Category Archives: Resilient Virginia News

Resilient Building Design: March 5, 2020

Resilient Building Design: March 5, 2020

A Presentation and Networking Event

Co-hosts: USGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia

Thursday, March 5, 2020
4:00–6:00 PM

Rainwater Management Solutions
2550 Shenandoah Ave NW, Roanoke, VA 24017

Tickets: $10–$20

Speakers:

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI, President, Terrazia PC: Defining a resilient high-performance (RHP) building, determining what are the most affordable strategies that create RHP buildings while maximizing return on investment, and how resilient design helps ensure sustainable and viable communities.

Alysson Blackwelder, Project Manager, Advocacy and Policy, U.S. Green Building Council: How USGBC tools and systems — LEED, SITES, PEER, and LEED for Cities — contribute to the resilience of a variety of projects, both in Virginia and regionally.

This event is the first of a four-part co-hosted series by Resilient Virginia and USGBC Virginia that explores the intersection of resiliency and green building.

Register Now

Resilient Virginia News: January 2020

What’s New

2010–2019: The Overheated Decade

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released in a January 15, 2020 press conference, the last decade was the hottest on record. In addition, 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, only after 2016, which continued the long-term warming trend and made the last five years the hottest on record. Additionally, 19 of the hottest years have been in the last two decades.

“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record,” said NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt. “Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.

Chart: Yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951–1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, and additional sources. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest. Credits: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt

Using climate models and statistical analysis of global temperature data, scientists have concluded that this increase mostly has been driven by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

“We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Schmidt said.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2019 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 34th warmest on record, giving it a “warmer than average” classification. The Arctic region has warmed slightly more than three times faster than the rest of the world since 1970.

Rising temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean are contributing to the continued ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica, which will contribute to sea level rise, and to increases in some extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, intense precipitation.

Read the full press release here and view the slides from the press conference here.

In order to reverse these trends, rapid decarbonization will be required. How much and how soon is illustrated in this graphic.

Decarbonization required to reverse global warming trendSource: Robbie Andrew, CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

Holly and snow

Renewed Vision in 2020

By Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia

It’s increasingly important to keep focused on a way forward that allows us to take care of the environment that is the basis for our individual health and well-being, and for prosperity of communities of people, as well as other life on the planet. Resilient Virginia recommits in 2020 to its mission of accelerating resiliency planning in communities across Virginia. We recognize that changing climate, social, and economic conditions mean that old paradigms will not work, and that assessing increasing risks and forging adaptation strategies are critical to guide communities toward a vital future. We recognize that community well-being is not only tied to continued or renewed economic activity, but also the ability of all members of the community to have equitable access to education, to health, and to opportunity.

Resilient Virginia’s priorities for the next year follow below, as well as articles that we hope direct our readers toward a Renewed Vision in 2020. We ask that you consider supporting Resilient Virginia in the coming year as we recommit to supporting communities around the state.

Resilient Virginia’s 2020 Priorities

For the next year, Resilient Virginia is establishing a series of educational workshops, under the Resiliency Academy title, that focus on the resiliency planning process for local governments and communities, on building and infrastructure resiliency, and the role of ecosystem services in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Look for announcements of our Resiliency Academy workshop series schedule, which will take place around the state, and for our jointly sponsored events with partner organizations such as the US Green Building Council-Virginia and Leaders in Energy.

Note: You can support the Resiliency Academy series development by becoming sponsor. View the sponsor information here or contact Annette Osso, Resilient Virginia Managing Director at osso@resilientvirginia.org.

Holly and snow

New Surveys Show Increased Understanding of Climate Crisis

Recent surveys indicate that nearly six in ten (58%) Americans are either “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming, and that over the last five years the proportion of “Alarmed” nearly tripled. In addition, six in ten registered voters would support a President declaring a national emergency to act on global warming.

These findings are from the joint reports by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

A survey report published in November 2019, Climate Change in the American Mind, is an update of the ongoing analysis of the “Six Americas” categorization of Americans, based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. The study indicates a dramatic shift toward percentages of the population most worried about global warming and most supportive of strong action to address carbon pollution reductions. This group now outnumbers people at the other end of the spectrum, the “Dismissives,” by three to one.

The report goes on to provide additional survey results, including whether people have perceived that they have been harmed by global warming and if they think that global warming made extreme weather events worse.

Many Americans think global warming made several extreme weather and related events worse in 2019Source: Climate Change in the American Mind, November 2019, Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

A January 2020 survey report, Politics & Global Warming, shows that more than four in ten registered voters (45%) say a candidate’s position on global warming will be very important when they decide who they will vote for in the 2020 presidential election. While global warming is in the top 10 concerns for Democrats, this is not the case for Republicans.

Additional survey results indicate that majorities of registered voters support polices to reduce carbon pollution, such as a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax or a Fee and Dividend initiative. Also large majorities of registered voters support providing tax rebates for energy-efficient vehicle or solar panel purchases and funding more research into renewable energy sources.

Finally, more than half of registered voters would support a presidential declaration of a climate national emergency. These results include a majority of Democrats (85%) and Independents (57%) and about one-third of Republicans (35%).

Six in Ten Voters Would Support a President Declaring a National Emergency to Act on Global WarmingSource: Politics & Global Warming, November 2019. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Holly and snow

Progress on Governor Northam’s Climate Related Executive Orders

By Tracy Garland, Director, Social Media and Events, Resilient Virginia

Activity at the state level to mitigate the effects of climate change is heating up. At the November 2019 Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s Conference, updates on the state’s progress was conveyed by the Governor’s resiliency team.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann PhillipsIn 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 24, “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.” Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, reported that the Governor’s office has been focused on implementing that order by setting statewide standards to reduce the vulnerability of state owned buildings; developing a coastal resilience master plan; and focusing on communication, coordination, and collaboration across state, federal, and local stakeholders. She announced that phase one of the master plan is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020 and noted that four key priorities emerged in the planning process:

  • the use of natural and nature-based features as a first line of defense;
  • collaborative efforts across regions, localities and communities;
  • environmental equity;
  • and planning across federal agencies.

Rear Admiral Phillips explained that many of the coastal resilience issues being addressed now are statewide issues as well and identified the need for a statewide resilience plan, statewide predictive rainfall data, statewide predictive floodplain data, a statewide riverine and coastal gauge system, and consistent and dedicated funding to help localities address these issues. Finally, she identified four key elements that are common to states making progress in resiliency planning:

  • state funding and prioritization;
  • strong philanthropic support to fill in the gaps;
  • business community collaboration and sponsorship; and
  • a strong, centralized, state funded, and collaborative process that is authorized from the top down.

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. StricklerAdditional comments by Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler further detailed a number of other critical steps directed by Executive Order 24 that have now been completed. These include developing a unified sea level rise standard projection and free board standard for state-owned buildings, and a review of Virginia’s compliance with flood protection and dam safety laws.

As a result of recommendations from that process, Governor Northam has signed Executive Order 45, creating the Virginia Flood Risk Management Standard. The standard is the first of its kind in the country and will ensure that state building projects are cited more thoughtfully and designed to handle current and projected future flooding events. In addition to the standard for new buildings, EO 45 requires the creation of a cabinet level working group to develop similar standards for other state-supported developments like transportation infrastructure. The standards also ensure that Virginia is in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program and eligible for federal flood insurance and hazard mitigation grants. He announced that Virginia now has the strongest flooding elevation standard in the country, which will protect both assets and taxpayers by reducing damage from sea level rise, storm surge, and more intense precipitation events.

You can review these comments and slides from the complete agenda of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s 2019 Conference: The Three Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It AllClick here for links to the videos and slideshow presentations.

Holly and snow

State Legislature Takes on Clean Energy and Climate Resiliency

This year many Virginia General Assembly members are taking up the challenge of moving rapidly away from fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additional bills address guidelines for state and local governments to be aware of the impacts of climate change, supporting economic transitions to a clean energy economy, supporting farmers and local rural economies, and natural resource protection. All these aspects of resiliency are evident in some of the 100’s of related pieces of legislation moving through General Assembly committees at this time. A sampling of the legislation being considered include:

Virginia Clean Economy Act (HB 1526) — Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Rip Sullivan, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and a broad and diverse coalition of advocacy groups and business voices unveiled the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The VCEA is expected to set a goal of a 100% carbon-free electricity supply by 2050 for the Commonwealth (through all of the state’s electric utilities). This 30-year goal would be achieved by jointly increasing Virginia’s energy efficiency levels and cleaning up its energy supply sources. It also ensures joining RGGI, a mandatory RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard), and adds requirements for more effective energy efficiency programs by utilities.

Virginia’s Green New Deal Act (HB 77) — Delegate Sam Rasoul introduced the Green New Deal Act; Fossil Fuel Projects Moratorium, Clean Energy Mandates, Civil Penalties bill (or Virginia’s Green New Deal Act). The VA-GND would require that at least 80% of the electricity sold in calendar years 2028 through 2035 be generated from clean energy resources. In calendar year 2036 and every calendar year thereafter, 100% of the electricity sold is required to be generated from clean energy resources. The measure also requires the DMME to adopt a Climate Action Plan that addresses all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency. Additional aspects include job training especially for workers transitioning from fossil fuel jobs.

State, Regional, and Local Planning; Climate Change (HB672) — Introduced by Delegate Rodney Willett and others. This bill establishes a policy of the Commonwealth to prevent and to minimize actions that contribute to the detrimental effects of anthropogenic climate change in the Commonwealth. The bill requires any state agency to examine any new regulation or policy involving state action or funds in relation to its impact on climate change and its effects thereof prior to adopting or implementing such regulation or policy. The bill requires local and regional planning commissions to consider the impacts from and causes of climate change in adopting a comprehensive plan, regional strategic plan, or zoning ordinance.

Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund (HB1034) — Introduced by Delegate Sam Rasoul. Establishes the Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund and directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish a Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Grant Program for infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable farming. The bill directs the Department to award grants for projects that include the establishment or maintenance of farmers markets; businesses or organizations that manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of food products primarily from local and regional producers; and primarily locally owned processing facilities. The Department is required to adopt project eligibility criteria that favor projects that create infrastructure in proximity to small-scale rural agricultural producers.

Resilience Hubs for Vulnerable Communities (HB 959) — Introduced by Delegate Jeffrey Bourne. This bill directs the Department of Emergency Management to establish a two-year resilience hub pilot program to assist vulnerable communities during emergency situations. The bill defines a “resilience hub” as a simple combination of solar panels and batteries that ensures continuous power to a publicly accessible building when severe weather events or other grid disruptions cause an electrical outage.

Food Production Challenges and Solutions

Food Production Challenges and Solutions

By Tracy Garland, Director Social Media and Events, Resilient Virginia

As the climate changes, so do the challenges facing farmers and ranchers. Agricultural producers have always had to handle weather-related risks, but climate change means that weather patterns have become more variable than ever and the attendant risks have increased. Prolonged and extreme droughts, warmer winters and longer growing seasons are causing increasing pest populations and more frequent crop failures. The challenges are further exacerbated in areas where competition for water is growing. Agricultural producers are now forced to adapt to a changing climate or potentially lose their businesses and livelihoods. The challenges are many and varied as are the solutions.

Fortunately, some of the best strategies for addressing climate change have been under development and testing, both formally and informally, by sustainable agriculture practitioners for decades. Key practices include a focus on healthy soils to help buffer against variability in precipitation; diversifying production systems to build soil health; pursuing diversified, high-value marketing to spread out risk; and adopting ecological design of systems to better adapt to the local climate and landscape.

21st Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference

The topic of climate resilience was a prominent part the agenda at the 27th Annual Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) Conference, held in January 2020 in Roanoke. The event took a deep dive into resiliency in agriculture, with workshops ranging from ecologically based weed management to soil fertility. Brent Wills, President of the Board of Directors of VABF, commented that “climate resiliency is a growing concern in Virginia and will be a focus for the organization into the foreseeable future.”

For more information about climate resiliency in agriculture, here are several resources:

Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches (US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) This bulletin outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture throughout the United States, and ways to make farms more resilient.

Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast. (USDAClimate Hubs) This technical bulletin contains information and resources designed to help agricultural producers, service providers, and educators in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States integrate climate change considerations and action-oriented decisions into existing farm and conservation plans.

Holly and snow

Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Winter.

February 10: Webinar — Communicating the Climate Crisis. 3:00 PM. Information and registration available here.

February 28: 6th Annual Clean Energy Extravaganza. Co-sponsored by Leaders in Energy and Association of Energy Engineers-National Capital Chapter. University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Click here for more information.

March 5: Resilient Building Design. Jointly hosted by Resilient Virginia and USGBC-Virginia. Speakers, Steve Sunderman, Terrazia, and Alysson Blackwelder, USGBC. Roanoke, VA.

April 18: Arlington Home Show. Sponsored by Arlington County and Resilient Virginia. Stay tuned for information of our “Flood-Ready” workshop at this event. Arlington, VA.

April 22: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Connect with the Virginia Earth Day events or add your own event at www.earthday.org You can contact the Virginia Campaign Manager, Terra Pascarosa, at pascarosa@earthday.org

Holly and snow

Membership

It’s Our Future — Sign Up today!

Support Resilient Virginia’s Goals

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities and help them build resiliency to ensure continued prosperity, national security, and climate change adaptation.

Thanks for your support!

Annual Sponsor

Clark Nexsen

Members

Robert Baldwin

Jori Erdman

Josh Foster

Sena Magill

Neda Nazemi

Sobis Inc.

Thomas Jefferson PDC

Vestal Tutterow

With your support we can expand our resiliency information hub, carry out workshops and conferences, and offer communities tools they need to address climate change.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Resilient Virginia News: October 2019

What’s New

Environment, Energy, Equity, Economics and More — Plenary Videos from 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference Now Available!

By Tracy Garland, Events and Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

We are pleased to let you know that the Plenary Presentations from the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, held at the UVA Darden School of Business on July 17–18, are now available.

Plenary Session 1: Setting the Stage — Addressing Challenges and Finding Solutions


Guest Speakers:

Joshua Saks, the Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for Virginia, gave an overview of resiliency challenges facing the Commonwealth and actions being taken at the state level. He explained that initiatives like the Resilient Virginia Conference, the creation of his Deputy Secretary position, and the Governor’s appointment of a new Special Assistant for Coastal Adaptation and Flooding Resilience will help in moving the Commonwealth forward. He also highlighted Governor Northam’s Executive Order 24: Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.

Karen McGlathery, Ph.D., Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) and Professor at UVA’s Department of Environmental Sciences, gave an overview of ERI’s work in resiliency, including supporting interdisciplinary research team projects, building partnerships that translate research to action, and training the next generation of leaders. She then detailed their work in three focus areas: climate resilience, water and energy futures, and environment and health.

Brad Townsend, Senior Solutions Fellow and Innovation Director for the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions outlined their organization’s Climate Innovation 2050 project, which works with more than two dozen large companies to examine potential pathways toward decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Principal outputs have included a policy brief of bipartisan solutions for the federal level; a report of three alternative scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and a comprehensive strategy of high-priority policies and business actions to be released in late 2019.

Jane English, Program Manager of Environmental and Climate Justice at the NAACP, described the program’s three key objectives: reduction of harmful emissions; advancing clean and efficient energy, and strengthening community resilience and climate adaptation. The organization is working throughout the NAACP’s 2,200 branches in the US to create community Environment and Climate Justice Committees. She described how different populations are impacted differently by climate change, and how NAACP is working to help groups like people of color, the elderly, low income and LGBTQ, bring their voices to the decision-making tables, and to provide information to communities on how to survive the impacts of climate change.

And you can view these additional videos:

Plenary Session 2: Rural and Urban Resiliency — A Dialogue on Interdependence


Speakers:

Jonah Fogel, Program Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute, UVA (Moderator)
Hamilton Lombard, Research Specialist at UVAs Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
Amy Thompson, AICP, LEED AP ND, Senior Planner, Perkins + Will
Jon Penndorf, FAIA, Sustainability Leader, Perkins + Will
Anthony Flaccavento, Founder and President of Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies (SCALE)

Plenary Session 3: Moving Virginia Forward — Policy and Program


Speakers:

Jewel Bronaugh, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs
Chris Wiegard, Virginia Co-Coordinator, Citizens Climate Lobby
Karen Campblin, Co-Chair, Virginia’s Green New Deal
Karla Loeb, Chief Policy and Development Officer, Sigora Solar

Plenary Session 4: Resilience Progress — Virginia and the Region


Speakers:

Steve Walz, Environmental Program Director, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Susan Elliott, Climate Protection Program Manager, City of Charlottesville
Andrea Trimble, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Director, UVA’s Office of Sustainability
Narissa Turner, Climate Program Coordinator, Albemarle County
Ben McFarlane, AICP, CFM, Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Fall Spacer

Presentations available from the 2019 Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Highlights from the VA Clean Energy Summit

The Virginia Clean Energy Summit, held September 17 in Richmond, was a definitive success, not only by being the first clean energy conference in the state, but also because it brought together over 400 attendees. The conference highlighted current opportunities and directions needed to accelerate the use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, electric vehicles, and other clean energy solutions in the Commonwealth.

The conference was co-hosted by MDV-SEIA, Resilient Virginia, Virginia AEE, VAEEC, and VA-REA, with supporting roles from the JMU’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy, the VA DMME, and Viridiant.

Notably, the keynote address by Governor Ralph Northam featured the announcement of Executive Order 43, which supports his goals of reducing environmental impact, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and boosting the clean energy economy in Virginia.

From the press release: The Executive Order lays out Virginia’s objectives for statewide energy production, which includes the goal that by 2030, 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system will be powered by renewable energy resources and by 2050, 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity will be produced from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. The path forward includes ensuring at least 3,000 megawatts of solar and onshore wind are under development by 2022, and that up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind are fully developed on an accelerated timeline by 2026.

Breakout session speakers’ presentations on a range of timely topics are available on the conference website.

The conference also resulted in an Energy News Network article featuring Annette Osso, Resilient Virginia Managing Director, who shared comments on the conference’s positive results, along with the need for accelerated clean energy initiatives and resiliency planning throughout the state. Read the interview by journalist Elizabeth McGowan here.

Fall Spacer

Resilience Funding Announcement

The National League of Cities 2020 Leadership in Community Resilience program is now accepting applications from cities seeking additional funding for resilience-related projects. Each city selected for the 2020 cohort will receive $10,000 in financial support, advisory services and a site visit from NLC staff, as well as an invitation to NLC’s annual resilience summit for the city’s mayor and a staff member. Apply hereThe deadline for applications is December 20, 2019.

Fall Spacer

Welcome to Resilient Virginia’s 2019–2020 Board of Directors

NEW OFFICERS

Co-Chairmen
Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell
Deputy Director, Virginia Tobacco Commission

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI
President, Terrazia PC

Vice Chair
Ellen Graap Loth
Principal, Cardno, Inc.

Secretary
Jennie DeVeaux
Senior Executive Consultant for Resilience at Witt O’Brien’s

Treasurer
Vestal Tutterow, PE, CEM
Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

DIRECTORS

William Bohn, Chief Operating Officer, SOBIS, Inc.
Lisa Jeffrey, PE, Senior Associate, Hazen
Rebecca Joyce, Community Program Manager, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission
Erin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP, Director, Office of Emergency ManagementCity of Virginia Beach

And “Thank You” to Departing Board Members
Nell Boyle, LEED AP, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Roanoke
Jerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI, Principal, GSPH LLC
Jane Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM, Associate Vice President, Dewberry

Find more information about Resilient Virginia Board Members here.

Fall Spacer

Reflections on Sea Level Rise and Climate-Induced Migration

Editor’s Note: Resilient Virginia invites Annual Sponsors to write guest articles for the newsletter and website. We thank Clark Nexsen, a Community Leader Annual Sponsor, for giving permission to reprint an article by Graduate Fellow, Zane Havens.

Design Thinking: How My Resiliency Fellowship Changed My Definition of a Resilient Future

by Zane Havens

When I began my one year resiliency fellowship, I expected to explore how innovative technologies could support a resilient future in coastal zones. Perhaps unavoidably, I approached my work initially with certain preconceived notions about how static structures, infrastructure, and other design methodologies could and would impact what our communities look like in 200 years.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant. As part of Zane’s research, he visited communities impacted by coastal flooding, including this Princeville, NC church that was destroyed by hurricane flooding. From left to right: Tom Duckwall, Buoyant Foundation Project; Janice Bulluck, Radicue Primitive Baptist Association; Zane Havens; and Deacon William Taylor, Radicue Primitive Baptist Association.

Today, a year later, my resiliency journey has taken me to a very different place with different views on what a resilient future looks like. My understanding of how institutional resiliency — meaning the ability of our governing institutions to adapt to disturbance through policy and changes in management practices — impacts a sustainable coastal future has evolved significantly. That’s not to say I don’t have some innovative or potentially even radical ideas about resilient design in the coastal setting — I certainly do — but I have a new awareness of and appreciation for the fact that an inevitable change is coming for coastal communities.

The simple and painful reality is that one day in the future, a migration of the general population from current coastal areas to less flood-prone, inland environments will be forced upon us. It can be hard to effectively visualize what the future looks like when it won’t impact you personally — and perhaps won’t impact your children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren. However, while we may not know precisely how drastic sea level rise will be and when, the recurrent and increasingly frequent nature of coastal flooding is our first clue that in 100, 150, or 200 years, our coastal communities will look very different because we will have no choice but to live a different way.

The question I’m most compelled by is how to create a “pull” factor that can incentivize migration from high-risk coastal areas to safer, more sustainable communities, and achieving this in a way that utilizes the gradual development of opportunity in elevated locations, rather than sudden coastal catastrophe, as the driver for migration.

We need a dual approach — investing wisely in making the infrastructure we’ll need (ports, critical and emergency services, etc.) more resilient — while also communicating that protecting and preserving will not permanently stave off this change. We need a new way of living. My future white paper will explore this concept in greater detail, but for now I pose the central question outward — how do we form a pull driver compelling enough to draw our coastal population to safer, more resilient ground?

(This is an excerpt from the longer article which can be read here.)

Zane HavensZane Havens, Resiliency Graduate, has dedicated the last year to researching coastal resiliency through a fellowship sponsored by the Virginia Sea Grant and host organization Clark Nexsen. He holds a Bachelor’s in Earth Science from Albion College and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.


Clark Nexsen regularly collaborates with the Virginia Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding, the ODU Center for Coastal Resilience (CCRFR), the Virginia Sea Grant and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s (HRPDC) Coastal Resilience Subcommittee to analyze coastal flooding in Hampton Roads and advise on legislation, policy, and practice toward the planning and design of resilient infrastructure. Currently, Clark Nexsen is evaluating proposed building requirements for finished floor elevations for all state owned buildings to account for sea level rise. This was a result of Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Order #24, “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards,” which is scheduled to be released in the next few months.

Fall Spacer

Report from Charlottesville: A Guest Article Featuring a Regional Climate Coalition

By Marcia Geyer, Vice-Chairperson, Cville100

Charlottesville breeds a seemingly endless variety of groups organized around any subject, including resistance to climate change. At the November 2017 meeting of 350 Central Virginia, we accepted Joanie Freeman’s challenge to get our movement out of silos, communicating and collaborating. Out of the outreach was born the Cville100 climate coalition (100 for a fossil free mission), originally with seven member organizations, now with 15, and growing rapidly again as the climate crisis becomes a hot topic.

Fairly soon after formally organizing, a second priority was added to communication and collaboration: becoming a conduit for our members to work with and support the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle on passing each of their commitments to GHG reduction goals that meet the minimums required to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

More recently, a third priority has emerged, that our local coalition is only at the beginning of fulfilling: to greatly expand the number of climate activists so that we become a critical mass that reaches a tipping point of leverage for making the many, sometimes difficult changes to avoid further escalating the climate crisis. Personally, as a movement person, I’ve been here before — as a college student and campus leader during the civil rights movement of the ’60s. To me it feels very like 1962, about 18 months before the August 1963 March on Washington that brought together a wide spectrum of organizations to become a powerful, unified movement. That’s where we are going and need to go. Together.


One outreach tool several of us created for Cville100 coalition members, and now share with you to use with relatively uninformed audiences, is an 18 minute video about the known health effects of climate change, focused as closely as data was available on Charlottesville. We invite you to view and share the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rh8oFecY6Y.

Like Cville 100 Facebook Page at facebook.com/cville100coalition/

Fall Spacer

Volunteer Position Open!

CALENDAR EVENT VOLUNTEER” — Your important job is to keep the Resilient Virginia calendar up-to-date with the latest listings of Virginia and national resiliency events, and to alert people to the valuable webinars available that range from resilient building design to emergency management to carbon neutral cities to regenerative agriculture. Help us spread the word on these important resiliency issues and events. Contact Annette Osso (osso@resilientvirginia.org) if you would like to become the next “Calendar Event Volunteer.”


Fall Spacer

Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Fall.

November 14, 2019: VA Energy Efficiency Council Fall Forum. Register here.

November 15, 2019: The Three Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All, William and Mary Virginia Coastal Policy Center 2019 Conference. Find out more and register here.

November 16, 2019: Fourth Annual Solar Congress, Solar United Neighbors. Find out more and register here.

Fall Spacer

Membership

Turn Over a New Leaf — Join or renew today!

Support Resilient Virginia’s Goals

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities and help them build resiliency to ensure continued prosperity, national security, and climate change adaptation.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Reflections on Sea Level Rise and Climate-Induced Migration

Editor’s Note: Resilient Virginia invites Annual Sponsors to write guest articles for the newsletter and website. We thank Clark Nexsen, a Community Leader Annual Sponsor, for giving permission to reprint an article by Graduate Fellow, Zane Havens.

Design Thinking: How My Resiliency Fellowship Changed My Definition of a Resilient Future

by Zane Havens

When I began my one year resiliency fellowship, I expected to explore how innovative technologies could support a resilient future in coastal zones. Perhaps unavoidably, I approached my work initially with certain preconceived notions about how static structures, infrastructure, and other design methodologies could and would impact what our communities look like in 200 years.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant.

Read more

Longtime Environmental Advocate Reflects on Virginia’s Path to 100% Clean Energy

Annette Osso, now the managing director of Resilient Virginia, first delved into energy projects in the 1970s.

Reprinted with permission from Energy News Network

RICHMOND, Va. — Annette Osso had every intention of becoming an anthropologist after earning master’s and undergraduate degrees in the subject at George Washington University in the nation’s capital.

But the power of the very first Earth Day proved to be more of a lure. Instead of digging into the intricacies of human culture, she opted to shape the future of clean energy in Virginia — and beyond — after that environmental awakening on April 22, 1970.

Read more

Resilient Virginia News: August 2019

What’s New

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Tuesday, September 17th | Richmond Convention Center | Richmond, Virginia

You’re invited to attend the first Virginia Clean Energy Summit. The conference goal is to highlight opportunities and encourage collaboration that accelerate the use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, EVs, and other clean energy solutions in the state. Conference attendees will include representatives from businesses, state and local governments, academia, and NGOs.

Who You Will Hear

  • Morning Keynote: Governor Ralph Northam
  • Lunch Keynote: Claire Broido Johnson, SunEdison Co-Founder
  • Breakout Session Speakers from Solar, Wind, and Energy Efficiency Businesses, State and Local Governments, Universities, and Associations

Topics Will Include

  • Transforming the energy grid;
  • Local government, residential, and business market segment solutions;
  • Finance options, including C-PACE and private investment;
  • Local energy security with microgrids and innovative technology;
  • Utility energy efficiency programs;
  • Electricity rate design;
  • Transportation and mobility; and
  • Solar, wind, batteries, electric vehicles, and smart building technology.

Conference organizers have secured speakers from across the state and the nation to discuss Virginia’s clean energy development — see the lineup here and register to attend.

Register Now

Co-hosted by MDV-SEIA, Resilient Virginia, Virginia AEE, VAEEC, and VA-REA, with supporting roles from JMU’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy, the VA DMME, and Viridiant.

spacer

Resilient Virginia Conference — Sessions Reflect Rural/Urban Theme

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

The 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, held at the UVA Darden School of Business, brought together over 300 motivated participants from state and local governments, from universities and community organizations, and from the business sector. Speakers and attendees shared their progress in planning and implementing resiliency activities around the state and at the regional and national levels.

Our theme this year — Connecting Rural and Urban Communities for a Resilient Future — was reflected throughout the conference.

Annette Osso, Managing Director of Resilient Virginia, provided introductory remarks on the rural-urban interdependency dynamic that was summarized in this graphic.

Urban-Rural Interdependence

The theme also set the stage for an innovative exchange of ideas in the early afternoon Plenary Session with Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE; Perkins + Will representatives, Amy Thompson and Jon Penndorf; and Hamilton Lombard from UVA’s Cooper Weldon Center, led by Jonah Fogel, from the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute.

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference Plenary

One of the points made by the Plenary speakers was the fact that while urban and rural areas may not be seen as “equal,” they both have vital, if sometimes not fully recognized interdependencies. These include contributions to the economy, access to local foods, improving health, and protection of natural resources.

Anthony Flaccavento commented on the “mutuality” factor, for example, that rural communities can benefit from the experience of cities and urban areas in adopting smart growth planning policies. The Perkins + Will speakers mentioned the importance of areas surrounding urban centers to help address increasing stormwater and flooding occurances.

Speakers also commented on the “food desert” problems in both rural and urban areas, with the need and opportunity for a win-win dynamic of supporting the livelihoods of local farmers while bringing fresher, more nutritious foods to neighborhoods.

View Anthony Flaccavento’s and the Perkins+Will presentations on the conference webpage.

In addition, the Conference Breakout Sessions carried forth the Rural/Urban theme by bringing together examples of resiliency initiatives from across the state and region. These ranged from the resiliency role of ecosystems and agriculture to the progress being made in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia on climate adaptation plans for infrastructure.

We have heard much positive feedback about the event, including these comments:

“Great turnout and a lot of fun with smart people ready to take action!”
—Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, USGBC

“Inspiring to see so many people focused on the same resiliency challenges.”

“Great turnout, great speakers, great conference!”
— Chris McDonald, Director of Government Relations, Virginia Association of Counties

Look for not only the session PowerPoint presentations, but also the Plenary Session videos to be posted on our website in the near future.


spacer

Land and Natural Resource Use Loom Large for Climate Impact: Two Articles Present Global and Regional Perspectives

By Tracy Garland, Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

Land Use and Climate Impact

Study Highlights Land Use as Climate Concern and Part of Solution

A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the importance of land as both a potential source of greenhouse gas emissions and as a climate change solution. IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) concluded that keeping global warming well below 2°C can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, including land use and agriculture.

The IPCC reported that about 23% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come from changes to landscapes for agriculture, forestry, and other uses. On the other hand, land sequesters almost a third of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. However, in order to scale back rising temperatures, we need to change the way we produce food and manage land.

The report highlights several areas of concern:

  • Current land use management techniques are exacerbating climate change.
  • Land is a critical carbon sink, removing more emissions than they generate.
  • Land is being negatively impacted by climate change.
  • Several promising “land-centric” proposals exist to reduce emissions and/or remove carbon while providing other significant benefits.
  • All proposed solutions require careful study of risks and trade-offs.

Of particular concern when considering proposed land-based climate solutions are their potential impacts on other land needs, such as food and water security. In addition, if climate change solutions are not more actively pursued in the energy and transport sectors, land-based solutions will become even more necessary.

The primary conclusion of the report is that, when done correctly, land-based solutions can reduce emissions while providing other environmental and social benefits. However, when done poorly, land-based solutions can exacerbate food security and environmental problems. Careful risk and trade-off analysis are necessary to successfully perform this delicate balancing act.

Sources:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, August 2019, IPCC.

7 Things to Know About the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land. August 8, 2019, Kelly Levin and Sarah Parsons, World Resources Institute.

Model Shows Effects of Climate Change in Appalachian Regions

Appalachian RegionsThe Appalachian Mountains are known for their high peaks and deep valleys, but what is often underappreciated is the role that they play in supplying water to the Appalachian region and beyond. A new study highlights how climate change could play a role in the ability of the mountains to continue to provide water security both within and beyond the region’s borders.

Important population centers in the eastern and midwestern United States rely on the Appalachian mountain region for water supply. The high Appalachian mountain ridges are able to hold moisture from the atmosphere, essentially acting as a reservoir, before sending that water down rivers and streams and through aquifers to supply water to millions of people. Therefore, changes to the climate of the Appalachian region can have far-reaching impacts on water supply in a large area of the southeastern U.S.

Researchers at West Virginia University’s Mountain Hydrology Laboratory recently released their findings on the potential impact of climate change on water security in the seven-state Appalachian region. They found that the Appalachian region will be getting hotter, drier, and yet wetter by 2050 if nothing is done to curb climate change.

Hotter: as the global temperature rises, Appalachia could become five to ten degrees hotter by 2050.
Drier: As the atmosphere warms, water that is held in vegetation, soils, and water bodies evaporates, causing dryer conditions. Crops and the animals and humans that rely upon those crops will be negatively impacted.
Wetter: The rapid evaporation from the vegetation, soils and waterbodies then saturates the atmosphere, causing pouring rains. With the heavy rain comes landslides and floods.

Thus, climate change disrupts the ancient process of water being stored and released, creating times when there will be too much, then too little water. Therefore, everyone including governments, businesses, hospitals, and education institutions will all need plan for, and adapt to, these feast or famine scenarios.

The researchers also found that if we were able to stabilize climate change now, then by 2050, the climate system could return to normal conditions. However, if we continue high emissions “business as usual,” then precipitation in the region will continue to increase throughout the 21st century. The study also points out the importance of establishing policies to combat climate change at all levels, from local to global.

Sources:
Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts. August 11, 2019, Robbie Harris, WVTF.

Full report: Seasonal Changes in Water and Energy Balances over the Appalachian Region and Beyond throughout the Twenty-First Century. Authors, Rodrigo Fernandez and Nicolas Zegre. West Virginia University. Published May 9, 2019, American Meteorological Society Journal Online.


spacer

Local Education on Electric Vehicles

Electrify Your Ride VAA new statewide campaign with the goal of building interest and adoption of electric vehicles is starting this Fall. Electrify Your Ride VA will hold local events around the state (see the Resilient Calendar listings) that will feature local EV owners and their cars, encourage hands-on learning with fellow community members, and point people toward more information such as an easy-to-use website that includes dealers who have agreed to provide EVs at discounted rates.

The project is a collaboration between nonprofits, Generation 180, Virginia Clean Cities, and the Green Energy Consumer Alliance. Since over 45% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in Virginia come from the transportation sector, this campaign will work to benefit the health of individuals and the environment by encouraging EV purchases. Find out more at generation180.org/electrify-your-ride.

If you would like additional information about the role of transportation in mitigating carbon emissions, the role the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in regional transportation initiatives, and the electrification of the automobile industry, explore the presentations by Alleyn Harned, Chris Bast, and Rebecca Duff from the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference. See the link below.

Transportation’s Role in Mitigation — Breakout Session

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, July 17, 2019

SPEAKERS

Alleyn Harned, Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities
Decarbonizing Transportation, the Big Picture

Chris Bast, Chief Deputy, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
The VW Settlement and Regional Electrification

Rebecca Duff, Senior Research Associate, Battan Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UVA
Path to 2060: Electrification of the Auto Industry


spacer

Volunteer Thank You!

Thank you Barbara!Resilient Virginia would like to send out a well-earned “Thank You” to Barbara Swart — community activist and concerned environmentalist — who has been our “Calendar Event Volunteer” for the last four years!

AND… We would like to announce that a volunteer position is open. Please contact Annette Osso (osso@resilientvirginia.org) if you would like to become the next “Calendar Event Volunteer.”

spacer

Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Fall.

September 14, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 9AM–1PM, Dorey Park Farmers Market, Richmond, VA.

September 15, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 10AM–2PM, Sprint Pavilion, Charlottesville, VA.

September 17, 2019: Virginia Clean Energy Summit. Hosted by VA-Renewable Energy Alliance with Resilient Virginia and others as partners. See our special discount offer to Members (below) and register today at vacleanenergysummit.org.

September 21, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD. Roanoke, VA.

September 22, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD, Fairfax, VA.

Check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.


spacer

Membership

Special Offer — Limited Time! Now through September 10.
We are offering you a Member-Only discount to attend the

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Join or renew today!

We’ll send you the Member Discount Code.
Register for the Clean Energy Summit using the Discount Code and save $50 on your registration.

Resilient Virginia is on a mission to

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities to build resiliency in the face of challenges to community prosperity, national security, and changing climate.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

The inaugural Virginia Clean Energy Summit is set for Tuesday, September 17 at the Richmond Convention Center. Clean energy technologies, policies, and business practices that are transforming Virginia’s energy landscape — today — will be demonstrated and discussed.

The goal of the Summit is to highlight opportunities and encourage collaboration that speeds our use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, EVs, and other clean energy solutions. Conference attendees will include representatives from businesses, state and local governments, academia, and NGOs.

Find Out More     View Press Release

Just Announced: Keynote remarks by the Honorable Ralph S. Northam, Governor of Virginia.

The Summit is a unique collaboration of five leading organizations:

  • Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA)
  • Resilient Virginia​
  • Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE)
  • Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC)
  • Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance (VA-REA)

Additionally:
James Madison University’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy (OASE), Viridiant, and the Energy Division of Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) in supporting roles.

For more information click here to visit the event website.

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

Thanks for Attending the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

The 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

Connecting Rural and Urban Communities for a Resilient Future

July 18–19, 2019  |  Charlottesville, Virginia

AGENDA & SPEAKERS     PARTNERS     EVENT PHOTOS     SPONSORS/EXHIBITORS     CONTACT

Read about our third statewide conference on resiliency!

Resilient Virginia held its 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference on July 18–19 at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Event presentations, videos of four plenary sessions, and a photo gallery are now available in the Agenda section below.
Read more

Resilient Virginia Is Involved With These Spring Events

Building Sustainability Conference

2019 Building Sustainability ConferenceApril 25, 2019
Hosted by Viridiant
Location: The Place at Innsbrook
4036 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA

After nine successful years, Viridiant’s Sustainable Leadership Awards has expanded into the Building Sustainability Conference and Awards highlighting efforts to build sustainability in our communities and infrastructure with focus on health, resilience, and innovation.

This event aims to educate and recognize innovative solutions of today to meet the needs of the evolving building industry of tomorrow.

The conference will feature sessions and speakers, bringing together cross-discipline industry experts to share knowledge, inspire discussion, and drive change in the protection of our living environments, both inside and out.

Awards will be presented to recognize the region’s leaders in high-performance construction with a focus on projects, programs and initiatives that represent the future of sustainable building.

Find out more and register at at viridiant.org/event/2019-building-sustainability-conf/.

Arlington Home Show and Resiliency Workshop

Arlington Home Show and Resiliency WorkshopApril 27, 2019
Hosted by Arlington County Housing Division and Resilient Virginia
Free to the community
Location: Kenmore Middle School
200 S. Carlin Springs Rd, Arlington, VA

In 2019 the Arlington Home Show & Garden Expo celebrates its 13th annual edition!

Last year Arlington’s prime home improvement and remodeling event gathered more than 75 home builders, contractors and specialist vendors, architects, inspectors, landscape designers, realtors, master gardeners, banks, nonprofit organizations and Arlington County housing, zoning and inspection representatives.

In addition, a rich and diverse schedule of FREE classes completed the experience of one-stop shopping and information for our more than 1200 visitors. The 2019 edition has even more in store!

The Home Show is a convenient way to learn about remodeling and improving your home (including popular kitchen and bath remodeling), finishing or waterproofing basements, replacing windows, doors, flooring, roofing and siding, adding security systems and more from a wide variety of top-rated companies.

You will take away information on green products and technologies, smart and universal design, convenient upgrades to home decoration, and outdoor living improvements.

Find out more at arlingtonhomeshow.org.

Resilient Virginia News: March 2019

What’s New

Climate Is Making News (Still); Americans Weigh In

NOAA and NASA Reports

“2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt.

NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) issued independent analyses that were released in February 2019. They both reported that the earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880. The past five years are, taken together, the warmest years in the modern record.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees F (1 degree C), due, in large part, to increased emissions into the atmosphere from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities.

Schmidt continues, “The impacts of long term global warming are already being felt — in coastal flooding, heat waves, intense precipitation, and ecosystem change.”

Photo Credit: Robert Miller/The Washington Post

Credit: Robert Miller/The Washington Post

Indeed, 2018 saw the wettest year ever recorded in the mid-Atlantic region. Warming trends are strongest in the Arctic region, with accompanying sea ice loss. And sea level rise continued to accelerate due to mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Increasing temperatures are also tied to longer fire seasons and some extreme weather events.

Read the NASA report here and the NOAA Global Report here.

Climate Change in the American Mind

Americans Weigh In

The latest national survey by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication indicates that a record high percentage (72%) of Americans now say that global warming is personally important — up 9 percentage points from last year. Published in December 2018, the survey, Climate Change in the American Mind, points out that 65% of Americans think global warming is affecting weather in the United States, and 32% think weather is being affected “a lot.” 62% of Americans understand that global warming is mostly human-caused, whereas a record low 23% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment.

