Week of August 08 – 14, 2011

by Dan Rudt

Innovative EV Charging Station Produces Solar Energy – Governor Martin O’Malley, Bethesda Green’s Dave Feldman and other speakers will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and demonstration in North Bethesda at 10 am on Monday, August 8 to mark the debut of a solar energy-generating EV charging station. Made in Columbia, Maryland by Advanced Technology and Research Corp., the charging station consists of a 1,410 watt array of six solar panels equipped with ATR’s GPS-based sun-tracking technology atop an 18-foot-tall steel pole. Two Level II car chargers are mounted to the pole to service two vehicles at once. The solar generated electricity is fed into the utility grid, from which the chargers, in turn, draw their electricity. Here is a photo of the charging station newly installed at 10401 Old Georgetown Road, between SunTrust Bank and the Exxon station, just north of Wildwood Shopping Center.

New Sustainability Practitioner Certificate Program at Montgomery College – This program, for individuals interested in acquiring the skill set necessary to develop a strategic sustainability action plan, offers three concentration tracks. They are: Sustainability Supply Chain, Green and Renewable Energy, and Green Marketing. The course begins this fall semester with an online course, Introduction to Environmental and Social Sustainability. For more information, email transcie.almonte@montgomerycollege.edu or call 240-567-3828.

Dominion Virginia Power Plans Electric Vehicle Recharging Pilot – The utility, anticipating a sizeable increase in demand for electricity, announced it will test whether electric vehicle owners will choose to recharge their vehicles during off-peak hours in exchange for lower electricity costs. The savings will be roughly 55% of the standard residential electric rate. Half the pilot participants will be offered a “whole house” option, which would save them anywhere from 47 – 58% on all electricity they use in off-peak hours. Each rate option would be limited to 750 participants. Interested customers will be able to sign up for the pilot program beginning Oct. 3. The company intends to partner with car dealerships and charger installation vendors to build customer awareness.

Houses of Worship Going Green – We told you recently about Temple Adat Shalom installing solar panels. Reports in The New York Times and WAMU indicate thousands of houses of worship around the country are taking similar steps. In the DC area, the Times reports, 40 houses of worship joined forces this year to solicit reduced-rate bids for electricity — most of it from renewable energy sources — from local suppliers. The alliance, in their next negotiations, will require bidders to extend the same discounted rate to individual parishioners and members. The next contract will also require the participating energy buyers to either purchase renewable energy or commit to energy-efficiency upgrades. According to the Times, the Washington Interfaith Network and the DC Project helped bring the houses of worship together.

Voting Underway for America’s Favorite Farmer’s Market – Bethesda Central Farm Market is currently in 3rd place among all medium size farmer’s markets throughout the United States. Voting ends at midnight on August 31. American Farmland Trust holds the annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ contest to raise national awareness about the importance of buying fresh food from local farms and saving the farmland where it’s grown. Click on the “medium markets” tab on this page to see how our local market is doing, and click here to vote.

Upcoming Green Events

Green Networking Event at Dirty Martini, Wednesday, August 10, 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Capital Cabal and the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW) invite you to enjoy appetizers, drink specials, door prizes and meet dozens of other “green” professionals at the 100% wind electrified Dirty Martini, 1223 Connecticut Avenue NW, (Dupont Circle). $15 in advance; $20 at the door. Preregister here.

2011 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, August 12-20. Experience the mobile science lab, Old MacDonald’s barn, animal birthing center & milking parlor, chat with master gardeners at the Bay Friendly Garden, and learn about honeybees. Don’t forget to buy some food and enjoy the rides and contests. More information here.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Thursday, August 18, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. This team of volunteers meets on the second Thursday of every month to discuss Bethesda Green’s marketing and communications needs.

Closing the Loop in Our Food System: Breakfast, Panel Discussion & Optional Farm Market Visit, Sunday, August 21, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm. This is the first in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals. Location: Bethesda Green & Bethesda Central Farm Market. More information here.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2011, Thursday, August 25 – Saturday, August 27, Marriott North Bethesda Hotel and Conference Center. More than 60 speakers from business, government and energy non-profits will discuss how Maryland is “Investing in Energy to Generate Jobs.” Clean energy companies and those that serve them will exhibit. This is an excellent education and networking opportunity for those who are in the clean energy field or curious about it.

Fertile Ground: Local Sustainable Farm Tour and Lunch, Saturday, September 10, 12:30 – 3:00 pm. Rocklands Farm, 14525 Montevideo Rd., Poolesville, MD 20837. This is the second in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals.  More information here.

Savor Local Flavor: Four Course Dinner and Discussion with Chef Tony, Monday, September 19, 7:00 – 10:00 pm. Chef Tony’s, 4926 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.  This is the third in the series On the Farm; Around the Table, connecting farmers, food and community in three meals. More information here.