State and Local Policy Database

Arlington County

City Scorecard Rank


Arlington County, VA

Scored out of 250Updated 05/2024
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 6 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Arlington County’s Community Energy Plan sets a community-wide goal for the county to reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions to 3.0 mtCO2e/capita/year by 2050.  Additionally, Arlington County has an energy-efficiency goal that aims for residential buildings to use 55% less energy and non-residential buildings to use 60% less energy as compared to 2007 levels.


Data regarding the energy intensity and carbon footprint of community buildings can be consulted in Arlington County's open data portal

Last updated: May 2017



Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equity-Driven Community Engagement

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies.

Equity-Driven Decision-Making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Accountability to Equity

We were unable to determine whether the city has adopted specific goals, metrics, or protocols to track how multiple energy, sustainability, or climate action initiatives are affecting local marginalized groups. 

Last updated: August 2020

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

There are currently no district energy systems in Arlington County, however, the Community Energy Plan calls for the development of 450MW of district energy by 2050.  Additionally, Arlington County has mapped the energy density of the whole community to identify areas for potential district energy systems.

Last updated: May 2017

Adaptive Mitigation List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

We could not verify if the city has adopted a quantifiable urban heat island mitigation goal.

UHI Policies and Programs

Arlington has a stormwater management ordinance in place for the protection of the Chesapeake Bay. Arlington also has a tree ordinance in place that protects existing trees. 

Last updated: August 2020

Buildings Policies
Score: 17.5 out of 29 points
Building Energy CodesList All

The State of Virginia requires its local jurisdictions to follow the 2012 Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) for residential and commercial construction. As of July 14, 2014, the USBC was updated to reference the 2012 IECC and 2012 IRC. Residential buildings must comply with the 2012 IRC, while commercial buildings must comply with 2012 IECC standards with reference to ASHRAE 90.1-2010. To learn more, please see the Virginia page of the State Policy Database.  


Commercial construction in Arlington County complies with the Virginia USBC. Arlington's Chief Code Official serves as Vice Chair of the IECC Commercial Committee and advocates for more stringent commercial building energy codes.


Residential construction in Arlington County complies with the Virginia USBC. Arlington works with site plan multifamily projects to voluntarily build beyond code.

Last Updated: May 2017

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Arlington County has internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. This staff is trained through a mandatory educational program aimed at preparing them to enforce the energy code. A part of their responsibilities, staff provides upfront support to developers and owners for building energy code compliance.  Arlington has not yet established a voluntary code compliance option.

Last Updated: May 2017


Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

As per state law, Arlington has no legal authority to establish mandatory benchmarking requirements. Nevertheless, the city is running a voluntary program that encourages building benchmarking through the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.Additionally, energy efficiency features are included in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) serving the Arlington area.

Last Updated: May 2017

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Green Building Requirements

Arlington uses form based code that requires building to LEED standards for commercial centers and to LEED, EarthCraft, or Arlington's Green Home Choice program for residential development. All affordable housing that receives public funds must comply with EarthCraft standards. 

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Arlington does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.  

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Arlington provides expedited permitting for residential construction, density bonuses for commercial construction, as well as rebates for energy-efficient lighting retrofits.

Last Updated: May 2017

Score: 22 out of 28 points
Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Arlington's Community Energy Plan includes policies to reduce the amount of carbon produced from transportation to 1.0mt CO2e/capita/year by 2050. Arlington plans to acheive this goal by reducing vehicles miles traveled, increasing vehicle efficiency and switching to less carbon intensive fuels.  

Last Updated: May 2017

Location Efficiency List All

Alirngton County's General Land Use Plan encourages location-efficient development throughout the city.  Additionally, this county offers incenctives to encourage compact, mixed-use development such as the Green Building Program Density Incenctive, a form based code to encourage mixed-use development in the Columbia Pike Corridor, and allowable ground floor uses for major planning corridors in Arlington's densest areas. This county has not yet removed minimum parking requirements for new developments. 

Last updated: May 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Arlington's Master Transportation Plan incorporates bycicle and pedestrian modal shift targets. 

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There are three car sharing programs currently available to the residents and visitors of Arlington, zipcar, Car2go, and Hertz OnDemand. The city is served by a bikesharing program, capital bikeshare, with 300 operable stations in the Washington-Arlington Area.

Complete Streets

Alrington County has a Complete Street Policy in place, however their National Complete Streets Coalition score is unknown. 

Last updated: May 2017

Public Transit List All

The average spending from 2011 to 2015 in the largest transit system serving Arlington County amounts to a total of $28,993,895. Considering the Metropolitan Statistical Area population, this funding amounts to $4.75 of transit spending per capita.

Arlington County has a Transit Connectivity Index of 26.

