December 2012


BG_HH_Jan13_eviteHappy New Year

To all our friends, associates, sponsors and supporters, Bethesda Green looks forward to celebrating our 5th anniversary with you in 2013, and we welcome your ideas, energy and commitment in sharing our mission to promote sustainable living practices and a healthy local economy.

We kick off the new year this Thursday,  Jan. 3, with a Happy Hour @ Redwood Restaurant, 5-8 pm.  In addition to enjoying complimentary appetizers, networking and casual conversation, we will share Green Resolutions for 2013.  Submit your green resolution to info@bethesdagreen.org to be eligible to win a $50 gift card from Redwood.

Click here for more info about the Jan. 3 Happy Hour.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

For my money, Green Resolutions always start with a re-commitment to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Reducing your consumption and reusing products help preserve our natural resources. Recycling paper, plastic, aluminum, scrap metal and a range of household and office materials divert these items from landfills.  Creating products from recycled materials also requires less energy and can save money in the long run. It’s a win-win solution!

Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services makes it easy for county residents to recycle a wide range of materials through its comprehensive and convenient programs and resources. The county provides information about how to recycle everything from plastic bottles to cooking oil. A variety of services and resources for businesses and residents are available, including some great waste reduction tips.

A while back, we published specific green resolutions — 5 Tips to Break Bad Habits & Get a Green Routine — aligned with the reduce, reuse and recycle theme, which we’re delighted to share again here.

What’s your green resolution this year?  Let us know so we can share them with others.

All the best in the coming year.

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by Susanna Parker
BGnews_logo

The Living Building Challenge Moves D.C. Toward a Sustainable Future

D.C. officials are set to create the city’s first “living building” as part of the Sustainable D.C. Budget Challenge. Living buildings focus on seven aspects: location, water use, energy use, health, materials, social equity, and beauty. Brian Hanlon, director of the District’s Department of General Services, explains that these buildings utilize design as a science, incorporating photovoltaic panels, geothermal energy, and biomass to produce as much energy as the building uses. Hanlon says, “We have to think of them as organisms in the living environment.”

Along with other sustainable District efforts like Canal Park’s storm water management system and the sustainable building plans for the new Ballou High School, the Green Living Challenge will be an important part of Mayor Vincent Gray’s Sustainable D.C. Initiative. The Sustainable D.C. Budget Challenge judged its entries based on cost effectiveness, potential for quick results, and the ability to meet sustainability goals, among other criteria. Mayor Gray says, “The city hopes to take the lead in what it means to be sustainable.” With projects such as the Living Building Challenge, the District will be able “to test the feasibility of major new investments and demonstrate a new way of doing business in the city government.”

For more information on the Living Building & Sustainable D.C. Budget Challenges, please read the full Washington Post article here.

Sister Eden With Ideas For Environmentally Friendly Holiday Gifts

Are you running out of time to complete your holiday gift shopping? Are you tired of buying gifts that might never be used? Lori Hill of Sister Eden has solutions for you.

Lori’s video, Gift Giving Tips for the Holidays, has tons of ideas for environmentally friendly gift giving. Concerned about the travel footprint? Buy local. Worried that your gift will never be used? Treat someone to a manicure or a massage.

With information about the impacts of various holiday gifts, plus plenty of alternative suggestions, Sister Eden’s video comes just in time to be the perfect stress relief for the holiday season. Take a look, and buy gifts guilt-free.

Events

  • Don’t Forget! GreenWheaton’s Alternative Lighting Program, Thursday December 20, 7-8:30 pm, All Eco Center, 2662 University Blvd, Wheaton.

Experts discuss Street Lighting in Wheaton MD.  Learn about the County’s plans for upgrading to more energy efficient lights and Wheaton’s prospects for approving more energy efficient/dark sky friendly decorative light fixtures for downtown Wheaton.  More info available here.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

dress it up dressing

Red Wine Vinaigrette is one of four varieties offered by Dress It Up Dressing

by Susanna Parker

Sophia Maroon has known for years that her mother’s salad dressing recipes were something special. A hit with everyone who tried them, her brother even said they were good enough to sell. Sophia laughed it off as a joke, but the idea stuck with her. After all, so many commercial dressings were bland, replacing quality olive oil with cheap substitutes, and full of unpronounceable ingredients.

Sophia wanted a healthy dressing with familiar ingredients, produced simply, locally, and in a sustainable manner. She wanted her salad dressing to be as healthy as the veggies it adorns. Sophia realized that her mother’s dressing was the solution to all these problems, and decided to test out her brother’s theory.

