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What Does Arlington and the City of Guelph Have in Common? Peter Garforth.

I attended the meeting last Wednesday night regarding the impact of Arlington County's Community Energy Plan on the Arlington development community, held by the County's lead consultant, Peter Garforth, of Garforth International, Jay Fissette, the Chairman of the Arlington County Board, and numerous industry representatives.  I initially blogged about this several months ago (see the post "From Ad Hoc Incentives to a Comprehensive Community Energy Plan") when the Arlington Community Energy and Sustainability Task Force began to develop a forty year energy plan for Arlington County.  It is now unofficially official that the end goal of the task force is to create a new, additional component to the County's Comprehensive Plan to be implemented during the various local land use/special exception processes.  It will therefore have major impacts on the development and capital projects industries, as well as a number of utility companies.

The plan is modeled after a number of plans already implemented and apparently successful elsewhere, such as Copenhagen and the City of Guelph, which have been able to identify and align both short-term and long-term energy goals.  We are told the currently unreleased draft plan considers the following:

  • Concepts for "district energy" systems,
  • Reshaping infrastructure for localization of systems,
  • Use of cogeneration systems,
  • Goals to reduce the County's carbon footprint (possibly up to as much as 50%),
  • Continuation of an emphasis on efficient building design,
  • Smart/monitored metering, and
  • Public and private investments.

It also sounds like they contemplate this new shared infrastructure possibly being owned, operated and maintained by an independent, third party entity.  Clearly, shared systems and involving a third party entity/owner will make development substantially more complicated from a lot of different perspectives.  Hopefully, however, adequate time is given to consider what kind of incentives/benefits may be available to help private entities hedge or offset some of the risks until these practices become normalized.

I've asked for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation Peter made which outlines a number of these points and I'll post it as soon as I get it.