Program Arlington County - Green Building Incentive Program
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Local
Last Update
State Virginia
Administrator Arlington County
Technologies Solar - Passive, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Photovoltaics, Daylighting
Sectors Residential

On September 19, 2019, Arlington County adopted an updated Community Energy Plan (2019 CEP), which includes a goal for Arlington to be a Carbon Neutral Community by 2050. The 2019 CEP reports that 58% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated by buildings in Arlington. The Green Building Incentive Policy is the primary tool currently available to encourage the private sector to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in new construction to help achieve Arlington’s long-term carbon emission goals. In the policy, bonus density is offered in exchange for new developments that commit to specific sustainability criteria.

2020 Green Building Incentive Policy

  • LEED Gold is now the minimum level of green building certification required in order to receive bonus density in the program (Earthcraft is allowed for multifamily).
  • In addition, all levels must do the following:
    • Include baseline items that address specific energy measures including energy and water efficient appliances, electric vehicle charging, renewable energy, ventilation performance, refrigerant leakage, and energy benchmarking.
    • Other baseline community sustainability priorities include equity, human interaction with nature (biophilia), light pollution reduction, and bird-friendly materials.
    • Meet specified energy optimization criteria to ensure energy efficiency above the LEED baseline.
    • Achieve the Energy Star Building Certification (or equivalent) post-occupancy, with increasing levels of compliance stipulated for higher FAR levels.
  • The Green Building Incentive Policy adds one additional level for participation, increasing the flexibility of the program for participants. The Policy now offers five levels of participation ranging from .25 FAR to .70 FAR, each with increasing requirements for energy efficiency.
  • For participation above the baseline 0.25 FAR level, projects must meet the above-noted requirements and must include a specific number of additional items selected from the “Extra” list. Items on the “Extra” list incentivize additional renewable energy, energy storage and resilience, electrification of building systems, additional energy efficiency, low carbon materials, and affordable housing.
  • At the three highest levels of participation, applicants may opt to use a more stringent building certification such as Passive House, Net Zero Energy or Zero Carbon certifications.
  • In order to ensure that the Policy continues to remain rigorous and in line with the Community Energy Plan goals, the Policy includes an Automatic Update that will take effect on June 30, 2023. This update will increase the minimum requirements for energy optimization specified for each level of participation.

Full information on the updated policy can be found here.


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