electric vehicle


bggreennews_logo11Want To Do Something About Climate Change?
The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is organizing a series of public events drawing attention to proposals to transport liquified natural gas thru Maryland. Click here for details.

County Leading the Charge in Electric Vehicles
According to the Gazette, “Businesses across the county have been working to make it more convenient for the growing number of electric vehicle drivers to find a place to plug in and charge up, with about 15 percent of Maryland’s electric car charging stations now in Montgomery County.” Click here to see article.

Healthier Food in Schools
Seeking to find out why and how school food should be made more healthy, Real Food for Kids-Montgomery and Montgomery Victory Gardens recently hosted a community forum to get some answers. Click here for the Gazette’s coverage of the event. 

MD’s New Lawn Fertilizer Law Kicks in this Week
Maryland’s newly enacted Lawn Fertilizer Law prohibits the use of fertilizer products containing nitrogen or phosphorus during cold weather months. Click here for details.

Mow, Don’t Rake Leaves
While there’s still a few weeks left before the trees shed all their leaves, consider mowing your leaves into a healthy mulch for your yard. More 

Events

  • Bethesda Central Farm Market — Open Sundays, 9 am – 1 pm at the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot on Arlington Road, at the corner of Wilson Lane and Old Georgetown Road.
  • Support DC Greenworks — Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5 – 10 pm, 20 percent of sales at Le Grenier Restaurant, 502 H St. NE, Washington, DC 20002 will support DC Greenworks’ stormwater mitigation and green job training services in the District. More
  • Poultry Fair Share Town Hall Forum — Organized by Food & Water Watch, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6 – 7 pm,  6810 Eastern Ave NW, Takoma Park, DC. More detail here
  • Greening Your Retail Business — Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2 – 4 pm, All Eco Center, 2662 University Blvd, Wheaton, MD. Free seminar organized by GreenWheaton.  More 
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BGnews_logoBy Alison Wentzell

Climate Panel Warns Human Activity is the Cause for Warming

Recently, a draft of the International Panel of Climate Change’s “Fifth Assessment Report” has been leaked and the report looks bleak, according to an article in the New York Times.  The International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is a team of several hundred scientists that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with Al Gore. Although the team does not conduct any of their own research, it is their duty to analyze work done by other scientists and publish the most important findings regarding climate change.  Many governments rely on these findings to create policies and prepare for the future impacts climate change will have.

This year’s assessment report, which will be finalized in September, strengthened many scientists’ beliefs regarding the future of climate change.  The assessment’s first major finding is that human activity is the cause of the increase in global temperature.  In the past climate skeptics have dismissed the idea that global warming was the adverse effects of human activity, but something that happened naturally.  But now, scientists are about 95% certain that the rapid increase in global temperature since the industrial revolution is the cause of carbon emissions produced from human activities.  Scientists have also dismissed the recent notion of a slowdown in the pace of warming.

The draft also elaborates on how strongly correlated carbon emissions and global temperatures are.  The report states that the lowest possible increase would be 2.7 degrees Celsius, down from 3.6 degrees published in the “Fourth Assessment Report”.  However, the IPCC was quick to point out that just because 2.7 degrees is possible, doesn’t mean it’s likely.  If we continue with a business as usual mindset, then carbon emission will double in the next few decades, increasing the global temperature by approximately 5 degrees.  This will cause extreme heat waves, difficulty growing food, mass extinctions and changes in plant and animal life, and land ice to melt.  The melting of ice is one of the biggest concerns for scientists, since it will displace many communities and many of the world’s major cities.

The report will be finalized in September, but until then check out this article in the New York Times.

Students Succeed in Building Electric Vehicle

A group of 7 students in Sandy Spring Friends School’s Advance Placement environmental science class won fourth place in the 2013 DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix this summer, which was open to high school students in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.  In addition to placing fourth in the competition, the students’ car won Best Technical Innovation and Best Graphic, and the team won Best Team Photo.   The team started working in December, when they were inspired to create a battery powered vehicle as a class project.  In March they started to build the vehicle to make their idea a reality.  The students hit many roadblocks while working on the project, but they believe that they learned more from the overall experience because of these roadblocks than if the project had ran smoothly.

These students are the future innovators and designers of our country, and have proven that they have the potential to change the world.  Competitions like the DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix help to foster and motivate students to take action and prove that they can do something remarkable, not only for them but for the world.  I can only hope that these students will continue on the path of brilliance and someday change our society’s infrastructure, to create a greener, healthier world.

For the full article, check out the Gazette here.

Events

  • 4th Annual Bake Bethesda A Pie Contest, September 1st, 9am-12pm, Bethesda Central Farm Market, located at the Bethesda Elementary School parking lot

Come out to the annual “Bake Bethesda a Pie” contest and help raise money for Mana Food Center!  Last year over 200 people attended for the judging of more than 45 different pies.

  •  Happy Hour, September 5, 5pm-8pm, The Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, 5220 Wisconsin Avenue

 Join Bethesda Green for their First Thursday Happy Hour at The Courtyard and have a chance to win a raffle, get discounts on wine, beer, and cocktails, and delicious appetizers.  Also, meet the people protecting the local watershed—Cabin John, Little Falls and Rock Creek.  There is a $10 entrance fee and the proceeds are shared with local watershed groups.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

by Susanna Parker

MD to study risk of hydrofrackingBGnews_logo

Responding to grassroots efforts across the state of Maryland led by advocacy groups such as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), Gov. Martin O’Malley announced that $1.5 million of his state budget will be set aside to study the risks posed by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. This is a big victory for those concerned about hydrofracking in Maryland and will ensure that the General Assembly has all the facts when the debate over its use begins in earnest.