Last updated: May 2017

Efficient VehiclesList All

Arlington's citizens owning qualifying clean fuel vehicles (including hybrid and electric vehicles) are eligible to receive 50% tax relief on the value of the vehicle from $3,001 to $20,000. The county provides aproximately 39 electric vehicle charging stations for public use. Arlington does not have incenctive programs to support the installation of electric vehicle infraestructure. 

Last updated: May 2017

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Arlington County does not have a sustainable freight transportation strategy, nor does it have internet based applications to coordinate freight transportation.

Last updated: May 2017

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Arlington County has no formal requirements or incenctives for the creation or preservation of affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Last updated: May 2017

Community Energy Infrastructure
Score: 7 out of 18 points
Community Energy Infrastructure Summary List All

Virginia Electric Power & Light (VEP&L), an Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) and subsidiary to Dominion Power, is the primary electric utility serving Arlington County. Washington Gas, an IOU, is Arlington’s primary natural gas supplier. The State of Virginia has set a legislative goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10% from a 2006 baseline by 2022. The utilities must submit integrated resource plans to the State Corporation Commission laying out demand-side resources. Energy efficiency programs have been approved in past years. To learn more about the state-requirements for electric and gas efficiency, please visit the Virginia page of the State Database.

The Arlington Department of Environmental Services is the municipal utility which provides drinking water, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management services.

Last Updated: May 2017

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2015, according to VEP&L’s demand side management report, they achieved 83,383 MWh in net incremental savings, representing 0.11% of retail sales. To achieve these savings, VEP&L spent $30,974,000 on electric efficiency programs in 2015, which equates to 0.46% of annual revenue. In 2015, Washington Gas reported reported savings of 94,000 Mcf from natural gas efficiency programs, representing 0.23% of its retail sales. To achieve these savings, Washington Gas spent $5,395,764 on natural gas efficiency programs, which are normalized to $11.10 per residential customer. 

Arlington County does not partner with its energy utilities to jointly administer energy saving strategies, plans, or policies. 

Updated: May 2017

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs

At this time, VEP&L and Washington Gas do not offer energy efficiency programs targeted at low-income customers.

Multifamily Programs

VEP&L offers the Multifamily Heat Pump Tune-Up program, as for Wahington Gas, this utiltiy offers the Virginia Multifamily Piping Pilot Program which provides contributions to offset the cost of installing gas piping from the outlet of each meter to every residence in multifamily properties.

Updated: May 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, VEP&L makes use of the Green Button data sharing platform. Neither VEP&L nor Washington Gas provide Arlington’s building owners and managers with automatic benchmark data for inputting into Portfolio Manager. Community-wide energy data is provided by the electric and natural gas utilities for energy planning. Arlington does not advocate to the state for policy improvements in home energy data provision by the electric utility. 

Updated: May 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

Arlington County has not yet established a water efficiency target, nor does it have a partnership with the wayer utility to offer joint efficienct programs. 

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

Arlington’s wastewater treatment plant is discussed extensively throughout the County Operations Energy Plan, This plant has a 10% efficiency improvement target by 2020. However, this plant does not currently self-generate energy for on-site consumption.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

The Urban Forest Master Plan includes policies to encourage green infrastructure and manage stormwater runoff. 

Last Updated: May 2017

Local Government Score:
12 out of 15 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

Arlington’s Community Energy Plan calls for a reduction in county government greenhouse gas emissions of 76% below 2007 levels by 2050.  The Arlington County Board adopted Arlington’s greenhouse gas reductions targets in June of 2013 and incorporated them into the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  


Data regarding the energy intensity and carbon footprint of government buildings can be consulted in Arlington County's open data portal

Last updated: May 2017

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Arlington’s Equipment Bureau Environmental Fleet Standards outline the county’s fuel efficiency requirements, including a provision stating that hybrid vehicles are the preferred replacements for non-public safety passenger vehicles. Additionally, the county also uses GPS technology to track snow plows and leaf collection trucks for route optimization purposes.  

Public Lighting

The county has a program to replace all existing streetlights with more efficient LED lights and has installed over 6,000 LED streetlights through the program, approximately 85% of all streetlights in the county.  As new LED streetlights are being installed, radio controls are being installed so that the system will be able to use dimming and sensor functions.

New Buildings and Equipment

The Arlington County Infrastructure Design and Construction Standard - Building Design requires energy and water efficient products including lighting, HVAC, and premium-efficient motors.  

Last updated: May 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Arlington annually benchmarks 100% of municipal facilities in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Additioinally, the county seeks annual energy use intensity (EUI) reductions in its building portfolio of 2 percent per year. A new (2016) County Operations Energy Plan outlines enterprise-wide strategies for energy performance improvements.

Public Employees

Arlington policy allows for 4/40 or 9/80 compressed work schedules and teleworking. 

Last updated: May 2017