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:

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.  


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


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


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.  


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


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.




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

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 10 |  May 12, 2021  |  12 PM -  1:30 PM ET

sewer plant at nightSustainable and Resilient Energy Management of Wastewater Treatment Plants

Registration Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sustainable-and-resilient-energy-management-of-wastewater-treatment-plants-tickets-149919895443


On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, from 12:00pm – 1:15pm (EST), please join the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), DC Water and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission for a webinar that features the work of DC Water’s Chris Peot (Director of Resource Recovery) and Bottrop’s Dr. Lars Guenther (Director of the Bottrop Wastewater Treatment Plant).

Speakers will share their work with sustainable energy management at the convergence of local level climate and sustainability planning.

About this Event

Wastewater treatment plants play critical roles in the Washington DC region’s climate and sustainability planning. The high-levels of energy used for their operations are very often important variables of local governmental budgets and climate plans. The sustainable operations of water treatment plants also play a critical roles in the water quality planning of watersheds such as the Potomac River and its estuaries. Navigating the policy and technical universe of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, energy efficiency, renewable energy applications, public engagement, economic savings and water quality improvements represent special policy and technical opportunities and challenges for the water treatment plants of the Washington DC region.


Across the Atlantic, the City of Bottrop, Germany’s, “Innovation City” program has experimented with local climate, energy and watershed revitalization planning in which the sustainability and operations of the city’s (and Ruhr region’s) wastewater treatment has featured prominently. Much of Bottrop’s special 20-year history of innovative economic redevelopment, climate and energy programs have made central the fusion of watershed regeneration and climate neutrality – and in the context of both, the operations of the City’s wastewater treatment plant. As part of the Bottrop’s goals to attain climate neutrality by 2040, Bottrop aspires to make its wastewater treatment plant emissions neutral by 2035. The City and plant’s policy tool box includes the deployment of innovative methane recapture strategies, sludge incineration and heat conveyance via district energy. The plant’s energy strategy also involves substantial applications of solar and wind energy sources as well as a unique real-time display of its energy performance for the public to track and monitor.


As local governments in the United States and Germany advance their energy and climate mitigation planning, the sustainable operations of critical water treatment infrastructure will form a central piece of their plans. Creating more formal channels to communicate about mutually applicable technical and policy lessons about energy and water infrastructure can contribute to strengthening the progress of climate planning on both sides of the Atlantic.




12:00pm (EST) Welcome/Introduction


  • Mr. Jeff King, Director, Chief, Energy and Climate Programs, MWCOG 
  • Dr. Dale Medearis, Senior Regional Planner, Northern Virginia Regional Commission


12:05pm (EST) The case of Bottrop


  • Dr. Lars Guenther, Director, Bottrop Wastewater Treatment Plant


12:25pm (EST) The case of Blue Plains


  • Mr. Chris Peot, Director of Resource Recovery, DC Water


12:45pm (EST) Question and Answers


Facilitated by Jeff King and Dale Medearis


1:15pm (EST) Close

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 11 |  September 2, 2021  |  12 PM -  1:15 PM ET

Sustainable Single-Use Plastics Waste Management & the Marine Environment: A Transatlantic Perspective from Kiel, Germany





Picture of Plastic WastePlease join us Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 12:00pm to 1:15pm (EDT) for a discussion with Ms. Tatjana Allers, City of Kiel, to discuss the city’s leadership in zero waste and experiences with EPR as it relates to the single-use plastics waste mitigation and discharge into the marine environment.  


Eliminating single-use plastic litter from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay is a priority.  In March 2021, Governor Northam released an executive order requiring the phase-out of single-use plastics by state government agencies, including all state universities and colleges. The directive is broad, focusing on disposable plastic bags, single-use plastic and polystyrene food containers, plastic straws and utensils, and single-use plastic water bottles, unless they are for medical or public safety use.  Virginia state agencies will also develop a report on recommendations for reducing waste and diverting it from landfills.


By committing itself to following a zero- waste strategy, the Baltic Sea city of Kiel is currently establishing itself as a pioneer in solid waste management and has practical experiences with mitigating single-use plastics waste.  Under the umbrella of EU-level and national-level extended producer responsibility legislation, Kiel has planned and operationalized ambitious waste recycling programs that aspire to cut all waste disposal to as close to zero as possible.




12:00pm (EST)   Welcome/Introduction


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


12:05pm (EST)   Perspectives from the Baltic


  • Ms. Tatjana Allers, City of Kiel


12:45pm (EST)   Question and Answer


  • Facilitated by Debbie Spiliotopoulos, Northern Virginia Regional Commission


1:15pm (EST)     Close


Photo Credit: Photo by Marta Ortigosa from Pexels

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 12 |  September 14, 2021  |  12 PM -  1:30 PM ET

Integrated LED Street Lighting Technology

Registration Link


Across the Metropolitan Washington region, local governments have actively transitioned conventional high-energy consuming high-pressure sodium and mercury vapor light bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs). NVRC was pleased to lead the regional effort working with our local government partners and Dominion Energy to help achieve reduced costs for LED street lighting.


As a result, local governments have realized economic savings to their bottom lines through improved efficiencies and reductions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. In addition, local governments are recognizing the potential economic, environmental and social benefits of addition holistic re-purposing of streetlights. The inclusion of photovoltaic charging arrays, electric vehicle charging portals, air pollution detection sensors and battery storage possibilities are among the attributes cities of the region are exploring.


