Community Energy Action Plan

Call to Action

Climate change poses a serious threat to our environment and well-being. There is clear guidance from scientists and policymakers on what we need to do: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Action is required at all levels and local governments have a unique role to play in supporting their communities.

Photo of City of Falls Church electric police vehicle.

The good news is there are actions we can take now to make a difference!  And those actions can have additional benefits like saving on monthly expenses, improving air quality, and supporting lower income residents through federal programs.

About the Community Energy Action Plan

The Community Energy Action Plan (CEAP) is a roadmap for the City government to support and collaborate with the community to pursue Falls Church’s ambitious climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below 2005 levels by 50% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 while upholding the community’s established values.

CEAP Report

Community Energy Action Plan Final Report (PDF, 49 pages)

This plan was developed through a top-down model of emission reduction potential from key sources.  Nearly 90% of GHG emissions in 2020 came from energy used in the transportation sector and residential and commercial buildings. To help bring focus to the biggest opportunities for emissions reduction, this plan focuses on transportation and buildings. The modeling made aggressive but practical assumptions to decarbonize the key sources of emissions and shows the significant level of effort that will be needed to meet the community GHG reduction goals.

The targets established as a part of the emissions model were then paired up with community input on interests, barriers, and challenges to driving the needed changes. Input and feedback were provided through two public outreach sessions and discussions with City committees and staff to ensure this plan reflects the community’s priorities for climate action and provides the support they need from the City to take those actions. The resulting strategies were as follows: 

Strategy Target or Milestone
Enhance Access to Car-Free Alternatives By 2030, 20% reduction in passenger car vehicle miles traveled
Accelerate Shift to EVs By 2035, 100% of new passenger vehicle purchases are EV, and by 2050 100% of new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle purchases are EV
Improve Efficiency and Electrify Our Buildings
By 2030, 13% reduction in building energy use, driven by the following actions being taken annually:

- Installation of 200 to 350 air source heat pumps
- Electrification of 150 to 200 water heaters
- 60 homes complete whole-home efficiency improvements
Minimize Carbon Impacts of New Development* Encourage energy efficient and low-carbon development in the City
Increase Clean Electricity Supply By 2030, 5% of single-family homes will have onsite solar, increasing to 20% by 2050

The final report (PDF, 49 pages) details proposed actions for each of these strategies.

Town Hall #2

A second Town Hall was held virtually on Tuesday July 25, 2023, where a Mural Board platform was used to engage community members and collect input. The interactive activity asked community members to identify and react to potential actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the City’s goals.  Participants highlighted potential obstacles and concerns that need to be addressed in the implementation of the CEAP and offered suggestions for how the City could support and enhance community-driven initiatives for reducing GHG emissions.  Meeting slides and a summary of the input collected can be found here:

Town Hall #1

The City hosted an interactive Town Hall session on Thursday April 20, 2023 to collect input from the community on interests, understanding, and potential priorities for what should be included in a Community Energy Action Plan.  There were activity stations focused on buildings and transportation, as well as a prioritization exercise for how to allocate City resources across programs.  A summary of information collected from the Town Hall (PDF, 11 pages), along with a follow-up survey, were presented to the Environmental Sustainability Council at its May 18, 2023 meeting.  

Community Energy Action Plan Kickoff - Environmental Sustainability Council 

Progress to Date

The City of Falls Church community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 22% between 2005 and 2020, despite a 34% growth in population. For more information, please check out the documents linked below.

Reference: Modeling Documents