by Dan Rudt                                                                                             

SEED to Build Net Zero Home in Bethesda

Rockville based SEED Green Homebuilders has announced plans to build the company’s first net zero home at 5709 Lone Oak Drive, near Fleming Park in North Bethesda. A net zero home is one that produces as much energy as it consumes. According to the company Website, the 5,500 sq.ft., 6 bedroom home will be equipped with a planned 3kw solar electric system, solar hot water heater, an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system and high efficiency, Energy Star HVAC equipment. An energy-efficient building envelope will protect the home from outdoor temperature fluctuations.

SEED Green Homebuilders was founded in 2008 by a husband and wife team, Vic and Rachel Puri. Vic Puri told this reporter he expects construction to begin next spring and to reach completion in late fall, 2012. Before placing the home on the market, Puri intends to use it as a teaching tool. “We plan to hold educational events throughout the build, as well as tours once it is complete, to review the fundamentals of green building.” He wants people to “see and understand insulation, a proper HVAC install, and generally what’s inside the walls.”

SEED has built energy efficient housing since the company’s founding. By the time construction begins on the Lone Oak home, Puri expects five of his projects to achieve LEED gold or silver certification. While this will be the company’s first net zero home, he expects to build more. “We hope to one day build only net zero homes, but that is likely a few years away,” dependent on market factors such as affordability and demand. He characterized the Lone Oak home as “a test to see if home buyers really want this. We think they will, as we won’t be putting a premium on the ‘green’ aspects and we will compete with the traditional builders in price and value.”

Revenge of the Electric Car Opening in DC

This is one film sequel we think will be well worth seeing. Chris Paine, who gave us the documentary film, Who Killed the Electric Car?, takes his film crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and Tesla Motors to chronicle the start of a era of electric cars. Revenge of the Electric Car follows the race to be first, best, and most iconic. The new documentary features CEO and President of Renault/Nissan Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk, Former Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz and EV do-it-yourselfer Greg “Gadget” Abbott.

“Fascinating and highly entertaining– with an irresistible cast of characters…and unprecedented  access to the inner workings of GM, Nissan, and Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors.”  Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

 “The strength of ‘Revenge’ lies in its storytelling. The film’s multithreaded, character-driven narrative humanizes corporate entities that (Paine) once portrayed as monolithic, making a complex business story more gripping for its intimacy … The stakes are staggeringly high. We get the idea that building electric cars isn’t merely an act of political or social significance, it’s a brutally risky endeavor demanding superhuman devotion.” Mike Spinelli, Jalopnik

Revenge of the Electric Car plays for one week only starting this Friday, November 25 at the E Street Cinema in the District. View the trailer here.

Save Waterways — Bring Your Own Bag  

Beginning January 1, Montgomery County retailers will charge five cents for each paper or plastic bag they provide to customers. The county government wants us to be ready for the change, and has created a thirty second video reminding us to bring our own reusable bags. The video informs us that “plastic bags are the single biggest source of waterway litter” that costs Montgomery County taxpayers $3 million a year to clean up. Spend 30 seconds here.

Upcoming Green Events

“Shopping Green and Local Holiday Fair,” Saturday, Nov 26, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm, Amicus Green Building Center, 4080A Howard Ave, in the West Howard Antiques District of Kensington. Amicus invites you to shop for green, healthy, and locally produced holiday offerings. They will have home goods and tools for eco-cooks and energy geeks; gift wrap and stationary (how about note paper made from recycled beer grain!); eco-travel options; adventure tours; Capital Bikeshare memberships; and other surprises. As a bonus, AmEx card members who register their card online (here: and spend $25 will get a $25 statement credit from AmEx.

Talk: “An Ozone Monitoring Garden,” Tuesday, November 29, 7:30 pm, Kensington Park Public Library, 4201 Knowles Avenue, Kensington. Monthly meeting of the Maryland Native Plant Society. Speaker Jeannie Allen is a Science Education Specialist for Sigma Space Corp at NASA Goddard. In summer, our area experiences ozone levels that are well above what is healthy for plants, animals, and people. Several common native plants are sensitive to ozone and, when over-exposed, show specific changes in their leaves. Learn how ozone is formed; how to recognize ozone damage and which plants may show it; hear an update on our regional air quality based on NASA observations of Earth from space. There will be refreshments. Pot luck refreshments are always welcome. Bring native plants for “give-a-ways.” Sign up to attend.

Lighting the Way to a Greener Community! First Thursday Happy Hour, Dec. 1, 5 – 8 pm. Redwood Restaurant and Wine Bar, 7121 Bethesda Lane. An evening of casual conversation and networking with Bethesda Green and Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light. Meet GWIPL Director Joelle Novey, and learn what local congregations are doing to save energy and go green. Complimentary vegetarian appetizers, Happy Hour drink specials. Contribution: $10 at the door will support both organizations. RSVP.

Maryland 2012: Legislation to Protect our Air, Land, Water, and People, Monday, Dec. 5, 6:30- 8:30 pm, Salisbury University, Guerrieri University Center – Nanticoke Room # 236, 1101 Camden Ave. Salisbury, MD 21801.  2012 will be a year with a continuing tough economy and budget cuts affecting our environment. Learn the issues from leaders in the environmental community, share what you think should happen in Annapolis, and hear from our elected officials. Refreshments will be served. RSVP for this FREE event.

Maryland-Asia Environmental Partnership (MD-AEP), 3rd Annual Energy and Environmental Leadership Series Banquet, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6 – 9 pm. Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (home of the world’s first sustainable aquaculture system), The Columbus Center, Baltimore. Philippines Ambassador to the United States, The Honorable Jose L. Cuisia will keynote the event. Also expected to attend are MD Secretary of the Environment Bob Summers, Secretary John Griffin of DNR, Chesapeake Bay Commission Director Ann Swanson and key Environmental Committee members of the MD General Assembly. Tickets are $90. When registering, type “BethesdaGreen” when prompted for a discount code and receive a $15 discount. More information and registration.

ACORE Phase II National Policy Conference: “Renewable Energy in America – Creating Security and Prosperity,” Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 am – 5:00 pm, Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building (& Reception, Dec. 6, 6:00 – 8:00 pm @ Folger Shakespeare Library). The American Council on Renewable Energy conference will explore the key policy issues related to increasing private investment in and use of renewable energy in both the electricity and transportation sectors, and will lay the groundwork for the 2012 US renewable energy market and finance policy agenda. Conference Website and registration. Discount available using code: SPT20BEG