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Arlington County Greens It Up

Taking the lead in Northern Virginia on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Arlington County announced yesterday that it will buy more wind-generated electricity, give tax breaks for hybrid cars, require green certification for new public buildings and hand out energy-efficient light bulbs to residents. In total, the county aims for a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within the next five years. Arlington County's new plan increases the amount of wind power purchased from 3 percent to 5 percent and gives residents a tax break on their personal property taxes for purchasing hybrid cars. The county will also refit one or two county buildings with solar technology and require green certification for all new public buildings. In addition, the county will plant 1,200 trees (to increase carbon absorption), hand out 2,000 free flourescent light bulbs, and pay for 20 county residents to get energy-efficiency audits of their homes. Finally, Arlington County shows that environmentally friendly measures are not costly. The cost of upgrading municipal buildings to higher efficiency standards will be recouped in lower utility costs. Arlington County shows how small steps can contribute to larger environmental savings. The county's plan introduces new ideas, such as giving tax breaks on personal property taxes for purchasing hybrid cars, and promotes education on energy conservation by simple measures such as handing out energy efficient light bulbs to residents. Small steps that can be easily replicated in other states leading to even larger environmental gains.