Green Building Forum Tonight

7-9pm, at the Washington Masonic Memorial.  There’s a presentation and some time for public comment on Alexandria’s Planning and Zoning Department draft plan, which is available here.  More details from the City of Alexandria website, should you wish.

See you there!

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7 Responses to “Green Building Forum Tonight”


  1. 1 bullmooser08 January 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    What did you think of the green building forum?

  2. 2 virescent January 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I ended up feeling terrible yesterday and not going, actually. How do you think it went? I was going to confess to shirking and read the draft proposal to talk about it in another post, but here is as good a place as any. Fill us in!

  3. 3 bullmooser08 February 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    First off, I was surprised by the turn-out. I estimated that approximately 120 people attended/participated (including the 6 panel members and 6 miscellaneous support staff members) in the GB Forum. Moreover, the audience had so many questions that the panel could not answer them all, even though we extended the forum by fifteen minutes. (You should be able to find answers to the questions not answered here:http://alexandriava.gov/planning/info/default.aspx?id=18156)

    I think everyone on the panel recognized the importance of greening our buildings. No one challenged the paramount statistic presented: 35% of carbon emissions (+/- a few percentage points, I don’t recall the exact figure) come from buildings, second only to personal vehicles in percantage of emissions. Everyone, developers included, are supportive of adopting greener standards. Notwithstanding the fundamental points of agreement, the fissures became apparent when the panel began debating how green buildings should be. Basically, developers want the expectation set at LEED certified, while others want the standard set at LEED silver. One developer, whose name escapes me, repeatedly warned of setting the standard too high for fear that it would spur developers to ignore Alexandria and head for (less) “greener” pastures like PGC and Fairfax where laws were not as stringent.

  4. 4 virescent February 3, 2009 at 3:59 am

    One would think that Alexandria has plenty of incentives to keep development here, but that might just be my hometown pride talking (I’ve been here less than three years, but it already feels like a hometown- that is probably because I think the waiters at Los Tios recognize me now).

    I’m glad everyone is talking about measurable, LEED-type standards. It bodes well that we’re “just” arguing over the level of certification rather than the need for it. Is Zoning or the city thinking of tiering things like taxes or permit times to be more accommodating for higher LEED levels? EG give Platinum folks a big tax break for five years or some such?

    Oh, just read part of the draft .pdf at the link you gave and there it is, on page 18- incentives for greener development. Right on. I think incentives for higher LEED standards would be a great thing- especially incentives like increased floor-area ratios, or building sizes allowed, since that would help make the city a bit denser.

    Glad the participation and interest is so high, too! I assume many were new faces? Where did you all advertise the forum?

  5. 5 bullmooser08 February 3, 2009 at 11:33 am

    The City’s PR wing did a lot of the advertising, but there unfortunately no one did an quick poll to see how people found out about it. My hunch tells me most of the people who showed up heard about it via word of mouth or from a concerned friends.

    I share your happiness that all the key stakeholders are arguing about degrees of greenness, but I am concerned that developers feel entitled to incentives to do the right thing. Moreover, Vice Mayor Dell Pepper spoke before the meeting and told the audience that the City is asking for a few simple easy steps that citizens could take. When are our leaders going to stand-up and say what empirical evidence and human nature tells us is true; to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, we will have to change many, many unquestioned habits.

    Maybe we’re overestimating the negative consequences of climate change, but I’d hate to underestimate the potential damage and be wrong. After all, we can’t just move if we mess up; Earth is all we have.

  6. 6 virescent February 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Developers are operating in a market, which means they do aim to make money- if the city makes it more profitable to go green, then we get what we want, by arranging the debate in the monetary terms they understand. I agree, it’d be nice if developers went Platinum on their own, just because it’s the right thing to do, but if that were actually going to happen, we wouldn’t need a green building policy in the first place. Keep a demanding minimum LEED expectation, of course, but also realize that developers don’t find it in their best financial interests to stay green, as cynical as that might seem. It’s just the current reality of doing business. We need to change that.

    I do agree with you that I’m not hearing much from the City on what we need to be doing as citizens to make this better. I remember hearing about clean-up days and more participatory things. When are those going to happen?

  7. 7 bullmooser08 February 4, 2009 at 12:08 am

    The EPC is going to be conducting its adopt-a-block clean-up this Sunday from 1000-1130. You’re welcome to join us. Click (http://ecocityalexandria.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/adopt-a-block/) for more information. We’ll plan to meet at the Starbucks and we’ll have all the equipment you need ready to go.

    The Outreach Committee is meeting at 1600 on Wednesday, February 4 to discuss how we can market Eco-City to Alexandrians and events to get the community involved. Do you have any proposals off the top of your head? I’d be happy to present them for you.


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