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Eco-City Alexandria

Eco-City Alexandria is a strategic effort to achieve sustainability. We seek to create an environmentally, economically and socially healthy city where people can live, work and play for decades to come.

Page updated on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:27 PM

Eco-City Alexandria Logo - Medium

What is Eco-City Alexandria?

Eco-City Alexandria is a holistic strategic effort to be a sustainable community. The initiative began with the release of the GreenVentory in 2007. The Eco-City Charter was adopted in 2008 and the Environmental Action Plan has guided the implementation of the City's environmental programming since 2009.


What is a Sustainable Community?

A sustainable community is an environmentally, economically, and socially healthy place where people can live, work and play for decades to come.

  • Ecological sustainability ensures that all parts of the natural and built environments work together as a single ecological system.
  • Economic sustainability ensures a healthy economy that supports and sustains people and the environment in which they live over the long term.
  • Social sustainability ensures that a community meets residents' basic health and social needs and has the resiliency to prevent and/or address problems in the future.

Eco-City Summit 

  • On Saturday, March 9, the City hosted the Eco-City Summit, a forum for community members to offer input on draft recommendations for an update of the Environmental Action Plan (EAP), the City’s road map for creating a thriving, sustainable community. Community members who attended were able to give feedback on the recommendations for all 10 topics of the EAP.  Missed the event? Watch the opening remarks and the event's keynote speech, “7 Secrets to Living Your Most Sustainable Life,” given by Diane MacEachern, founder and CEO of Big Green Purse. Also, read the sustainability pledge distributed at the event and learn more about Eco-City Academy

  • The City hosted the Environmental Action Plan 2030 (EAP) Phase Two Update Open House on Wednesday, November 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School. Those who missed it can watch a video of the meeting on Facebook.  The evening included a presentation on past and present initiatives addressing the remaining five focus areas, and a discussion of potential short, mid- and long- term goals for all 10 sections. See EAP Update Education and Outreach Events for additional details.
  • On Saturday, October 13, Alexandria City Council unanimously adopted the City's EAP Phase One Update after a year of collaborative work involving City staff, the Environmental Policy Commission, stakeholders, and the public. For more information, see Environmental Action Plan 2030 (EAP) Update below.  
  • For the eleventh consecutive year, the City of Alexandria has been recognized by the Virginia Municipal League (VML) with its platinum-level certification for being a green and sustainable government. This is the highest certification level possible in the VML’s Go Green Government Challenge, an initiative designed to encourage local governments to implement specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions. Please see the Awards and Honors section below about the City's Platinum Designation. More information about the Go Green Government Challenge is available at gogreenva.org.

Forum on Green Building Practices 

In association with the City of Alexandria Green Building Policy Update, the City is holding a forum to promote public discussion of green building practices on Thursday, February 28, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at Alexandria Renew Enterprises, 6th Floor Ed Semonian Board Room (1800 Limerick St.). 

The forum, which will include a presentation and panel discussion, is intended to encourage local builders, developers, designers, and residents to explore the complexities and challenges of the green building development and design process and to engage in a constructive community dialogue about the ways that future public and private development can incorporate the basic principles of green building design. 

Questions? Visit alexandriava.gov/GreenBuilding or contact Anna.Franco@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3896. 


Environmental Action Plan 2040 (EAP)

Eco-City-Caf_rs The Environmental Action Plan 2040 (EAP) is the City's comprehensive blueprint for creating a thriving, sustainable community. In June 2009, the City adopted the EAP, which aimed at achieving the vision and principles outlined in the City's Eco-City Charter and ensuring the City continues to move toward environmental sustainability. 

The EAP Update Process

The City is collaborating with the  Environmental Policy Commission (EPC) to develop an update to the EAP and establish a refreshed, informed, and responsive framework for environmental decision-making over the next several decades. The EAP update process is comprised of two phases. Phase One, which ended on Saturday, October 13, 2018, with City Council's adoption of the  EAP Phase One Update, established short-term (FY2019 - FY2023) goals and action items for five key focus areas: (1) Energy, (2) Climate Change, (3) Green Building, (4) Land Use and Open Space, and (5) Solid Waste. Phase Two, which is currently underway, builds on Phase One by identifying similar short-term goals and action items for the remaining five focus areas - (6) Transportation, (7) Air Quality, (8) Water Resources, (9) Environment & Health, and (10) Implementation, Outreach, & Education - as well as developing mid-term (FY2024 - FY2028) and long-term (FY2029 on) goals for all ten. The resulting document will be submitted to City Council in early Summer 2019 as the Environmental Action Plan 2050 (EAP 2050). 

We welcome your input throughout all stages of the update process. Community involvement and feedback are critical for making the EAP an effective policy guide. We encourage all interested members of the community to attend our public outreach events (in person or through Facebook Live), participate in EPC meetings, visit us at City events, sign up for Alexandria's eNews, engage with us through social media ( Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), or simply contact us

The Eco-City Steering Committee's December 12, 2018 Draft Document is provided for your review.


EAP Education and Outreach Events 

Upcoming EAP Update Public Engagement Events

EAP Phase Two Update Timeline

  • October 13, 2018 
    Phase 1 Adopted
  • October to December 2018
    Synthesize staff, EPC, and community member ideas into Phase Two Update
  • November 14, 2018
    EAP Phase Two Open House   
    Douglas MacArthur Elementary School from 7 to 9 p.m
  • December 12, 2018
    EAP Phase Two Eco-City Steering Committee Public Meeting
    City Hall, Sister Cities Room 1101 from 6 to 7 p.m.
  • December 2018-January 2019
    Online Feedback Form
  • March 9, 2019
    Eco-City Summit and presentation of full EAP Update
  • April 2019
    Deadline for public comments on full EAP Update
  • April 27, 2019
    Alexandria Earth Day 2019 Tent Talk presentation and information booth
  • May/June 2019
    City Council Legislative Meeting and Public Hearing

EAP Phase One Action Item Links

EAP Update Resources


About Eco-City Alexandria

In 2007, the Eco-City Alexandria team, which included staff, the EPC, and students from Virginia Tech, conducted an inventory of existing City programs to create Eco-City Alexandria: A Green-Ventory of City Environmental Policies, Plans and Programs.

In 2008, the project team focused on the development of an Eco-City Charter. An extensive public outreach campaign was devised to ensure that the Charter reflects the wishes and priorities of the citizens. A successful Eco-City Café was held to obtain public inputs required for the development of a draft Charter. This draft Charter was then released for public comment at the following annual Alexandria Earth Day. A very successful Eco-City Summit was then held to get additional public feedback on the draft Charter. The keynote speaker for this summit was Mayor Bob Harvey of the City of Waitakere, New Zealand, a pioneer of Eco-City and sustainability. The Eco-City Charter, one of the first of its kind in the country, was unanimously adopted by City Council in June 2008. This Charter encompasses the core values and ten guiding principles which is the basis for the Environmental Action Plan.

The Environmental Action Plan 2030 (EAP) was adopted by City Council in June 2009. It serves as a road map for City leaders and residents as they work towards fulfilling the goals outlined in the Eco-City Charter.  


Awards and Honors

City of Alexandria Receives Highest Certification for Virginia Municipal League’s Go Green Government Challenge

For the eleventh consecutive year, the City of Alexandria has been recognized by the Virginia Municipal League (VML) with its platinum-level certification for being a green and sustainable government. The platinum distinction, announced yesterday evening, is the VML’s highest certification level. The annual Go Green Government Challenge, a VML initiative, encourages local governments to implement specific environmental policies and practical actions that reduce carbon emissions generated by both the local government and the broader community. The City received several points for innovations in 2018, including:

  • Development of a long term control plan for Alexandria’s combined sewer system;
  • Innovative stormwater treatment practices that achieved nutrient reductions exceeding requirements;
  • Purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 60% of the City government electricity consumption;
  • Participation in the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Solarize NoVA program to promote installation of solar photovoltaic systems in Alexandria homes; and
  • Purchase and distribution of 24 thermal cameras to Alexandria libraries for resident use to detect heat losses in their homes and use the information to target corrective actions to reduce energy usage and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions.

More information about the Go Green Government Challenge is available at gogreenva.org.

The City of Alexandria ranked sixth on a list of 131 cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Southeast Climate Commitment Index, created by the nonprofit group Community Sustainability USA, recognizes the City’s accomplishments and efforts to address climate change. The list ranks cities and counties with populations above 50,000 in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida. The City’s inclusion is aligned with its strong commitment to greenhouse gas reduction, as outlined in its Environmental Action Plan 2030, the City’s blueprint for creating a thriving, sustainable community.  Read the news release to learn more.


Eco-City and EAP Reference Materials


Contact Information

Questions and comments regarding the EAP and EAP Update process should be directed to the City’s Sustainability Coordinator, Ellen Eggerton, at  Eco-CityAlexandria@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.4065.

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