Webinar Series 2021

Resilience Webinar Series Part 5  |  February 19, 2021  |  12:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET

Ecological-Oriented Resiliency Lessons From the Netherlands


Local governments across Northern Virginia confront with greater regularity climate-induced stressors such as flooding from sea-level rise and intense storm events.  A particularly complex issue with resiliency planning has been the struggle to balance the design, planning and application of gray and green infrastructure.  For example, how might local governments of the region cope with creating viable public space that also accommodate sea-level rise or storm surge?  Or, how might plans to revitalize bottle-necked stormwater culverts be undertaken that also promote holistic watershed approaches in general and on-site stormwater management and retention?  

 

As our region’s local governments develop resiliency plans, they stand to benefit by drawing lessons from the Netherlands – widely recognized as a global pioneer in the planning and implementation of large- and small-scale holistic climate resiliency policies and projects.

Image of Dutch Green Infrastructure

The Dutch towns of (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Nijmegen) have successfully applied small and large-scale watershed management plans that acknowledge the force and character of water without over-relying on conventional large-scale civil engineering projects.  In these cities, the Dutch have woven nature-based approaches such as living shorelines, bioswales in the context of long-term holistic watershed planning. The outcomes have been successful flood mitigation and the creation of amenities for urban life such as expanded shorelines in urban districts, and natural habitats for wildlife.

To share the work of these pioneering models, Suzan van Kruchten, head of climate for the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, will speak about her work and the lessons for the communities of Northern Virginia working to become climate resilient.

 

Register here

Featured Speaker: Suzan van Kruchten

 

Ms. Suzan van Kruchten is the team coordinator for international climate and energy at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Suzan has over 10 years of senior-level policy development experience with national and local climate resiliency programs in the Netherlands and the United States. For the period of June 2012-October 2012, Suzan worked with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to review and report on Dutch climate resiliency innovations to the Northern Virginia region.


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Resilience Webinar Series Part 6 |  March 19, 2021  |  12:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET

Understanding the Role of Bond Rating Agencies and Climate Resiliency Planning in Northern Virginia


The potential property and human health costs emanating from climate change compel local governments to act with greater urgency.  However, local governments face a predicament between the demand to simultaneously balance development of effective short- and long-term (and often very complex) climate resiliency plans with financial and budgetary stability. 

A critical element of this new climate and cost-risk management paradigm is the recent and evolving relationship between local governments and public bond rating agencies.  As local governments plan to address the effects of climate change, they must also take into consideration the growing and evolving roles of debt rating agencies in the arena of climate risk management.

But rating local government debt through the lenses of climate change is very much uncharted territory for both debt rating agencies and local governments. This is due partly to the novelty and complexity of climate change. This complexity also is compounded in Northern Virginia by the progression of new and innovative climate resiliency strategies by local governments and the application of innovations such as ecosystems management, green infrastructure or risk-informed zoning that complement "conventional" or "gray infrastructure" engineering.

To shed light on this unique and evolving relationship between climate resiliency planning by the local governments of Northern Virginia and debt rating agencies, NVRC has invited Kurt Forsgren, Managing Director and Sector Leader for Infrastructure for S&P Global Ratings, and Nora Wittsbruck. Lead Analyst for Local Government at S&P Global, to share their work and expertise on this topic.

Please register here no later than March 12, 2021.  It is free! https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3877589795246410764 

Kurt Forsgren.  Kurt is a managing director and sector leader for infrastructure at S&P Global Ratings.  In this role, he works as an industry analyst across the different infrastructure sectors with a focus on supporting the transportation and utilities team on cross-sectoral initiatives such as public-private partnerships (P3s), climate risks and green evaluations globally.

Nora Wittstruck. Nora is a lead analyst within S&P's local government east region team covering local government credits from Maine to Florida. She also serves as the analytical lead for New York City and on the analytical team for the State of Texas. She also covers transportation issuers for Miami International Airport. Prior to joining S&P Global, Nora worked for the State of Florida in the Division of Bonds Finance as a Bond Development Specialist.

