Local firm leads community energy project in VirginiaWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Garforth International LLC of Toledo was selected as the consulting team to lead the development of a 30-year Community Energy Plan for Arlington County, Va.
The Community Energy Plan is a chartered initiative of the Energy Planning and Management division of the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
Arlington County is committed to effectively and efficiently managing its energy resources with a master plan to ensure the community’s attractiveness, competitiveness and environmental performance, according to Jay Fisette, chairman of the county board.
“It is critical that communities have a long-term plan to manage the effectiveness of how energy is used, as much to insure economic competitiveness and innovation, as to contribute to local and global environmental improvements,” said Peter Garforth, principal for Garforth International (GIL).
The GIL staff and a team of alliance partners will work closely with Arlington County’s staff to engage local residents and businesses in a discussion of energy challenges and solutions. The Community Energy Plan is scheduled to be delivered to the county board early next year, Garforth said.
Garforth attended the first public meeting April 17 in Arlington. A meeting of the local task force for the Community Energy Plan chaired by Fisette is scheduled for May 14.
Garforth’s team has established a baseline for energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in Arlington County. The project involves developing long-term energy efficiency and supply strategies for the county.
“Not many jurisdictions in the U.S. have undertaken a master energy plan so it’s a feather in our cap to lead this project,” Garforth said.
The GIL team brings a unique global perspective combined with local experience. Garforth said his firm was selected based on its successful development of similar integrated energy plans with solutions for cities in the U.S., Canada and China.
Members of the team include Garforth, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC), Owens Corning of Toledo, and MVV decon GmbH of Manheim, Germany.
Collectively, the members have extensive municipal energy and climate experience in more than 120 countries worldwide, according to Garforth.
The NVRC is a regional council of local governments in northern Virginia with a history of developing and implementing energy programs.
The NVRC became involved in the project for Arlington County after Garforth worked with them on a similar plan for Loudon County.
Garforth was the catalyst for both plans after he conducted a workshop on community energy planning for all the local governments at the German embassy in Washington for the commission, said Mark Gibb, executive director of the NVRC.
MVV is an engineering firm that has developed municipal energy systems for several cities in Germany. That country is among the best energy-efficient nations in the world using half the energy per person than the U.S., Garforth said.
Owens Corning produces energy-saving building products such as insulation and roofing shingles for residential and commercial use. Company officials declined to comment on its involvement in the Arlington County project until some results are available to report.
“These partners have been working together for several years with the specific purpose of developing integrated energy plans for clients ranging from large scale private commercial, retail and residential developers, universities and colleges, cities and counties,” Garforth said in an e-mail.
The GIL team has developed community energy plans for the cities of Guelph and Gwillimbury in Ontario, Canada; a county energy strategy for Loudon County, Va; and an integrated energy master plan for the city of Urumqi, Xin Jiang in China.
The team worked with Loudon County to develop the first 30-year comprehensive strategy for the county’s energy use, distribution and supply which was accepted by the Board of Supervisors in 2009.
Garforth has completed energy projects for Owens Community College in Toledo and Findlay, Terra State Community College in Fremont, Lorain County Community College in Elyria, and Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio.