Thursday, May 11, 2017

Richmond Improves Its Efficiency Rankings by Eight Spots

Washington, DC—As the federal government weighs budget cuts to energy efficiency programs, cities are stepping up efforts to reduce energy waste. More mayors and local lawmakers in America’s largest cities are turning to energy efficiency to reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses, strengthen the resilience of their communities, and reduce pollution, according to the third edition of the City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released May 11, 2017 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Richmond improved its ranking by 8 spots to be No. 28 on the list.

“Across the nation, cities are taking steps to save energy, and they are creating more economically vibrant and resilient communities in the process,” said ACEEE senior researcher David Ribeiro, the lead report author. “More than half, 32, of the 51 cities improved their scores from 2015 to 2017, with several making substantial point increases. More cities are requiring building owners to benchmark and report buildings' energy use, updating building energy codes, and setting community-wide goals to save energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We also see a new set of cities emerging as leaders for energy efficiency, knocking on the door of the top 10.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification, Richmond June 9-10

CBLP Level 1 Training – Register Now!

Registration is now open for 2017 Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) certification. CBLP is a new voluntary, regional credential for professionals who design, install, and maintain sustainable landscapes in the Bay watershed. Arborists and Foresters • Engineers • Green Infrastructure, Low Impact Development (LID), Stormwater Professionals • Grounds Managers •
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Technicians or Licensed Pesticide Applicators • Landscape Architects & Designers • Horticulturists, Landscape Contractors and Technicians • Nutrient Management Planners or Certified Applicators • Soil and Environmental Scientists • Urban Planners

Visit for information, and to apply for certification.

CBLP offers two levels of training and certification for Level 1 is a baseline certification in design, installation, and maintenance of sustainable landscapes, with emphasis on how to properly maintain stormwater best management practices (BMPs).

Level 2 is an advanced credential in design or installation, focusing on stormwater BMPs.

In 2017, Level 1 candidates will choose one of these Level 1 classes:

· Baltimore- May 16-17

· Richmond- June 9-10

· Annapolis- June 20-21

· Virginia Beach- July 18-19

· Lancaster, PA- July 24-25

Level 1 training consists of one two-day class that combines classroom learning about conservation landscaping and stormwater best management practices, with a field-based maintenance practicum. CBLP’s active learning program focuses on critical thinking, problem solving, and collaborative practice. Candidates also receive unlimited access to CBLP’s online webinar series on sustainable landscaping topics, and may participate in a live exam preparation webinar. Level 1 certification exams will be given in several locations, September 2017-January 2018. The Level 1 package fee is $425.

The next Level 2 seminar will be held November 9-11, 2017, in Arlington, VA. Registration will open this summer.

A searchable, online directory of over 100 CBLP-certified landscape professionals is available at

Candidates for Level 1 must have a degree, certificate, or certification in a related field, or have professional experience in landscape design, installation, or maintenance. In order to qualify for Level 2, professionals must first complete Level 1 and demonstrate experience designing or installing stormwater BMPs.

For more information, visit or contact: Beth Ginter, CBLP Coordinator,

Thursday, April 27, 2017

RVA Bike Month is April 29-May 31

The 4th Annual RVA Bike Month, presented by Bon Secours, is days away from jam-packing your May full of fun celebrations of riding in the Richmond Region. There's a little something for everyone, from fun rides, to bike rack installations, to safety trainings, and events both large and small. Here's how you can make the MOST of RVA Bike Month this year.

1) Come out to every event you can! There's something for everyone in Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover/Ashland!
2) Invite your friends!
3) Participate in the National Bike Challenge! Click here to link your Strava (which you'll need to download first - it's free!)
4) Post about how much fun you're having! Use 
#rvabike#rvabikemonth, and tag Bike Walk RVA (@bikewalkrva) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! There will be prizes throughout the month for best posts and photos, so STAY TUNED!
5) Take our Vision Zero Pledge, and share with everyone you know! Click here.
6) Ride your bike to work! Even just once!
7) Keep checking back the RVA Bike Month landing page as events are updated, added, or modified (because sometimes it rains). 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mayor Kicks Off Earth Week with New Sustainability Plan for 2050

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, along with Alicia Zatcoff, the City’s sustainability manager, announced a new sustainability planning effort for the City of Richmond called RVAgreen 2050. 
This project is a comprehensive undertaking to develop a community energy plan, a deep greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, and a climate action plan. These components align with the collective goal of reducing city government and community greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050 in order to create a healthier, more vibrant, economically competitive and resilient community.

This summer, the Mayor will host a summit of community leaders to begin planning the year-long process to deliver a realistic yet challenging plan. Indicators have been positive so far. Recycling rates are up, community energy use is down, and renewable energy capacity has increased more than 44,000 percent since 2008. City government emissions are down 11 percent. 

The Sustainability department has improved energy efficiency and reduced power use in city buildings, including new HVAC systems, automated controls, energy-efficient lighting, and power and water use tracking software, resulting in $3.8 million in savings.

Monday, April 10, 2017

VCU Study on Economic Impact of the James River Park System

Two professors from VCU completed an economic impact study of the James River Park System (JRPS) that details its positive impact for the river city. Funded by the Friends of the James River Park System, the study focuses on two factors -- property values and tourism -- and reveals that, among other things, every dollar in the park budget returns over $60 in visitor spending, and that the JRPS generates $33.5 million per year in tourism.

The full report is here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Discarded: Recycled Items as Art, April 21-May 26 at Pine Camp

This group exhibition will include local area artists who harness reusable materials for their artwork. This exhibit’s goal is to show how, with imagination and creativity, waste can become a beautiful work of art while also addressing important issues surrounding the environment. This exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information or to schedule tours please contact Shaunn Casselle, Curator at 646-6722. Location: Pine Camp Arts and Community Center, 4901 Old Brook Road.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Richmond is Finalist for Culture of Health Prize

Richmond has been chosen as a finalist for the fifth annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize. As a finalist, Richmond is one step closer to the national prize which honors communities that understand health is a shared value and everyone has a role to play in driving change.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, it has supported research and programs targeting pressing health issues from substance abuse to improving access to healthcare. Johnson was a member of the Johnson & Johnson family business and gave his New Jersey employees hardship bonuses during the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1936, he set up a foundation with company stock to help the indigent.

Selected from more than 200 communities across the country, Richmond joins 10 other finalists. Winners will be announced this fall.

“Building a culture of health in Richmond is not just about physical health, “said Richmond City Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula. “It’s about safer, greener neighborhoods, more reliable transportation, cradle to career social and educational supports, and building hope and agency in communities with high rates of poverty. Richmond has been working hard to ensure fairer access to resources for all residents and to become a healthier, more united city, and we are so pleased to advance as a RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalist community.”

The prize is guided by the principle that every community has the potential to improve and be a healthier place to live and thrive.To earn finalist status, Richmond had to demonstrate how it excelled in the six Prize criteria:

·         Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
·         Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
·         Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health.
·         Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
·         Securing and making the most of available resources.
·         Measuring and sharing progress and results.
If selected as a winner, Richmond will be given a $25,000 cash prize and opportunities to share their story and lessons learned.

To learn about the work of the 27 previous Prize winners, visit