FC Joins EPA Green Power Partnership
By PETER OPPENHEIMER
November 12, 2012
Special to the Falls Church Times
In September, the City of Falls Church was accepted into the U.S. EPA’s free, voluntary Green Power Partnership, enabling City officials to receive technical assistance from EPA to procure electricity generated from renewable, “green” resources such as wind, solar, biomass, and certain geothermal and low-impact hydro resources. Acceptance into the Green Power Partnership follows the completion of the City’s energy use and greenhouse gas emission study and other work of the Environmental Services Council’s Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Task Force.
Green energy purchases help to reduce carbon emissions, accelerate the development of new domestic renewable energy sources, and minimize environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The City is now one of more than 1,300 Green Power Partner organizations, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies, colleges and universities, and other local and state governments.
In September, the City Council also approved a yearlong, citywide challenge to become Virginia’s first EPA Green Power Community. This challenge encourages the voluntary use of green power by local residents and businesses to meet or exceed three percent of the City’s total annual community-wide electricity use. Currently, the City estimates that businesses and residents are using 494,000 kilowatt hours of green power. To meet three percent, usage will need to rise to approximately 4.3 million kilowatt hours. That’s a big but achievable goal.
Rising to this challenge has several advantages that will benefit City government, residents and businesses:
*Improved living and community environment
*Reduced greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants
*Enhanced community image
*Increased citizen pride
To help the City reach the three percent green power goal, Falls Church residents and local businesses are encouraged to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or install on-site renewable energy sources.
Participation is easy: City residents and businesses can sign up online to purchase RECs for some or all of their energy use through Dominion Virginia Power’s Green Power Program or from a number of other state and national REC providers.
The City itself recently purchased over $1,000 of RECs to match five percent of the energy it uses annually, offsetting more than 541,000 kilowatt hours of electricity with green power.
Working together, we can use more renewable energy and help make Falls Church the first EPA Green Power Community in Virginia.
Peter Oppenheimer is a member of the Falls Church Environmental Services Council
By (see byline)
November 12, 2012