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 7 | April 15, 2021 |10:00 am – 11:30 am EDT

Sustainable Energy Management of Data Centers: Case from Germany 

Registration here:
https://virginiatech.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqd-6tqz4jH9LkqkP8B0N0AnyvJkUzbNwy

Data centers in Northern Virginia play a very important role in the region’s economy and environment. There are over 100 data centers that service approximately 70% of all global Internet traffic and generate more than $500 million in annual revenue to local governments of the region. The demand for energy to power Northern Virginia’s data centers is substantial. In 2019, there was over a Gigawatt of collectively commissioned electricity from Northern Virginia’s data centers.

Coupling of greenhouse emissions reductions from data center operations to sustained economic growth represents a special opportunity for sustainable development in Northern Virginia.  It also uniquely positions Northern Virginia as a potential global leader in this arena.  For example, Amazon and Microsoft plan to make their operations climate neutral before 2030 through substantial investments and purchases of renewable energies and energy efficient technologies.  Concurrently, multiple local governments of Northern Virginia are developing long-term climate mitigation and energy plans that could positively influence the progression of emissions reductions of data centers and economic growth.  Navigating this complex technical and policy universe with local-level climate plans will provide a special constellation of challenges - and opportunities.

Across the Atlantic, metropolitan regions such as Frankfurt, Germany are deploying a range of creative technologies and programs to help make data centers and local climate plans more energy efficient and sustainable.  For example, in regions such as Frankfurt, Germany (one of the largest hubs of data centers in Germany), it is common to observe clusters of data centers in multi-story designed buildings that also further energy efficiencies by integrating district energy systems to convey heat, or micro-grid integration and battery storage - all within the context of local-level climate and energy plans.  

On Thursday, April 15, 2021, 10:00am - 11:30am (EDT) please join Virginia Tech, Baumann Consulting, the Hessen State Ministry for Science and the Arts and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission for a webinar that will look into ways to strengthen applied research and technical cooperation on sustainable energy management of data centers and local climate planning between Northern Virginia and German metropolitan regions such as Frankfurt.  

Mr. Oliver Baumann[1], President of Baumann Consulting, will share his past and current work on equivalent matters in Germany and Northern Virginia. Following this talk, Dr. Igor Cvetkovic[2], Research Scientist and Technical Director at Virginia Tech’s Center for Power Electronic Systems (CPES) will share the work of his center in this arena and the potential to strengthen applied research with counterparts in Germany.  

Agenda

10:00 am (EDT)     Welcome/Introduction

  • Dr. Rainer Gruelich, Hessen State Ministry of Science and Art 
  • Dr. Dale Medearis, Senior Regional Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission

10:10 am (EDT)     An Overview of Frankfurt/Hesse

  • Mr. Oliver Baumann, President, Baumann Consulting

10:35 am (EDT)     Power Electronics for Data Centers – Energy Routers

  • Dr. Igor Cvetkovic, CPES, Virginia Tech 

11:00 am (EDT)     Questions and Answers

  • Facilitated by Dr. Dale Medearis and Dr. Rainer Gruehlich

11:30 am (EDT)     Close

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[2] Igor Cvetkovic, https://cpes.vt.edu/people/faculty/103

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 8 | April 19, 2021 | Noon to 1PM (EST)

Cyclist and Pedestrian Safety:  The Case Study of Germany and the Netherlands

Registration here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6696511111457924112

NVRC Virginia Tech Logos Together

One outcome of the COVID 19 pandemic has been the rise of biking and walking among the residents of Northern Virginia.  To find peace of mind, or stay physically and mentally healthy, the residents of Northern Virginia have been taking to the streets by foot and bike in increasing numbers.  Actual and perceived safety is a key determinant in the decision to walk or ride a bicycle. Despite the drop between 2019 and 2020 in bike and pedestrian accidents and fatalities, there is a consensus that biking and walking the streets of the region could be safer. Furthermore, data is emerging that points to substantial demographic inequities when it comes to the numbers of the victims of pedestrian and biking accidents and fatalities.  

