. The County recently became the first locality in Virginia to approve an ordinance allowing a Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program—a public-private partnership to provide affordable, long-term financing for projects to improve the energy or water efficiency of commercial buildings.