Green Building Initiative
What is “Green Building”?
Green building is a loosely defined collection of land-use, building design, and construction strategies that reduce the environmental impacts that buildings have on their surroundings. Traditional building practices often overlook the interrelationships among a building, its components, its surroundings, and its occupants. “Typical” buildings consume more of our resources than necessary and generate large amounts of waste.
Arlington County has adopted the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) Green Building Rating System as a way to measure the energy and environmental performance of buildings in the County. The LEED™ rating system allots points within seven specific categories for environmentally beneficial building materials and design, in categories such as site location, water efficiency, energy and the atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. LEED™ is the easiest way for any professional, business, or organization to master green building standards and practices. Green buildings have many benefits, such as better use of building resources, significant operational savings, and increased workplace productivity. Building green sends the right message about a company or organization - it’s well run, responsible, and committed to the future.
Characteristics of Green Buildings
There is not any one single technique for designing and building a green building, but green buildings often:
- Preserve natural vegetation;
- Contain non-toxic or recycled-content building materials;
- Maintain good indoor air-quality;
- Use water and energy efficiently;
- Conserve natural resources;
- Feature natural lighting;
- Include recycling facilities throughout;
- Include access to public transportation;
- Feature flexible interiors; and
- Recycle construction and demolition waste.
More and more developers are realizing the economic and environmental benefits of green buildings. Arlington encourages all builders and developers to learn about the LEED™ system and incorporate “green” components in all projects. LEED™ offers four levels of certification for buildings meeting specific standards.
Arlington County’s Incentive Program
To encourage more green building in Arlington, the County requires that:
1. All site plan applications in Arlington County are required to include a completed LEED™ scorecard. The scorecard allows the developer to assess the options for including green components in a project. It also allows the County to measure a project’s overall performance and to collect data on the environmental status of all site plan buildings in the County.
2. The County offers a bonus density INCENTIVE to developers who design green buildings as outlined by the LEED™ rating system. The developer may be granted additional density up to 0.25 floor area ratio (FAR) and/or additional height up to three stories if the project meets the silver LEED™ rating or higher.
Find out more about this Green Building Incentive Program, or contact the Arlington County Environmental Planning Office (703-228-4488) or the Arlington County Planning Division (703-228-3525).