Community Energy Planning FAQs

What is Community Energy Planning?

  • Community Energy Planning (CEP) is a process to address energy security and environmental challenges with policies and practices that systematically integrate energy efficiency, heat recovery, use of multiple energy sources including renewable energies, flexible energy distribution, transportation, and land uses to create a sustainable community
  • CEP is often part of a comprehensive energy and climate change management process
  • Read more about CEP Efforts in Northern Virginia

What Types of Renewable Energy systems are addressed in Community Energy Plans?

  • Biomass–using organic materials such as wood, waste, and other biodegradable substances
  • Geothermal–using heat pumps to capture the heat and cooling naturally in the ground
  • Solar Photovoltaic–converting solar power to electricity which can be used in homes and businesses
  • Solar Thermal–using the sun as a source of heat for domestic hot water, pools, and passive space heating
  • Wind–using the wind as a source of power to generate electricity

What are District Energy Systems?

  • District energy systems distribute heated or chilled water to many customers in interconnected buildings for heat, air conditioning, and hot water
  • District energy systems can accomplish a level of energy efficiency and energy supply flexibility that individual buildings usually cannot
  • Development of a district energy system can facilitate transition to renewable fuels such as solar, biomass, and geothermal
  • Buildings connected to district energy systems don't need individual heating and cooling equipment—thus saving money and space
  • District energy systems can be part of cogeneration projects - using the excess heat generated from production of electricity

How can Energy Efficiency help address our energy challenges?

  • Energy efficiency involves building and retrofitting our buildings, appliances, vehicles, and equipment to provide the same level of service with lower energy use
  • Energy efficient buildings and products often carry the Energy STAR or LEED labels
  • Energy conservation, the choices we can make each day to use our energy more wisely, helps maximize the savings from energy efficiency

How can Community Energy Planning promote Energy Security?

  • Developing local or distributed sources of energy lessens the risk of electrical brownouts and blackouts and other supply disruptions
  • Allows for more predictable energy costs over the long term

What is Integrated Transportation?

  • Integrated Transportation incorporates:
    • Multiple forms of transportation such as walking, bicycling, rail, public transportation, and roads
    • Transit-oriented development
    • Reduced vehicle miles traveled and trip lengths

How do I get more information about Community Energy Planning and NVRC's involvement?

  • For more information, contact NVRC: