Week of August 15-21, 2011

by Dan Rudt

MoCo Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program – Bethesda Green has learned that Montgomery County, as part of its American Recovery Act block grant, will soon be making funds available to assist homeowners who make energy improvements to single family homes and condominium units. The program will provide between $1,000 and $3,000 in cash incentives for home owners who make new improvements such as air sealing, insulation, HVAC, and appliances. For example, consumers can apply for $1,000 for the purchase of an ENERGY STAR qualified air conditioner, or $2,000 for a qualified air conditioner and furnace. Approximately $1.1 million is available and the County expects to serve 300 to 500 participants between the program launch date (on or around August 25, 2011) and July 30, 2012.  Incentives will be available on a first come, first served basis. To be eligible, consumers must have obtained an energy audit from an auditor participating in the Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program or the Pepco, BGE or Potomac Edison (Allegheny) utility sponsored programs.  The applicant will also need to have a scope of work (or works) from the contractors whom they intend to use for their projects. Keep an eye on www.BethesdaGreen.org and/or the MoCo Department of Environmental Protection for more information soon.

Country Thyme Farm Market “Circulating” Petition to Governor – If you shopped at Country Thyme Farm Market throughout the last decade, you know the farm stand on River Road adjacent to the Kenwood Country Club was shut down in 2009 by the state highway administration. Local media, including the Gazette, ABC7, and WAMU have covered the story of Boyds farmer and Country Thyme owner Jonathan Sadd and his attempts to reopen his River Road business. Sadd now hopes former customers and area supporters will sign a petition to Governor O’Malley, which he also intends to send to Maryland Secretary of Transportation Beverly Swaim-Staley, Acting Administrator MDSHA Darrell Mobley, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

MOM’s Organic Market College Park Renovation Almost Complete – The World Interior Design Network reports that MOM’s renovation and expansion is expected to be completed by August 19. The company has installed energy-efficient LED track lighting throughout the entire store, which was repainted with low VOC paint.  Refrigerators and freezers are all closed door models and are equipped with LED lights. The ceiling includes skylights and 100% of the store’s electricity is supplied by wind power. After driving up to (or past) the electric car charging station, customers will find wider aisles inside and 40% more shelf space than before.

Perdue Goes SolarRenewable Energy World calls it, “one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems in the eastern United States.” The poultry company has installed 6,720 solar panels at its facility in Bridgewater, Delaware. The number of solar panels on Perdue property will total 11,000 when a second installation is completed this October at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury, Maryland. The panels, installed by Standard Solar of Rockville, are owned by Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES). Perdue will purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels at prices guaranteed by WGES. At peak production, the two installations will produce as much as 90% of the electricity needed to run the Perdue facilities.

Speaking of Chickens…

UM Study Makes Strong Case for Organic Poultry Farming – A team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Amy R. Sapkota of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health studied the comparative level of resistance to antibiotics in bacteria found on conventional poultry farms and on farms that were newly converted to organic methods. The results were much more dramatic than expected. “We initially thought we would see some differences in on-farm levels of antibiotic-resistant enterococci when poultry farms transitioned to organic practices,” Sapkota explained. “But we were surprised to see that the differences were so significant across several different classes of antibiotics even in the very first flock of birds that was produced after the transition to organic standards.” The results are detailed in this article from the University of Maryland.

US DOE To Fund University-Based Green Business Competitions – The Department of Energy on July 21 announced it will fund a National University Clean Energy Business Challenge. The purpose is to “inspire, mentor, and train students from across the country to develop successful business plans for a new generation of U.S. clean energy companies.” The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy plans to make $2 million available to fund as many as six regional and one national competition in 2012. The DOE is currently accepting grant applications from universities interested in hosting one of the competitions. The winning competition sites will be announced this September and the business plan competitions will be held in late spring and summer 2012.

2nd Annual “Bake Bethesda A Pie” Contest – Do you like to bake? Does the idea of home made pie sound good to you? Sunday, September 4, the Bethesda Central Farm Market hosts its 2nd Annual “Bake Bethesda A Pie” Contest. This year’s contest will include an under 18 division and an adult division. Prizes will include gift certificates to local restaurants, shops and Bethesda Central Farm Market. Contest proceeds will benefit the Manna Food Bank. Information and registration are on the Internet.

Upcoming Green Events

Informational Workshop for Auditors, Contractors and Program Partners about the MoCo Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program, Thursday, August 18, 9:00 am, UpCounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown, MD  20874. This workshop for contractors will provide information about the upcoming program (see article at top of this page) and example materials and communications kits to help contractors educate customers and participants about the program and inform them of other incentives that may be available. Additional workshops will be scheduled in August and September for consumers and program participants. Contractors register 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 once every month to discuss Bethesda Green’s marketing and communications needs.

Closing the Loop in Our Food System: Breakfast, Panel Discussion & Farm Market Visit, Sunday, August 21, 9:00 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.

Panelists: 

Caroline Taylor, Executive Director, Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Shannon Varley, Farmer, Bella Terra Family Farm
Jeff Black, Owner, Black’s Kitchen, (invited)
Jessica Weiss, Executive Director, growingSOUL
Dave Feldman, Executive Director, Bethesda Green
Diane Welland, Registered Dietitian and Author

Moderator: Cheryl Kollin, Principal, Full Plate Ventures

Following breakfast and panel discussion, we will visit the Bethesda Central Farm Market on Elm St. between Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues.  Register 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.

BG 101, Thursday, August 25, 4 – 5:30 pm. Bethesda Green’s monthly orientation session. Learn about Bethesda Green history, programs, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

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.

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