A second report, Politics & Global Warming, was released in early February. This shows that, for the first time, a majority of registered voters are worried about global warming.

Politics & Global Warming: Voter Views

The survey also reflects that a majority of registered voters support a variety of national policy actions to reduce carbon pollution, decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, and promote clean energy. These include such measures as a “fee and dividend” or “revenue-neutral carbon tax,” which would each require fossil fuel companies to pay a fee or tax with the funds being used to reimburse citizens in particular ways, or a “Clean Power Plan,” which would set strict limits on carbon dioxide emissions by coal-fired power plans. Even the newly publicized “Green New Deal” received positive support (81% of registered voters), according to this survey.

The Yale Program website also contains an interactive map that shows the survey results for Democrats and Republicans, both across the United States, and state-by-state. You can see this map for the state of Virginia, and by Congressional districts here.


forsythia

Distributed Solar Continues to Make Headway

By Tracy Garland, Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

Solar Jobs Surge in Virginia

According to a recent report by the Solar Foundation, America now has over 242,000 solar workers, with nearly 4,000 of those right here in Virginia. The National Solar Jobs Census 2018 announced that solar jobs in Virginia increased 9% between 2017 and 2018, putting Virginia in 20th place for solar jobs by state.

The report notes that job growth in the solar field far outstrips overall job growth in recent history: “In the five-year period between 2013 and 2018, solar employment increased 70% overall, adding 100,000 jobs. By comparison, overall U.S. employment grew only 9.13% during that same period.” Further, the report predicts that, with a backlog of utility-scale projects and new policy incentives in key states, the outlook for solar jobs is expected to improve in 2019.

Resources for more information:
National Solar Jobs Census – The Solar Foundation

2017 Solar Jobs Census map of Virginia is an interactive source of information about jobs by congressional district, county and metropolitan area.

Distributed Clean Energy Expansion

We are highlighting several community-based and utility solar programs that are helping residential consumers with the opportunity to access renewable energy choices. These programs represent some of the growing initiatives in the state that give consumers the chance to lower their energy bills and their carbon emissions by going solar.

VASUN Residential Program

Solar United Neighbors in Virginia (VASUN) recently released its 2018 year in review, reporting that nearly 1,000 kW of solar capacity in over 100 homes and businesses were installed through its solar co-ops last year.

Valley Solar Co-op

Dayton, Virginia, Homeowner Arthur McPhee went solar with the Mountain and Valley Solar Co-op. System size: 7.4 kW

VASUN also helped with the creation of the Arlington Solar and EV Charging Co-op. Homeowners and businesses participating in the program have the option of installing solar panels, a level 2 electric vehicle charger, or both. This is the first solar electric vehicle (EV) co-op in Arlington and it helps electric vehicle (EV) owners and even those interested in purchasing EVs by providing information and discounted pricing support.

VASUN helped Kiskiack Golf Club became the first golf course in Virginia to go solar. The 29 kW roof top solar system installation was completed by Convert Solar as part of the Hampton Roads Solar Co-op, a community bulk purchase program supported by Solar United Neighbors of Virginia. The system installed on the golf club’s maintenance building will offset up to 25% of the energy used by the golf course and save more than $3,000 on electric bills each year.

Kiskiack Golf Club

Kiskiack Golf Club (L to R): Solar United Neighbors of Virginia Program Director Aaron Sutch, Kiskiack owner Carl Zangardi, William & Mary’s Henry R. Broaddus, and Chad Wilkins from Convert Solar. System Size: 29 kW.

VASUN also helped educate nearly one thousand community members about solar energy through free public information sessions in 2018 and continues to build a network of people who support solar as the best way to build a resilient and equitable energy system.

Central VA Electric Cooperative

Less than a year ago, The Central Virginia Electric Coop (CVEC) launched its new community solar program, Solar Share. The program allows residential consumers to purchase up to five 50-kilowatt-hour (kWh) “blocks” of solar energy. The subscription rate of $4.50 per block is locked in and not subject to rate increases for 25 years.

CVEC has completed construction on two solar generation farms, which will produce a total of 10 megawatts (MW) of energy, making them the largest solar project for an electric distribution cooperative in the state. CVEC will add 60% of the solar energy to its power supply portfolio for use by all 36,000 members, while the other 40% of the energy output will be offered to its members for subscription through Solar Share. CVEC serves homes and businesses in portions of 14 counties in Central Virginia.

CVEC’s 21,700-panel Palmer solar site.

CVEC’s 21,700-panel Palmer solar site.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

Through its Sunshare Program, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) serves 22 counties in northern Virginia, and allows its members to purchase 50-kilowatt-hour (kWh) blocks of solar energy. While a small portion of all electricity supplied by REC is generated at solar facilities in Virginia and only one modification is allowed within a 12-month period, the price for solar blocks will remain fixed for 3 years and participants may cancel subscriptions at any time without penalty.

The REC’s Net Metering program allows REC members to interconnect renewable generation systems to the electrical distribution system and to generate their own electricity. The meter measures both electricity being used from the grid and excess electricity generated by the user. The sum, or “net,” is the volume of electricity (kWh) to be billed or credited to the monthly bill.


forsythia

Climate Goals Get Going in Central Virginia

The City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia (UVA) have launched a joint climate action initiative — Climate Action Together — with the goal of ramping up greenhouse gas reduction programs in Central Virginia.

The City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the University of Virginia (UVA) Starting in February 2019, they have embarked on a collaborative community outreach effort as each entity begins to update their greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and develop climate action plans (CAPs). The results of these efforts will serve to guide climate action in the Charlottesville area for the next 10–30 years.

These jurisdictions and the university had already initiated a range of GHG emission reduction programs over the past ten-plus years. For example, Charlottesville created its first emissions inventory in 2008 under their Climate Protection Program. They track municipal and community sector emission reductions periodically. For example, their 2012 report showed an 18% overall reduction for municipal facilities, vehicle fleet, and traffic signals and streetlights.

Charlottesville tracks municipal and community sector emission reductions periodically.

Charlottesville signed on to the Global Compact of Mayors initiative in 2017, with the commitment to further reduce GHG emission across municipal and community sectors. The city’s most recent inventory of emissions reductions can be viewed in their 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory report.

Motivated by the newest information on accelerating climate impacts that were revealed in the 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and UVA are working on expanding regional efforts that build on the Local Climate Action Planning Process (LCAPP) — a regional climate initiative by the three organizations completed in 2011.

Each organization will develop their own long-term targets and action plans to fit their unique composition and circumstances, but will work to share ideas and resources, build upon each other’s work, and collaboratively engage with the community. The three organizations are coordinating their outreach efforts across their sustainability offices. Residents, businesses, and area stakeholders are encouraged to get involved and participate in this collaboration.

Some upcoming public events include:

City of Charlottesville

  • February 14–March 17, 2019: Public Comment Period on GHG Reduction Goal
  • April: City Council Meeting Agenda Item (Presenting Staff’s Draft Recommendations for a Reduction Goal and Received Public Input Comments)
  • April–May: Public Comment Period on the Draft Recommendations
  • June: City Council Meeting Agenda Item (Proposing a Reduction Goal for Adoption)

Connect here to learn more about Charlottesville’s past emission reduction goals and their new initiatives.

Albemarle County

  • March 18, 2019: Public Event for Climate Action Planning (supported by City and UVA sustainability staff)
  • April: March–Summer 2019: Climate Action Planning and Goal Setting — Engagement Opportunities with Sector Teams and Workgroups
  • April: Summer 2019: Adopting a Climate Action Plan and GHG Reduction Goal

Connect here to find out more about Albemarle County’s work on setting GHG reduction goals.

University of Virginia

  • Early Spring through Fall 2019: Further Developing UVA’s Climate Action Plans and Commitments

Connect here to find out about the University of Virginia’s current initiatives and plans for the future.

Keep up with specific participation opportunities and find more information about each organization’s efforts by checking in at www.ClimateActionTogether.org.


forsythia

Some Resiliency-Related Legislation Succeeds in 2019 General Assembly

Bills Connected to Energy Efficiency and Renewables

(Source: Powered by Facts — www.poweredbyfacts.com)

Virginia (along with the entire nation) needs to move rapidly toward de-carbonization of energy production to rapidly reduce GHG emissions, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment. A few bills that will help with this goal passed the General Assembly this year, with more extensive efforts needed in subsequent General Assembly sessions.

HB 2293 and SB 1605: Created a stakeholder process to provide important input on the development of utility energy efficiency programs.

HB 2792 and SB 1779: Created a 6-year pilot program for municipal net metering for localities that are customers of utilities.

HB 2621 and SB 1091: Allows localities to require a decommission plan as a condition for approving a solar site plan.

HB 2547 and SB 1769: Makes changes to the net-metering program for customers of electric cooperatives, including raising the net-metering cap to 7% of system peak and permitting customers to install enough renewable energy to meet up to 125% of previous year’s demand.

HB 2192 and SB 1331: Creates school modernization initiatives that encourage energy efficient building standards and net zero design.

Broadband Expansion for Rural Virginia

(Source: Commonwealth Connect. Contact Kyle Rosner, kyle.rosner@governor.virginia.gov)

Rural areas need economic diversification and growth, and a critical factor for success is strongly linked to broadband connectivity. Resilient Virginia is now a partner with Commonwealth Connect.

Broadband Budget: $19 Million in funding for the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) for FY 2020.

HB 2141: Expands the powers allocated to a local service district for broadband and telecommunications services in an unserved area. The legislation specifies that service districts can only contract with nongovernmental broadband service providers.

HB 2691: Establishes a pilot program for Dominion and Appalachian Power to own and lease broadband services to nongovernmental broadband providers in unserved areas of the Commonwealth. The pilot will be capped at $60 million annually per utility for three years and also authorizes the utilities to recover the net costs of the pilot from customers through rate adjustment.

HB 2541 and SB 1618: Extends the expiration of the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance (OTPBA) and the Broadband Advisory Council (BAC) from July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2021, and alters and expands from 14 to 17 the membership of the Council.

forsythia

2018–2019 Board of Directors

We are pleased to highlight our Board Members and to introduce our 2018–2019 Advisory Committee on our website.

Officers

Chairperson
Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell

Deputy Director, Virginia Tobacco Commission

Vice Chair
Ellen Graap Loth

Principal, Cardno, Inc.

Secretary
Jane Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM

Associate Vice President, Dewberry

Treasurer
Vestal Tutterow, PE, CEM

Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Directors

Jerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI
Principal, GSPH LLC

Rebecca Joyce
Community Program Manager, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI
President, Terrazia PC

Erin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP
Director, Office of Emergency Management, City of Virginia Beach

Past Chair

Nell Boyle, LEED AP
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Roanoke

Managing Director

Annette Osso, LEED AP
osso@resilientvirginia.org

forsythia

Resilience Events Calendar

We are anticipating a busy Spring, Summer, and Fall this year! Here are some highlights of events Resilient Virginia will be involved with.

March 26, 2019: RELI — Guidelines for Resilient Buildings. Hosted by USGBC VA and Resilient Virginia. Noon to 1 pm. Interstate Center Conference Room, 2104 W. Laburnum Ave., Richmond, VA.

April 25, 2019: Building Sustainability Conference and Tour. Hosted by Viridiant, with participation by Resilient Virginia. The Place at Innsbrook, 4036 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA.

April 27, 2019: Arlington Home Show and Resiliency Workshop. Arlington County and Resilient Virginia. Free to the community. Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carling Spring Rd, Arlington, VA.

Summer 2019: 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference. Our third statewide conference! Planning is underway. Stay tuned for the announcement of the date and location. Contact Annette Osso, Managing Director at osso@resilientvirginia.org to get involved.

September 17, 2019: Virginia Clean Energy Symposium. Hosted by VA-Renewable Energy Alliance with Resilient Virginia and others as partners. Stay tuned for more information on the agenda and speakers.

Check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.

MembershipMembership — Spring is in the air somewhere!

Make Resilient Virginia membership your Springtime goal!

Thanks to new Annual Sponsor — ClarkNexsen
And new Members
University Member — Environmental Resilience Institute, UVA
Non-Profit member — VA-Renewable Energy Alliance
Abimbola Odumosu
Remy Pangle
Reg Snider
Karen Simester

Resilient Virginia is on a mission to

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities to build resiliency in the face of challenges to community prosperity, national security, and changing climate.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Resilient Virginia 2018-2019 Board of Directors

OFFICERS

Andy Sorrell

Andy Sorrell, Chairman Resilient Virginia Board of Directors

Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell,​ the Chairman of the Resilient Virginia Board of Directors, grew up in the suburbs of Richmond but found his true home in rural Virginia after college. He studied environmental planning and public administration at Virginia Tech and proceeded to work for several rural Virginia local governments as a county planner managing governmental programs and solving problems for the public and local officials. From 2013 until early 2018, Andy managed the Commonwealth’s Office of Farmland Preservation at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where he worked with local govern- ments, farmers, and others to preserve and retain active farm land. In April 2018, Andy started serving as the Deputy Director of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission which provides financial incentives to southern and southwest Virginia localities to encourage business attraction and expansion that brings in new jobs and capital to Virginia’s former tobacco-growing region.

Passionate about rural Virginia, Andy has served on the Executive Board of the Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia since 2008 and on the Board of Directors of Resilient Virginia since 2016 and serving as chairman in 2018. Andy lives with his family (wife and two kids) in Palmyra, Fluvanna County, Virginia where they raise chickens, tend a large garden and attend a one-room country church.

 

Ellen Graap Loth

Ellen Graap Loth, Vice Chair Resilient Virginia Board of Directors

Ellen Graap Loth serves as Vice Chair of Resilient Virginia. Ms. Graap Loth is a Senior Project Manager at Cardno, an environmental engineering and consulting firm with headquarters in Brisbane, Australia. She is based in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Ellen started her career in the environmental industry assisting clients in managing hazardous waste, and has since gained extensive experience providing a wide range of environmental services to commercial, industrial, and government sector clients. In her current role, she manages projects aimed at improving all aspects of environmental management, including regulatory compliance, stewardship, and the analysis and mitigation of environmental impacts.

Ms. Graap Loth is a Certified Professional Environmental Auditor, and she has supported clients in establishing environmental management systems and has trained client staff to perform internal audits. Ellen enjoys traveling and has worked on projects in Belize, Canada, Haiti, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Benin, and most of the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.  Ellen received a BS in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a sustainability-focused executive Master of Natural Resources from Virginia Tech.

 

Jane Sibley Frantz

Jane Sibley Frantz, Secretary, Resilient Virginia Board of Directors

Jane Sibley Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM, a Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Planning Professional, serves as Secretary of Resilient Virginia. Frantz, an Associate Vice President at Dewberry, is a deputy group manager for their Resilience Solutions group and a program manager for Dewberry’s $38 million FEMA Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program (HMTAP) contract. With more than 16 years of experience in emergency management, she is an expert in mitigation planning and has led efforts for more than 20 multi-hazard mitigation plans and 15 disaster resistant university plans. She has instructed dozens of workshops on hazard mitigation planning and FEMA’s benefit-cost analysis program that determines the future benefits of a mitigation project compared to its cost estimates.

Frantz earned her Master of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her bachelor’s degree in public policy from the College of William & Mary. She is a certified floodplain manager, a project management professional, and an American Institute Certified Planner. She is also a member of the US Green Building Council’s RELi Steering Committee.

 

Vestal Tutterow

Vestal Tutterow, Treasurer, Resilient Virginia Board of Directors

Vestal Tutterow, PA, CEM, is Treasurer of Resilient Virginia and manager in the High Tech and Industrial Systems Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has an extensive background in energy management and energy efficiency in both the industrial and commercial sectors.

Based in Vienna, VA, Mr. Tutterow currently manages a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program encouraging increased implementation of combined heat and power systems. He has assisted in the development and implementation of a number of DOE programs and initiatives, such as Motor Challenge, Compressed Air Challenge, Better Plants, and Superior Energy Performance. Vestal’s thirty-five years of experience also includes engineering and management positions with an Army research lab, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy, as well as with energy consulting firms. Areas of expertise include program management, energy analysis, and stakeholder engagement.

Mr. Tutterow has a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science from Duke University, a master’s in Systems Management from the University of Southern California, and a sustainability-focused executive master’s in Natural Resources from Virginia Tech. He is a registered Professional Engineer, a Certified Energy Manager, a Certified Practitioner in Energy Management Systems, and a Certified International Sustainability Consultant.

 

MEMBERS

Jerry EastridgeJerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI, is a Board Member of Resilient Virginia and a Principal at GSPH LLC. He is a Licensed Landscape Architect and Certified BPI Building Energy Analyst. A lifelong Virginian, he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Landscape Architecture from Virginia Tech in 1976.

In the four decades since, he has practiced as a Licensed Landscape Architect, Land Planner and Civil Engineering Designer. Prior to founding GSPH LLC, his roles have included Senior Project Manager, Planning Director, Director of Land Development Engineering; and subsequently Office Director of the DC Metro Regional Office for The RBA Group, Inc. (a multidisciplinary architecture/engineering firm).

Mr. Eastridge has practiced extensively in urban and rural land planning, landscape architecture, civil design and energy management services. He has provided resiliency strategies for land development with emphasis on urban civil systems including multi-modal transportation, utilities, and stormwater management systems. Past clientele include federal civil and military, state and local government and private entities such as real estate investment-driven commercial and residential development companies.

Rebecca JoyceRebecca Joyce, a Board Member for Resilient Virginia, has worked in the human services field for 35 years. For the past 21 years, she has worked at the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission as a disaster mitigation program administrator, disaster preparedness educator, and emergency management/community planner. She has coordinated the regional disaster preparedness and mitigation education program Shenandoah Valley Project Impact for the last 18 years and the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Community Emergency Response Team program since 2003. Ms. Joyce is on the Board for the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association (NHMA) and a community representative for the National Hazard Mitigation Program’s Resilient Neighbors Network.

Steve SundermanSteve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI, is President of Terrazia, PC. and a Resilient Virginia Board Member. Mr Sunderman a licensed architect, LEED Accredited Professional with Building Design + Construction Specialty (LEED AP/BD+C), Building Performance Institute (BPI) Analyst and is a certified pervious concrete technician. He is a 1974 graduate of the University of Oklahoma with Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design degrees. His many years of diversified architectural experience include extensive design, project management, energy conservation and environmental education for a wide variety of stakeholders & building types throughout the United States and the Middle East.

He has promoted alternative energy, environmental conservation and equitable facilities design since the early 1970’s, including educational seminars on sustainability & stormwater management. He is known for creating affordable high-performance facilities that achieve his clients’ financial goals and minimize risk without compromising their community and environmental responsibilities.

Erin SuttonErin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP, a Resilient Virginia Board Member, is Director of the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Virginia Beach. She has over 15 years of experience in emergency planning and preparedness with Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach Department of Public Health and the City of Virginia Beach.

Ms. Sutton has developed leadership, organization, coalition building and communication skills while teaching and training over the last twelve years. She has over 8 years of experience in planning, designing and managing Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) compliant exercises; most recently the City of Virginia Beach Active Shooter Full Scale Exercise March 2013. She has significant experience in data management and statistical analysis and received the Governor’s Award for Workplace Safety and Health in May 2008.

Nell BoyleNell Boyle, LEED AP,  is the Past Chair of Resilient Virginia. As the Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Roanoke, Nell Boyle is responsible for the energy performance data collection and analysis for all the city’s facilities, as well community outreach regarding sustainability and green practices. Ms. Boyle began her career in green building and sustainability 10 year ago as the Executive Director of the green building non-profit C2C Home. After the completion of the C2C Home project she was hired by Breakell Inc., a local contractor, as the Director of Sustainable Practices which included corporate sustainability and she managed all LEED documentation and training. Nell has served on numerous non-profits boards and committees, particularly the U.S Green Building Council.

 

Annette OssoAnnette Osso, LEED AP, is a resiliency and sustainability professional with an extensive background in working across multiple sectors to effect change. She currently serves as the Managing Director of Resilient Virginia, which has the mission of of accelerating resiliency planning in Virginia communities through education and technical assistance. Resilient Virginia is an evolution of Virginia Sustainable Building Network (VSBN). As President of VSBN for 18 years, Annette Osso built an effective program to educate professionals, citizens, and communities about green building and sustainability throughout Virginia. She also worked with public and private partners to organize the Virginia Sustainable Future Conference series, bring the EarthCraft Virginia program into the state, and marshall the adoption of commercial building sustainability guidelines. Before VSBN, Annette Osso spearheaded seminal Green Building efforts, including the development of a joint US DOE, US EPA, and USGBC publication, the Sustainable Building Technical Manual, and the adoption of environmental, energy, and sustainability programs at the federal, state and local levels.

Resilient Virginia News: December 2018

What’s New

happy holidays

Thank You 2018 Members and Annual Sponsors!

 

Platinum Sponsor
logo-marionenterprises

 

Lifeboat Sponsors

Hazen        logo-leaders-in-energy

 

Village Sponsor
2RW Energy By Design

 

Corporate Member — 2018
logo_Dewberry_largeIndividual Members — View our Individual members here.

happy holidays

LEED Benefits for Resilient CommunitiesUSGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia Host 4th Presentation

LEED Benefits for Resilient Communities

Thursday, December 13, 12:00–1:00pm
Location: NOVA Community College, Alexandria Campus, Room TBD, 5000 Dawes Ave, Alexandria VA 22311

Register today to reserve your seat.

Join USGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia for our 4th jointly hosted Connect & Learn exploring LEED’s connection to resiliency strategies using examples of LEED buildings in Arlington County. This event is part of a Virginia resiliency education series looking at how buildings and communities support statewide resiliency goals.

Green buildings are driving resilience-enhancing designs, technologies, materials, and methods. by including practices such as the use of durable materials, thoughtful site selection, rainwater collection, demand response, grid islanding, maximal energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy generation and more.

Attend this Connect & Learn to explore LEED’s connection to resiliency strategies using examples of LEED buildings in Arlington County. Speakers include Alysson Blackwelder, Advocacy and Policy Manager, USGBC, and Joan Kelsch, Green Buildings Manager, Arlington County. Lunch is provided for registered attendees. The presentation will run from 12:00–1:00 pm. Continuing Education: 1 GBCI CE pending.

happy holidays

US National Climate Assessment and IPCC Reports Point to Critical Need for Increased Mitigation and Resiliency Actions

US National Climate Assessment and IPCC Reports

US National Climate Assessment Report

Published November 23rd, the National Climate Assessment Report concludes that human-caused climate change is already causing irreparable harm to communities across the United States and that the disastrous impacts will increase and cost the country billions of dollars. This report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, mandated by law to be issued every four years, was prepared by 300 authors at 13 federal agencies.

Among the report’s findings: climate impacts could slash 10 percent of the US GDP, the Midwest is projected to see an additional 2,000 heat deaths per year, average acreage burned by wildfires could increase as much as six times, all by the end of the century.

For the Southeast United States, urban infrastructure distress and health risks will increase due to flooding, increased heat and vector-borne disease, with coastal and low-lying interior areas being particularly susceptible for flood risk. Natural ecosystems will be transformed by changing winter temperature extremes, wildfires, drought, warming ocean temperatures, and floods. In rural areas, agricultural, forest, and manufacturing businesses will be impacted by frequent extreme heat episodes and changing seasonal climate. “By the end of the century, over one-half billion labor hours could be lost due to extreme-heat related impacts.”

The report further states that “While Americans are responding in ways that can bolster resilience and improve livelihoods, neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the US economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

The report emphasizes mitigation and adaptation in key areas, such as:

Energy — The report states that internationally and in the U.S., it is critical to escalate the pace, scale and scope of both hardening energy production systems to withstand extreme weather events and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban design and infrastructure — Cities are in the forefront of reducing greenhouse gases in the U.S. and have begun adaptation work as infrastructure, buildings, and commerce are being increasingly affected by extreme weather events, including storms, flooding and heat waves.

Agriculture and land use — Numerous adaptation strategies are available to cope with adverse impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural production. These include altering what is produced, modifying the inputs used for production, adopting new technologies, and adjusting management strategies. However, these strategies have limits under severe climate change impacts and would require sufficient long- and short-term investment in changing practices.

Read the Report summary, chapters on issues, and mitigation/adaptation strategies here.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

On an international level, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, released in October, 2018, strongly supports an all-out effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, instead of the 2 degree C limit originally considered as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Some information to consider:

  • Human activities are estimated to have already caused approximately 1.0 degree C of global warming above pre-industrial levels
  • China (at 26.6%) and the U.S. (at 13.1%) are the top two greenhouse gas emitters, with India and Russia following. The top 10 emitters account for 60% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.)
  • The commitments from the Paris Agreement, if enacted, will still allow the warming trend to reach 3.5 degrees C by the end of the century.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

Read the IPCC Press Release here. The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/.

Climate impacts increase in severity with rising temperatures.

happy holidays

Governor Northam Ramps Up State Resiliency Initiatives

by Tracy Garland, Resilient Virginia

Acknowledging the burgeoning resiliency challenges facing the Commonwealth, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam recently issued Executive Order 24 (2018) “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.” It outlines actions that the Commonwealth of Virginia will take to limit the impacts of flooding, extreme weather events, and wildfires as well as goals to improve resiliency in the future.

“As extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, the safety and economic well-being of every Virginian is put at greater risk,” said Governor Northam. “The actions the Commonwealth will undertake as a result of this Executive Order will ensure we address this growing challenge head on, setting Virginia on a path towards resilience to near and long-term natural catastrophes and enhancing our public health and economic vitality with a whole of government approach.”

The order specifies that Virginia’s government will lead by example by:

  • ensuring its facilities are resilient;
  • developing a series of reviews and planning efforts to benefit the public and private sectors;
  • creating a “Coastal Resilience Master Plan;”
  • reviewing state compliance with dam and floodplain laws;
  • reviewing state hazard mitigation programs with the goal of increasing their scale and scope; and
  • providing guidance to local governments.

The Executive Order also outlines further resiliency improvement goals that include using nature-based infrastructure, ensuring better communication, engaging the military, empowering communities and individuals to reduce their risk, and more. Read the entire Executive Order here.

happy holidays

Rural Resiliency Forum

Rural Resiliency — First Steps Taken at Resiliency Forum

by Sean Tubbs, Guest Contributor (Excerpt from article posted in Resilient Virginia News)

To convene a conversation about rural resiliency concerns, Resilient Virginia held the Rural Resiliency Forum on October 23 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton that covered how the fields of agriculture and emergency management are responding to climate threats, as well as how efforts are being made to build robust “green infrastructure” to help address both water quality and stormwater management. The objective was to explore the co-benefits of using natural systems and sustainable agriculture practices to assist with mitigating effects from severe storms, flooding, and other climate-related risks.

The goal was to improve collaboration among state and local governments, as well as rural businesses and communities, to improve the “storm readiness” of farms, forests, and natural resource areas, and to increase the resiliency and prosperity of rural areas of the Commonwealth. In addition, the Forum looked to provide access to existing resources, state and federal programs and funding, as well as start a conversation about potential policy recommendations.

“Our mission at Resilient Virginia is to accelerate resiliency planning throughout Virginia,” said Andrew Sorrell, Deputy Director of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Chairman of the Resilient Virginia Board of Directors. Resiliency is defined as “the ability to mitigate risk, while building the capacity to regain functionality and vitality in the face of chronic stressors or severe disturbances.” That definition covers a lot of subject areas, but the October Forum focused on resilient agriculture and forestry, blue and green infrastructure, and hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness.

Speakers presented on related state and federal programs, as well as on current resiliency projects and activities happening throughout the Commonwealth. During lunch, university representatives provided information on how university programs can help with community resiliency needs. In the afternoon, interactive breakout sessions encouraged audience, speakers, and Resilient Virginia staff to delve further into particular issues and challenges around rural resiliency and how farms and natural resource areas can help with hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness.

Read the complete article that recaps the speakers’ information and directs you to additional resources here. You can also review the presenters’ PowerPoint presentations here.

rural-resiliency-forum-2018

happy holidays

Utilities of the Future — Expert Speakers’ Presentations Now Live!

Utilities of the Future      Utilities of the Future

(excerpted from article by MIRIAM ACZEL, www.leadersinenergy.org)

On October 4th, 2018, Leaders in Energy (LE), in partnership with Resilient Virginia, held its “Utilities of the Future Forum” at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC. The event had over 80 attendees and was an exciting opportunity to look at recent developments in the role of utilities and future of energy provision and new changes.

Leaders in Energy, Founder and Executive Director and session co-moderator, Janine Finnell, kicked off the event, introducing the three panelists: John Caldwell, Ph.D., Director of Economics, Edison Electric Institute (EEI); Cyril Draffin, Project Advisor to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative (MITEI); and Elizabeth Brooke Stein, Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s Clean Energy Program. Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia, provided comments on the need for secure energy resource development as part of community resiliency planning.

The expert presenters provided thought-provoking information, respectively, on such topics as:

  • the “total electric utility evolution” towards an interactive, transactive grid;
  • locational energy pricing, renewables (centralized and distributed) for decarbonization, and resiliency considerations;
  • New York’s efforts to reform the state’s utility regulations (Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV), and the various technological enhancements that make this renewable transition possible.

You can view the entire article here and view the video presentations here.

happy holidays

2018–2019 Board of Directors

Officers

Chairperson
Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell

Deputy Director, Virginia Tobacco Commission

Vice Chair
Ellen Graap Loth

Principal, Cardno, Inc.

Secretary
Jane Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM

Associate Vice President, Dewberry

Treasurer
Vestal Tutterow, PE, CEM

Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Directors

Jerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI
Principal, GSPH LLC

Rebecca Joyce
Community Program Manager, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI
President, Terrazia PC

Erin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP
Director, Office of Emergency Management, City of Virginia Beach

Past Chair

Nell Boyle, LEED AP
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Roanoke

Managing Director

Annette Osso, LEED AP
osso@resilientvirginia.org

happy holidays

Resilience Events Calendar

Early Winter, 2018 Event Highlights

December 13, 2018: LEED Benefits for Resilient Communities, Noon–1:00 pm, NOVA Community College, Alexandria Campus, Room TBD, 5000 Dawes Ave, Alexandria VA 22311. Register today to reserve your seat.

January 7–10, 2019: National Council for Science and the Environment Annual Conference: Sustainable Infrastructure and Resilience, Washington, DC. For more information and to register: https://ncseconference.org.

January 28–31, 2019: Northeast Organic Farming Association. Four-day organic land care certification course, Washington, DC. For more information, contact Joan Clement, CHEARS volunteer, joan@chears.org, 301-775-5368

Check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.

Membership — ‘Tis the (Giving) Season!