Across the Atlantic, urban design and transportation planning policies in cities such as Freiburg, Germany or Groningen, The Netherlands have evolved over decades that have made Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists 5 times less likely than their US counterparts to be fatally injured in traffic.  German and Dutch cities have incorporated holistic car-free central business districts, “complete streets,” rigorous biking and driver training and the prioritization of walking and biking over automobiles.  Moreover, the design and planning for walking and biking in these cities is demographically serves a large spectrum of society and more social groups.  German and Dutch cities plan and design transportation that encourages high overall levels of cycling: extensive systems of separate cycling facilities, intersection modifications and priority bicycle traffic signals, traffic calming of neighborhoods, safe and convenient bike parking, coordination and integration of cycling with public transport, traffic education and training for both cyclists and motorists, and traffic laws that favor cyclists and pedestrians. 

On Monday, April 19, 2021, from 12:00pm - 1:00pm (EST) please join the Northern Virginia Regional Commission for a webinar with Dr. Ralph Buehler, professor and chair of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech, who will share the designs, policies and strategies that German and Dutch cities have developed to the benefit of bike and pedestrian safety programs and how these might inform equivalent efforts in Northern Virginia.  

Agenda

12:00pm (EST)   Welcome/Introduction

  • Ms. Debbie Spiliotopoulos, Senior Environmental Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
  • Dr. Dale Medearis, Senior Regional Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission

12:10pm (EST)   Cyclist and Pedestrian Safety in Germany and the Netherlands

  • Dr. Ralph Buehler, Professor, Virginia Tech University

12:40pm (EST)   Question and Answer

  • Facilitated by Ms. Debbie Spiliotopoulos & Dr. Dale Medearis

1:00pm (EST)     Close

Bios:

Dr. Ralph Buehler is the co-editor of the new book Cycling for Sustainable Cities (MIT Press)—that explores how to make cycling safer and more convenient for all. https://spia.vt.edu/people/faculty/buehler.html

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 9 |  May 5, 2021  |  1PM - 2 PM ET

Multiple Logos

Public-Private Partnership for Sustainable Development: The Case of the Stuttgart Region

Registration:  https://gmu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rBPPhlk3SuiRDHPKDf-QHg

 

The region of Stuttgart, Germany, is a global pioneer in sustainable development and stands out as a model for its partnerships among local governments, businesses, chambers of commerce and crafts as well as education institutions that have integrated environmental, economic and social policies towards an economically prosperous, climate-resilient and socially inclusive region. 

 

The Stuttgart region is home to large numbers of innovative small, medium and large global businesses, and chambers whose strategies embrace and profit from the research, development and applications of renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste minimization and holistic workforce training programs. Michael Roessler, Deputy Director of “Handwerk International Baden-Württemberg”, a business support organization for small and medium-sized companies in the region, will share his work and that of his organization which successfully links commercial success with the region’s sustainable development goals. 

 

Mr. Roessler will discuss the ways that the businesses and commercial operations of the Stuttgart region profitably incorporate greenhouse gas emissions reductions, waste minimization, or renewable energy targets into their business plans. He also will talk about the integration of sustainable development of business operations that is supported by a world-class constellation of education, commercial and applied research partnerships.

 

Agenda

 

1:00pm Welcome


  • Mr. Robert W. Lazaro, Jr., Executive Director, NVRC
  • Mr. Michael Rosenow, Senior Director for Membership, Arlington Chamber of Commerce

 

1:05pm Presentation on the Stuttgart Model of Commercial Sustainability


  • Mr. Michael Roessler, Deputy Director, Handwerk International Baden-Württemberg

 

1:35pm Roundtable Discussion Facilitated by


  • Dr. Dale Medearis, Senior Regional Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
  • Ambassador (ret) Richard D. Kauzlarich – Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

 

2:00pm             Close