March 2011

Montgomery County Commercial/Multi-Family Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Montgomery County has scheduled two workshops to inform potential applicants and vendors about the Commercial and Multi-Family Energy Efficiency Rebate Program and provide assistance on the application process.

The Program, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, helps businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations and multi-family communities overcome the barriers to improvements that can save energy and reduce operating costs.  Organizations can apply for up to 50% of project costs or $75,000, whichever is less.  Funding will be awarded competitively based on the merits of the proposed project.  The Department of Environmental Protection is also partnering with the Pepco Commercial and Industrial Energy-Efficiency Program to ensure that applicants are aware of additional incentive opportunities available for many projects.

The workshops are scheduled for:

April 5th, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

April 14th, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd # 1000 Germantown, MD 20874-2651

The deadlines for applications are April 15th and May 15th respectively.

For more information on the Commercial and Multi-Family Rebate Program visit

For more information on the Pepco Commercial and Industrial Program visit

Energy Efficiency Funding Available

Submit Your Application Now

Montgomery County recently announced it will provide rebates of up to $75,000 to small and medium sized businesses, multi-family properties, and non-profit organizations to offset a portion of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades.

The program will reimburse 50% of the cost of qualified energy efficiency improvements or $75,000 per recipient, whichever is less.

The program will also provide rebates for residential energy efficiency improvements identified through a “Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR” audit.

Funds are available for improvements to the building envelope, lighting, heating and air conditioning, and other categories that will reduce energy consumption and lower energy bills.

The county anticipates having approximately $1.7 million available and applications will be accepted in two rounds. Round 1 applications are due April 15, 2011, and Round 2 applications are due May 15, 2011. Additional information and the online application can be found at, please send any questions to

Our newest non-profit partner at Bethesda Green, growingSOUL — Sustainable Opportunities for Universal Learning — is closing the gap in the loop between fresh food production, distribution and waste in the area.  Working with other non-profit organizations, local restaurants, small farmers in Montgomery County, and the community-at large, growingSOUL is raising awareness of the critical importance of creating a zero-waste sustainable food system.

It is all made possible by each citizen doing their part to rescue vital nutrients, diverting them out of our waste stream by sorting and recycling their food scraps (including meat, dairy and oil that others will tell you cannot be composted safely at home).  The scraps can be brought to the local farmers market or collected by calling on growingSOUL’s waste-vegetable oil fueled mobile compost station for business, home or community pick up.

The nutrient dense compost made from local community food scraps at the nearby growingSOUL farm is shared with farmers who grow fresh food for Manna, our local food bank, helping Montgomery County residents, 25% of which are at risk for hunger.  The compost is also used in the new Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) vegetable gardens, recognizing the need to provide more fresh produce in public school lunches, including  the 31.1% of MCPS children who qualify for free or reduced cost lunches.

To find out more about how YOU can contribute to creating the healthy soil in which good food and strong communities grow and thrive, contact Program Director Jessica Weiss at or 301-537-7422, or visit their website:

Make plans to check out one or more of the 150 films being shown at 60 venues over the next couple of weeks during the 19th annual DC Environmental Film Festival. The filmmakers cover almost every environmental topic, but this year’s festival features a multi-day Energy Film Series, with films about the impact of the BP Oil Spill, mountaintop coal mining, and wind power.

Renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle will appear with the portrait film-in-progress, Mission Blue, distinguished biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson will discuss his two recent books about ants and visionary Canadian environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki will attend the screening of Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie.

Local filmmaker—and friend of Bethesda Green—Laura Seltzer will introduce her film, “The Last Boat Out,” which screens as part of a set of films about the Chesapeake Bay, March 23.

Many of the festival screenings are free.

One topic of note: For folks interested in food issues, there’s a series of short films about food showing at the Maret School, March 17, as well as the hour-long “Community of Gardeners,” about the community garden movement in D.C., March 24 and 25 at two D.C. locations.

So check out the full list of films, go see one and get inspired!