Join (Or Renew) Today — It’s Our Future!

Resilient Virginia is on a mission to

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities to build resiliency in the face of challenges to community prosperity, national security, and changing climate.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIt’s gift buying and giving time, so make it easy on yourself by shopping at Amazon.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, school, and special events.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Rural Resiliency — First Steps Taken with Resiliency Forum

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

By Sean Tubbs, Guest Contributor

As both average temperatures and rainfall counts continue to climb, government agencies, businesses and other organizations are seeking ways to ensure that Virginia is prepared to withstand whatever changes are caused by changing weather patterns.

To convene a conversation about rural resiliency concerns, Resilient Virginia held a forum on October 23 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton that covered how the fields of agriculture and emergency management are responding, as well as how efforts are being made to build robust “green infrastructure” to help address both water quality and stormwater management. The objective was to explore the co-benefits of using natural systems and sustainable agriculture practices to assist with mitigating effects from severe storms, flooding, and other climate-related risks.

The goal was to improve collaboration among state and local governments, as well as rural businesses and communities, to improve the “storm readiness” of farms, forests, and natural resource areas, and to increase the resiliency and prosperity of rural areas of the Commonwealth. In addition, the Forum looked to provide access to existing resources, state and federal programs and funding, as well as start a conversation about potential policy recommendations.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

“Our mission at Resilient Virginia is to accelerate resiliency planning throughout Virginia,” said Andrew Sorrell, Deputy Director of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Chairman of the Resilient Virginia Board of Directors. The organization was formerly known as the Virginia Sustainable Building Network, but they rebranded in 2013 to take on the new challenge of helping communities adapt to climate, social and economic challenges.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Resiliency is defined as “the ability to mitigate risk, while building the capacity to regain functionality and vitality in the face of chronic stressors or severe disturbances.” That definition covers a lot of subject areas, but the October forum focused on resilient agriculture and forestry, blue and green infrastructure, and hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness.

Erik Curren, a member of Staunton’s City Council, welcomed participants and commented that many people in the Shenandoah Valley had thought that only coastal communities would be affected by climate change. Farmers now report that they are being affected and that crops are changing. Tourism officials are also saying that they are beginning to be affected, especially with the wet weather. “Resiliency is our problem, too,” Curren said. “Help us help rural Virginia communities weather what’s coming,” Curren said.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

Speakers presented on related state and federal programs, as well as on current resiliency projects and activities happening throughout the Commonwealth. During lunch, university representatives provided information on how university programs can help with community resiliency needs.

In the afternoon, interactive breakout sessions encouraged audience, speakers, and Resilient Virginia staff to delve further into particular issues and challenges around rural resiliency and how farms and natural resource areas can help with hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness.

Forestry management

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018The timber industry has a $17 billion impact on the state’s economy, according to Robbie Talbert, Regional Forester-Central Region with the Virginia Department of Forestry. One in four manufacturing facilities in the state produce a forestry-related product. In all, there are over 104,000 jobs. The continued success of the industry depends on having forests, and this relies on landowners who want to continue to maintain forests as their primary land use.

“More landowners want to keep their land in their family,” Talbert said, adding that the average age of a forested property owner is 67. They are also overwhelming male and overwhelmingly white. Nearly three-quarters of forest owners live on their own property. To try to add balance to the demographics, the Department of Forestry runs a program called Generation NEXT which seeks to build the next cohort of dedicated landowners. Another program called Century Forests covers landowners who have wooded lands in their possession for over a hundred years. There are 39 forests in Virginia that qualify with 14,446 acres.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Maintaining tree cover, which plays a significant role in both storm and flood mitigation, as well as reducing nutrient loads for waterways, is also addressed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Kristin Owen, Floodplain Program Manager with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), informed the audience about their Soil and Water Program, which works with farmers to help prevent pollution runoff by encouraging tree buffers along waterways, and the Floodplain Management and Dam Safety program. They also work with communities to encourage their participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance programs.

Agricultural adaptation

USDA logoOne of the biggest topics at the forum was how agricultural practices may change as weather patterns continue to shift. One speaker on hand was Kathy Holm, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations with the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. “I’ve noticed the [increasing] intensity of hurricane and rainfall events, which is expected to continue into the future,” Holm said.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018To start, Holm led with some definitions. Weather is the hourly and daily variation of meteorological conditions in the atmosphere. Climate, on the other hand, is the average weather over time. Changes in climate can be tracked by tracking impacts on crops and livestock, as well as the insects, diseases and weeds that can affect them.

According to the USDA, annual average temperatures will continue to increase by 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the century. Heat waves will continue to become more intense. Rainfall is expected to continue to increase in Virginia, but in powerful bursts that could come with long dry spells. In addition, the growing season will be longer.

To offer help, the USDA has created regional Climate Hubs that provide information for farm and forest adaptation responses. They also offer adaptation workbooks for agriculture, urban forests, and forest owners to help them engage in a process of identifying risks and working on solutions.

Virginia Tech logoCloser to home, Julie Shortridge, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, with Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering, reviewed the types of climate risks facing the region. Julie Shortridge told the audience that rising temperatures are projected to reduce yields for corn and soybeans. To try to improve the economic hit to farmers, Shortridge advocates for “climate-smart” farming which includes using drought and heat-resistant varieties, improved soil health and using better weather forecasting to make long-term decisions about what to plant each season. “This is how to build resilience,” Shortridge said.

Shortridge urged farmers to contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension for more resources. She also emphasized that throughout history, those in agriculture have always had to contend with a shifting climate. “Climate change and other pressures have made some of these risks more challenging,” she said.

VSU College of Agriculture logoLeonard Githinji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Virginia State University, offered a few lessons about sustainable agriculture. “Sustainable agriculture includes practices that do not harm the environment, practices that provide fair treatment of workers, and practices that support and sustain local communities,” Githinji said.

This includes the practice of multicropping, where many species are planted on the piece of land. One benefit of this is higher genetic diversity, which leads to more resilient soil. A more intense form known as intercropping involves deliberately selecting plants which benefit from each other’s presence. Sustainable agriculture also makes sure that there is habitat for pollinators.

Green infrastructure

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Karen Firehock, the Executive Director of the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC), had the opportunity to explain how her organization creates plans to protect and enhance the ecological carrying capacity of Virginia and other states. “The Green Infrastructure Center helps communities evaluate their green assets to maximize ecological, economic and cultural returns,” said Karen Firehock.

In addition to Firehock’s home county of Albemarle, the Green Infrastructure Center has also worked in Accomack County, Virginia; Darlington County, South Carolina; and Ulster County, New York. GIC publications on green infrastructure have been developed for local and state governments both in Virginia and nationally.

The term “green infrastructure” was coined in 1994 by the state of Florida in a report on land conservation strategies. The idea was to demonstrate that planners should take into account natural systems as providing services to developed areas. This can take the form of raingardens, bioswales or green rooftops. In addition, planning for green infrastructure encourages preserving contiguous rural landscapes and conserving forests and wetlands. “The more connected the landscape, the more resilient it is,” Firehock said.

Green infrastructure plans encourage building in the least impactful manner to preserve the natural landscape’s ability to reduce stormwater and maintain water quality, and then mitigating man-made structures to the highest level possible. At a locality-wide level, that can mean thinking about wildlife bridges and other ways to provide safe passage for migrating creatures, as well as recreational areas for communities.

Firehock also referred the audience to an online tool — DCR’s Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment — that can be used to find out more about the natural resource areas in their regions.

Emergency preparedness and preparing for sea-level rise

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Stacie Neal, Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Manager, Governor’s Office of Public and Homeland Security, offered information on the state’s role in disaster protection, prevention, and mitigation, as well as programs to increase resiliency. She informed us that there are a variety of “critical infrastructure” areas, that include not only government facilities and emergency services, dams, and critical manufacturing, but also agriculture, water and wastewater facilities, and public health.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the state agency that handles disaster planning and response, has the goal of working with the whole community, including families, businesses, local government, and community organizations, to develop both mitigation and emergency response plans. Mitigation strategies that help to lessen the impact of storms and other emergencies are increasingly important with the more frequent severe weather events, including tornadoes, flooding, and high wind, that communities have been experiencing.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018The local challenges of rural mitigation and emergency planning were further elaborated on by Rebecca Joyce, Community Program Manager of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, and Jonathan Simmons, All-Hazards Planner, VDEM Region 6. Rebecca Joyce, working with VDEM, manages emergency response, flood management, and mitigation plan development for rural localities in the PDC region. She commented on the difficulties encountered by local communities in preparing for disasters with very limited staff and funding resources.

Matching University Resources with Community Needs

Lunchtime presenters from state universities gave the audience an overview of several programs that combine student academic work with community assistance in the resiliency, agriculture, and energy areas.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Kim Niewolny, Ph.D., Associate Professor with the Department of Agricultural, Leadership & Community Education at VA Tech, provided information on two programs — the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and the AgrAbility Program. The Coalition’s goal is support new farming and ranching endeavors to be successful through farm planning assistance, training, mentoring, and online resources. AgrAbility Virginia assists individuals and their families who farm, and have illnesses, injuries or disabilities that are impeding their ability to work safely, effectively, and productively.

The Raft logoAngela King, Assistant Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary, let the audience know about the RAFT program. The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT) is a project of several Virginia universities that helps communities rate how well their planning documents take into account the impacts of coastal resilience, and assists them with developing mitigation measures. “Coastal resilience can be addressed in comprehensive plans by incorporating elements such as green infrastructure, open space preservation, infill development, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Community Ratings System and stormwater management,” reads a section of the RAFT scorecard.

The project is a collaboration of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the William and Mary Law School, and the Virginia Sea Grant Resiliency Program at Old Dominion University.

Rural Resiliency Forum: October 23, 2018Jonathan Miles, Ph.D., Professor, Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University, and Director of the Center for Wind Energy, informed the audience about their program that assists farm owners in acquiring wind turbines to enhance their on-site energy production. The Center also sponsors a wind system contest for public schools and has helped with the installation of wind turbines at schools for educational purposes. He also noted that their Center will soon become the Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy.

Utilities of the Future: Recap

Utilities of the Future: Recap

by MIRIAM ACZEL

On October 4th, 2018, Leaders in Energy (LE), in partnership with Resilient Virginia, held its “Utilities of the Future Forum” at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC. The event had over 80 attendees and was an exciting opportunity to look at recent developments in the role of utilities and future of energy provision and new changes.

Read more

1 2 3 4