Across the Atlantic, cities such as Berlin and Bottrop also have experimented with repurposed streetlights that fuse LED lighting, EV charging, air pollution detection and other innovative applications that have reaped economic, environmental and social benefits. The City of Bottrop has replaced over 1,200 conventional luminaires with LEDs and equipped the streetlights with monitors to detect air pollutants. The Berlin start-up Ubitricity, has innovated an integrated electric vehicle charging technology that integrates the battery of electric vehicle with innovative billing.


In the United States, firms such as Clear World also are implementing LED streetlights equipped with solar charge controllers, DC/AC inverters and rechargeable lithium ion battery storage technologies.


Please join the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Clean Energy Solutions for a discussion of integrated LED lighting holistic streetlight conversion.




12:00pm Welcome/Introduction


Bob Lazaro, NVRC & Jeff King, MWCOG


12:05pm Overview of LED Lighting Effort in Region


Steve Morgan, Clean Energy Solutions


12:10pm The City of Bottrop


Thorsten Radau


12:30pm Ubitricity


Rene Wetzel


12:50pm Perspectives from the U.S.: ClearWorld


Larry Tittle, Founder/CEO


1:10pm Question and Answer


Facilitated by Bob Lazaro and Jeff King


1:30pm Close

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 13 |  September 21, 2021  |  12 PM -  1:15 PM ET


Registration Link


The Chesapeake Bay is home to 516 wastewater treatment plants whose pollution, stemming from microplastics, is causing both short- and long-term damage to the delicate ecosystems within the Mid-Atlantic coastal region, as well as the humans who live there.

Beyond these threats, microplastics and their management pose danger to the infrastructures and resources surrounding the waterways, their environs, and the communities therein. Issues like long-term microplastic monitoring programs and how best to interpret microplastic pathways present major concern to scientists today.

Across the Atlantic, the Baltic Sea region is experiencing a similar set of challenges. To tackle this, the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research has spearheaded an initiative to improve scientists’ understanding of the ecological impact of microplastic accumulation and meso and microplastic pollution in the waters.

Through comprehensive studies and research efforts, portions of the research are translating into innovative policy responses and tools, often on the local level.

Please join the German Center for Innovation and Research, the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research, the Chesapeake Research Consortium, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission for a webinar on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at noon EST. The event will feature a conversation on the state of applied research on microplastic mitigation in the Baltic and Chesapeake Bay regions. A roundtable discussion will provide insight from researchers in both the Chesapeake Bay and Baltic Sea regions into the following areas:

- Comparisons of the design and implementation of microplastics monitoring programs between the Baltic and the Chesapeake
- Differences and similarities of research into microplastics pathways in the Baltic and Chesapeake Bay
- Considerations about the adequacy of infrastructure resources available to process microplastic samples
- Evaluation of Governmental structures and financing for research in the Baltic Sea/Chesapeake Bay on single-use plastics and microplastic mitigation
- Applied research in the Baltic Sea/Chesapeake Bay as it relates to microplastics and wastewater treatment/urban source conveyance


  • 12:00  Welcome/Introduction
    Dr. Kathrin DiPaola, German Center for Research and Innovation
    Dr. Dale Medearis, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
  • 12:05  View from the Chesapeake
    Dr. Denice Wardrop, Chesapeake Research Consortium
  • 12:25  View from the Baltic
    Dr. Gerald Schernewski, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research
  • 12:45  Q&A
    Dr. Kathrin DiPaola, German Center for Research and Innovation
    Dr. Dale Medearis, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
  • 1:15pm Close

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Resilience Webinar Series Part 14 |  October 26, 2021  |  12 PM -  1:15 PM ET

Local-Level Sustainable Development and the Role of Small Businesses

Registration Link:


Local-level sustainable development in Northern Virginia rests on the three-legged stool of ecology, society and economy and the special reliance on small family-owned businesses to create jobs, manage natural resources and community engagement. Small businesses of the region, such as Alexandria’s Port City Brewery, play out-sized and often overlooked roles in weaving regionally-grown products into their supply chains, reducing energy and water consumption through innovative production methods or technologies and hiring local workers. The union of these efforts helps meet the bottom line of profitability and substantially contributes to the City’s and region’s sustainability targets.

Freiburg, Germany, recognized as one of the most sustainable cities in the world, hosts a diverse galaxy of small family-owned businesses that balance profitability and ecology. Firms such as Ganter Brauerei rely on locally-grown resources, energy efficient production means and high-rates of waste reduction and recycling – and in a city that is among the global pioneers for applying green-infrastructure land-uses, renewable energies and successful workforce training initiatives.

Please join us NVRC and GMU School of Business for a webinar on October 26, from 12:00 PM – 1:15 PM for a discussion between the owners and operators of Port City Brewery (Bill Butcher) and Ganter Brewery (Ernst Ganter).

  • The evolution and guiding principles of their family-owned businesses;
  • The planning and execution of sustainability in their work;
  • The indicators used to determine success of their sustainability plans;
  • The workforce training elements of their business model;
  • Possible options to guide future exchanges of lessons and cooperation between the two firms.


12:00pm (EST) Welcome/Introduction

Mr. Robert W. Lazaro, Jr., Northern Virginia Regional Commission

Lisa Gring-Pemble, Associate Professor, Co-Executive Director, Business for a Better World Center

12:05 PM The Sustainability Story of Ganter Brewery

Ernst Ganter, Owner/Manager Ganter Brewery, Freiburg, Germany

12:25 PM The Story of Port City Brewery

Bill Butcher, Owner/Manager of Port City Brewery, Alexandria, Virginia

12:45 PM Questions and Answers

Lisa Gring-Pemble, George Mason University

1:15 PM Close