Written by Lynne Kaye,
One of George Allen’s (former Redskins Head Coach) most famous sayings is “the future is now”, and thanks to the Envision Loudoun initiative, the future truly is now for Loudoun businesses. As part of the initiative, the Loudoun County Government is offering a series of Envision the Future Workshops. These workshops are your opportunity to help make Loudoun a great place to do business, live and play in the future. You can make your voice heard by attending one of these upcoming workshops:
- Leesburg. Monday, June 5. Harper Park Middle School. Starts 7 p.m.
- Sterling. Wednesday, June 7. Cascades Senior Center. Starts 7 p.m.
- Ashburn. Monday, June 12. Broad Run High School. Starts 7 p.m.
- Hamilton. Tuesday, June 13. Harmony Middle School. Starts 7:30 p.m.
- Aldie. Thursday, June 15. Mercer Middle School. Starts 7 p.m.
To register for an Envision the Future Workshop and for additional information, click here.
You haven’t been sitting on a mountain top pondering Loudoun’s future. No problem! We know the future of many businesses is now. Here are some ideas for Loudoun’s future.
Innovation. When you think innovation, what locations do you think of? Silicon Valley? Seattle? NIH? Fairfax County? Why not Loudoun? Loudoun for-profit and non-profit businesses and educational institutions are already innovating every day, and not just in the government contracting space. Scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus have received awards for everything from work on the biological basis of psychiatric disorders to filmmaking and interactive media. Sandy Lerner, the owner of Ayrshire Farm, is aiming to redefine “road food” by opening hundreds of organic food stores along highways. The stores will feature drive-up windows, take-home meals and $5 organic hamburgers. The Gramercy District development near the Ashburn Metro stop is being designed to be one of the first communities to very purposefully integrate “the Internet of Things” and real estate to create a “smart city”. It will be the first “smart city” in the region and one of the first in the country. Why not make Loudoun a center for innovation?
Asset Sharing. Speaking of innovation, asset sharing is one of the hot innovation topics. What do you think of when you think of asset sharing? Airbnb? Uber? Scandinavia? Why not Loudoun? Did you know that the data centers in Loudoun produce enough spare heat to make Loudoun one of the leaders in energy asset sharing? Sharing the spare heat produced by our local data centers could heat about 2 million homes – without “importing” energy from other states in large power towers. The technology for using waste heat from one activity to provide heat for another activity already exists. It is not only being used in Scandinavia. It is being used in U.S. locations as diverse as Prince Georges County, MD; New Orleans, LA; and Rochester, NY.
Energy. Speaking of energy, what locations do you think of when it comes to leaders in energy efficiency and renewable energy? California? Chicago? New York? Boston? Why not Loudoun? The Board of Supervisors is considering implementing a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for Loudoun. PACE programs throughout the U.S. help for-profit, non-profit, urban and rural businesses and homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and homes. PACE allows owners to borrow 100% of the purchase price of energy efficiency or renewable energy improvements in existing and new buildings and to repay the loans over the life of the improvement which can be as long as 20 or 30 years. The cost savings from the improvements repay the loan. PACE programs help create local jobs as well as helping owners increase the value of their buildings, save money and meet various financial, business and personal goals. The State of Virginia passed the enabling legislation for Property Assessed Clean Energy for businesses (not homeowners) in 2009, and left it up to local jurisdictions like Loudoun to implement the program. Arlington is in the process of putting a program in place.
Programs are already in place in Washington, DC and Montgomery County, MD as well as other jurisdictions throughout the United States. Why not PACE for businesses in Loudoun, and eventually PACE for homeowners as well?
The future is now in one other way. We are already awarding certifications to Loudoun Sustainable Businesses and the September 30 deadline to participate for 2017 will be here before you know it. Be sure to claim credit for participating in an Envision the Future Workshop on your online form. Access to information on the program and the Loudoun Sustainable Business Certification form is here!
See you at an upcoming Envision Loudoun Workshop!