Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

It looks like spring finally may be arriving, and more thoughts turn to the environment. At the Board of Supervisors meeting last week, I was pleased to announce the return to two popular programs: Solarize Fairfax County, and LED Lightbulb Exchanges. The Solarize campaign begins on April 16 and ends on June 14. During the campaign, homeowners and businesses can receive a free, no-obligation solar site assessment. Participants who decide to install solar panels can benefit from discounted prices, vetted installers, financing options, a federal tax credit, and Fairfax County’s solar incentives, which include a waiver of the permit application fee and a five-year solar energy equipment tax exemption. For the first time, installing electric vehicle charging stations are included in the program.

Fairfax County is partnering with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and the nonprofit Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) to offer this opportunity. Three information sessions are planned: Monday, April 22, at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax; Wednesday, May 8, at the South County Government Center in Alexandria; and Thursday, May 30, at the North County Government Center in Reston. All sessions begin at 7:30 p.m. Or, you can log on to www.solarizefairfaxcounty.org to sign up for the free assessment to see if solar is right for you and your property.

After last year’s incredibly popular LED Lightbulb Exchanges, the program will be repeated in April and May. In collaboration with the Fairfax County Public Library system, Energy Action Fairfax is giving away one free LED lightbulb per household, and you can receive up to four additional LED bulbs in exchange for four incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, but only while supplies last. In Mason District, the LED exchange will occur on Saturday, May 18, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. Last year, when I stopped at the library to exchange my lightbulbs, there were 100 people in line, so plan to get there early! You can save up to $75 a year simply by replacing your five most frequently used bulbs with LEDs.

At the same Board of Supervisors meeting last week, the Board adopted a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program (C-PACE) that will offer third-party financing for business owners who wish to upgrade their properties with energy efficient systems. The C-PACE concept has been around for several years, but the legal responsibilities of the program had to be clarified before the Board could adopt an ordinance. The C-PACE tool provides incentives for replacing or rehabbing existing HVAC and other building systems, reducing energy usage and emissions.

Congratulations to the recruits of the 144th Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy class, who graduated on March 15, and immediately began their duty shifts the following morning. Seventeen recruits became probationary firefighters and EMTs after an intense six months of training at the academy in Chantilly. A couple of days later, the Volunteer Fire School 2023 celebrated graduation from a similar course in the High Bay of the academy. At least two of the volunteers are members of the Bailey’s Crossroads Volunteer Station #10, and are qualified to respond to calls and assist the professional members of the county’s Fire and Rescue Department. Congratulations to all who work to serve our community.