When it comes to planning for the future, Henrico County, Virginia is doing more than setting goals – it’s recognizing that sustainability has real economic and environmental benefits for its community. Henrico County has built a forward-looking plan which is already making an impact today. And since powering its buildings with sustainable energy has always been a central part of that plan, Henrico County turned to Sun Tribe as its full-service solar partner.
“Working with Sun Tribe on Henrico County’s first solar projects, we’re making our operations more sustainable, saving taxpayer dollars by spending less on electricity, and working to educate our community about renewable energy. For us, solar is a real win-win – supporting our mission to practice good energy management for both economic and environmental benefit.”
Making An Impact
Through the use of solar energy, water use minimization, and smart natural resource management, Henrico County has maximized its sustainability efforts.
A dedication to sustainable design has led to 17 (and counting) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) green building certifications.
Henrico County’s team has focused on real-world results – educating local residents on sustainability and clean energy through events and programming.
Henrico County’s broad-based approach to sustainability meant working with a solar partner who could evaluate county buildings and find the right solution.
“The implementation of rooftop solar systems for selected new and existing municipal buildings and schools has been an exciting addition to our energy management program. We’re saving money on electricity while also transitioning to a renewable energy source which supports our sustainability goals.”
To be a leading local authority and to create a ‘culture of conservation’ for the economic and environmental well-being of the county’s residents, businesses, and employees.
Sun Tribe’s team installs solar at Libbie Mill Library – a great example of how renewable energy can power some of a community’s most important buildings.
Leading the Way to A Greener Future
When Carrie Webster – a University of Virginia graduate who had spent most of her career as an environmental and architectural sustainability expert in the private sector – had an opportunity to take the reins as the Energy Manager for Henrico County, Virginia, she saw more than just an opportunity to help a locality conserve and track its resources. It was a chance to be a champion for a smarter, more comprehensive, more citizen-focused approach to one of a community’s greatest assets: it’s buildings.
She knew there was no single solution for any county’s energy challenges, but instead worked to find concrete ways to make a difference by tracking and reducing energy use, lowering costs, and educating public and private sector partners. A big part of that effort involved working across the county, where the Energy Management team used the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program to change the conversation around building design, maintenance, and renovation. Today, 17 County-owned buildings are LEED Certified, with a map that residents can consult here.
A Vital Puzzle Piece
In a growing community like Henrico, neighborhood access to public spaces is important. Whether it’s a public safety center providing a home base for the county’s emergency management teams, a mental health center serving those in critical need, or a local library in a fast-growing neighborhood, county-owned buildings play a critical role in day-to-day life. These buildings are more than just housing for essential services; today, they’re important symbols of the County’s sustainability goals, since they’re run on reliable, affordable solar power.
Solar keeps the lights on in a way that is both cheaper and more sustainable, providing lots of community benefits. Whether it’s showing that their government is committed to fiscal responsibility or providing growing educational opportunities for residents, Henrico County’s leaders understand that solar provides a chance to inspire. For just one example: Sun Tribe was proud to partner with the County on a community meeting at the newly-constructed Libbie Mill Library, where community members learned how solar was powering the building and could ask questions about the County’s broader sustainability plans.
Read more about Henrico’s shift to clean energy on VPM.org, ABC8, and in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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