With advice from friends and family (plus a good helping of serendipity) Sophia got Dress It Up Dressing up and running. In its ninth month, Sophia’s mission is simple — to make a product she’s proud of, and to ensure that every salad is dressed to perfection.

A recent addition to the Bethesda Green Business Incubator, Sophia and Dress It Up Dressing are committed to sustainability. Dress It Up Dressing is inextricably tied to the environment and to the farmers that grow the produce the dressing tops, so there is a concern for the environment in every decision made. The olive oil that makes up the primary ingredient is sourced from Mediterranean farmers — though it travels farther, its environmental impact is actually less than that of olive oil produced in California.

To reduce Dress It Up’s travel footprint in other areas, the production facility is within 150 miles of the initial market areas of Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City. And though Sophia, like any small business owner, is concerned about the efficiency of the production process, she is “more motivated by the green line than the bottom line.”

Sophia is looking forward to making Dress It Up Dressing even more sustainable. The first goal is to transition the dressing to a fully organic product. The next step will be finding a green manufacturing facility, one that is LEED certified and powered by renewable energy. The final goal requires the cooperation of the local food industry — Sophia wants Dress It Up Dressing to be part of a local food hub, an organization that connects farmers with local and regional markets, helping the community to buy local and increase its sustainability. Maryland does not yet have a food hub, but Sophia looks to GrowFood Carolina for inspiration and motivation.

Dress It Up Dressing is available in four vinaigrettes; Apple Cider, Chocolate, Champagne, and Red Wine. If you’re debating which one to try first, keep in mind Sophia’s advice: “There are only four varieties, who says it has to be a choice?” Dress It Up Dressing is available at Whole Foods, MOMs Organic Market, Roots, Stachowski’s Deli, Bethesda Co-Op, The Organic Butcher in McLean, the Central Farm Markets, and online at www.dressitupdressing.com. When asked what has been her biggest accomplishment to date, Sophia says “Honestly, every day I get to work on this project feels like a success.”

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

by Susanna Parker

Montgomery County & Catalog Choice Work Together to Reduce WasteBGnews_logo

‘Tis the season for masses of unwanted catalogs stuffed into our mailboxes, cluttering our counters, and giving us headaches — but it doesn’t have to be!

Montgomery County has just announced a formal partnership with Catalog Choice, the free online service that has been helping us opt out of catalogs, credit offers, and other unsolicited hard copy since 2007. Working together, Catalog Choice and Montgomery County have created a dedicated website solely for Montgomery County residents and businesses. The website allows you to search for senders by name and request your removal from their database. To do so, you need the Customer Number and Key Code, which are both found on the mailing label. Once you’ve entered that information, you can submit your request to the company, and so long, junk mail! Do yourself and the environment a favor; opt out of unsolicited mailings, prevent that headache, and help reduce waste!

O’Malley to Push For Offshore Wind in 2013

Legislation to fund offshore wind farms has failed to pass the Maryland General Assembly twice, but that has not deterred Governor Martin O’Malley from his continued support of the plan.

According to the Maryland Gazette, in late November O’Malley sent a letter to President Barack Obama encouraging him to look to Maryland as a leader in clean energy options. O’Malley wrote that the state has “chosen to aggressively develop our vast offshore wind resources.” However, O’Malley’s plan may be imperiled by the potential expiration of the federal wind energy tax credits. These credits, set to expire New Year’s Eve, give energy companies 2.2 cents for every kilowatt hour of wind power they produce for the first ten years. This credit helps companies make the changeover to wind power without passing extra costs down to the consumers.

O’Malley supports the extension of these tax credits, but will push the offshore wind legislation regardless of the credit. There are still concerns about the language of the potential bill; State Senator Catherine E. Pugh argues that, since the bill is asking the public to pay for the changeover, there should be inclusiveness in ownership. Pugh is also a proponent of accessing Maryland’s natural gas resources, citing its lower costs and potential for job creation. Takkira Winfield, spokeswoman for the Governor’s office, says that while they’re hoping to introduce something similar to last year’s legislation, the details of the bill are still being worked out.

For more details, please read the full Maryland Gazette article here.

Upcoming Green Events

  • Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary Volunteer Day, Sunday December 16, 9 am – 12 pm, 15200 Mount Nebo Road Poolesville, MD.

Join the Washington Farm Animals Meetup Group for a volunteer day at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary non-profit organization whose 400-acre property serves as a refuge for both farm animals and wildlife. The volunteer activities will consist of feeding the refuge’s populations of goats, sheep, pigs, horses, chickens, turkeys, and rabbits, as well as cleaning their stalls and providing the animals with fresh water. RSVP via the Washington Farm Animals Meetup Group.  If this is your first time volunteering with Poplar Spring, please be sure to fill out and bring their volunteer application  and waiver.

  • GreenWheaton’s Alternative Lighting Program, Thursday, Dec. 20, 7 – 8:30 pm, All Eco Center, 2662 University Blvd, Wheaton, MD.

Experts discuss Street Lighting in Wheaton MD.  Learn about the County’s plans for upgrading to more energy efficient lights and Wheaton’s prospects for approving more energy efficient/dark sky friendly decorative light fixtures for downtown Wheaton.  More info available here.

  • Save Rock Creek Park Trees, Friday, December 21, 1 – 3 pm, Rock Creek Park trail head on Albermarle Street, NW.

Join the Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service to save park trees from the chokehold of English ivy, an invasive vine that grows up tree trunks and eventually weakens and kills its host tree. Volunteers will cut ivy from the trunks with hand tools which, along with gloves and training, will be provided onsite. To register, please visit their calendar at RockCreekConservancy.org.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.

by Susanna Parker

A Busy Week at Bethesda Green

This week is a busy one at Bethesda Green. Join us Wednesday evening for our Emergency Preparedness panel discussion, and be sure meet us Thursday at Parva Restaurant Bar and Lounge for our monthly networking happy hour. Hope to see you there!

Farm to Freezer a Finalist in the TEDxManhattan Challenge!BGnews_logo

Implemented in June 2012, Farm to Freezer works with Bethesda Cares and local farm markets to save leftover produce from being discarded. Farm to Freezer’s many volunteers have helped to turn 5,000 pounds of fresh gleaned produce into frozen vegetables and tomato sauce that will be used to provide Bethesda’s homeless population with nutritious meals year-round. After the resounding success of their first season, Farm to Freezer is ready to expand in a big way. One major step is their inclusion in the TEDxManhattan Challenge; if selected, Farm to Freezer founder Cheryl Kollin will speak at the 2013 New York TEDxManhattan event, and Cheryl’s presentation, “Changing the Way We Eat,” will be broadcast to viewers worldwide. But Farm to Freezer needs your votes! Voting is a simple click, with no personal information or registration required. The deadline is December 15, so please tell your friends and vote today!  To learn more about this challenge and their work, read Farm to Freezer’s full blog post here.

Savenia Labs Premiers Single Serve Coffeemaker Energy Ratings!

Savenia Labs is an independent testing laboratory that provides lab tested energy and environmental impact ratings on popular appliances. Their previous work includes toasters, microwaves, and dehumidifiers, among others, and they have just released their newest ratings: the world’s first ever energy ratings for single serve coffeemakers. The surge in popularity of Keurig brewers and Green Mountain coffee pods has turned these single serve makers into one of the hottest holiday gifts — but how efficient are they? Savenia Labs’ energy ratings allow consumers to make an informed decision, choose the most environmentally friendly makers, and the most efficient machines. Along with the newly released ratings, Savenia Labs’ blog features posts on all aspects of single serve makers, including waste generated, what is actually in those mysterious pods, and cost variations among brands. Be sure to check out their blog, read their press release, and be informed before you buy!

Upcoming Green Events

  •  Drilling Down: A Conference on Fracking Risks and Action in Maryland, Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 am – 4 pm, Langsdale Auditorium, University of Baltimore, West Oliver Street, Baltimore.

Hydrofracking is a hotly debated process that can lead to environmental problems like drinking water contamination and increased air pollution. The natural gas industry is applying for permits to begin the process of hydrofracking in Maryland, and we currently have no laws protecting our communities from the risks that come with it. The Drilling Down conference in Baltimore, presented by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, is a call to action for Marylanders to learn about this process and fight against its implementation in our state. The conference will include speakers such as Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, State Senator Jamie Raskin, author and head of the Environmental Policy Institute Lester Brown, and many more.

Registration is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Student tickets are available for $10. All tickets include lunch. For more information, and to register for this exciting event, please see Event Details.

Susanna Parker is a recent college graduate and volunteer with Bethesda Green. Her interest in sustainability leads her to look for green solutions in uncommon places.