CCAN urges the General Assembly to pass a fracking moratorium banning all drilling until the studies into the risks of all facets of the fracking process — water contamination threats, climate impacts, air pollution, and others — can be completed. Delegate Heather Mizeur and Senators Bobby Zirkin and Jamie Raskin will be introducing a moratorium bill this week. 

Mercury Emissions Treaty Adopted

On Saturday, after four years of debate and negotiations, more than 140 nations agreed to and adopted a new treaty to reduce harmful emissions of mercury. Mercury has been known to be a poison for centuries, but is still regularly released from burning coal and degrading electronics, and is used as a component in batteries and paints. Because mercury is an element, it cannot be created or destroyed, but its continued use and release into water and air has led to negative effects on human health and the environment.

Mercury is known to bio-accumulate in fish, so it becomes more concentrated as species higher on the food chain (such as humans) ingest it. Because mercury causes nerve damage, pregnant women and young children face the highest risks. The push for this new treaty began more than a decade ago, as Switzerland and Norway urged the international community to create and enforce regulations on mercury emissions. For more information on the treaty, please read the full Huffington Post article here.

Upcoming Events

  • What’s It All About Series: A Year in the Life of an Electric Car Owner, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Poolesville Town Hall, 19721 Beall Street, Poolesville, MD

Presented by Poolesville Green, this informative session will discuss the nitty gritty of owning an electric car. Local owners of Nissan Leafs and Chevy VOLTs will be there to answer questions about the good, the bad, and the ugly of owning an electric vehicle. Topics will include the differences between hybrid vs. full electric vehicles, specific information on where and how to charge electric vehicles, the impact on your electric bill, and all tax rebates and credits that are awarded to owners of electric vehicles. RSVP requested, visit PoolesvilleGreen.org or email your response to PoolesvilleGreen@gmail.com

  • 19th Annual CCE Legislative Summit, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 4:30 – 6:00 pm, Miller Conference Room, Miller Senate Building, Annapolis, MD

Presented by the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, the Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit will include talks from Maryland’s top legislative leaders and environmental advocates about the priorities of the 2013 General Assembly Session. With pressing issues like hydrofracking on the table, 2013 will be a vital year for clean air and water legislation, so please come out to show your support! Together Marylanders can lobby for strong policy and a healthy and safe environment. Please register at www.marylandconservation.org.

  • Green Drinks Annapolis, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, O’Brien’s Oyster Bar & Restaurant, 113 Main Street, Annapolis, MD

The Maryland Environmental Legislative Summit gets people talking, but there is no need for the conversation to end with the Summit — join environmentalists, scientists, local officials and interested citizens for drinks and conversation at Green Drinks presented by Annapolis Green. Green Drinks provides the environmentally minded the chance to chat, network, and get to know one another in support of an important cause: the health of the Chesapeake Bay. No RSVP required, cash bar. All electric eCruiser vehicles will be on hand to offer free rides from the Miller Building. For more information, visit annapolisgreen.com.

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

Lester Brown and the Crisis of Peak Food 

Peak oil is a term we’re all familiar with, but it is looking as though the most worrying shortage of the 21st century will not be petroleum, but food. Lester Brown, founder of the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, goes into detail in his new book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity. Anca Novacovici of The Huffington Post discussed these potential shortages with Brown, who argued that we’re going from an era of food surplus to food scarcity. Some of the causes include ethanol production competing for a share of the world grain output, aquifers being depleted faster than they can replenish themselves, rice and wheat yields plateauing, and the continuing erosion of topsoil. Brown states that, to combat this scarcity, nations must work on increasing water productivity, improving access to family planning, increasing energy efficiency, and investing in renewable energy. To learn more about food scarcity, visit the The Huffington Post for the full article.

Bethesda’s Navy Exchange Is LEED Gold Certified, and Looks Out For Electric Cars

The Navy Exchange’s new store in Bethesda will serve military families all over the Metro area, has achieved LEED Gold Certification, and will provide four ChargePoint electric vehicle charging stations, the first at a Navy Exchange facility. Located in the two-level parking garage adjacent to the Navy Exchange, these spots are specifically reserved for eco-friendly, low emissions vehicles. Sold and installed by Green Power Technology, these ChargePoint stations are a crucial part of the Navy Exchange’s efforts to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. Pat Romano, President and CEO of ChargePoint, praises the Navy Exchange for this decision, stating that “Offering EV charging services… is an important endorsement for the future of electric vehicles.” For more information about the ChargePoint, Green Power Technology, and the Navy Exchange, please visit Herald Online.

Upcoming Green Events

If Black Friday got you down, and the prospect of visiting the mall in December leaves you cold, check out the 14th Annual Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair. This yearly fair features 14-18 charities striving to make our world a better place, highlighting their work and providing the community easy opportunities for charitable donations. Last year the fair raised over $25,000 for local, national, and international charities! This year the fair will also feature live music, raffles, kids activities, a bake sale, and refreshments. Come by, get in the holiday spirit, and help your community!

Come join us next Wednesday as a panel of Montgomery County and metro area leaders discuss emergency preparedness in the DC area. Learn what items your family should have stocked in case of a weather or human-caused disaster, the role of local, state, and federal governments during an emergency, what plans the County has in place for situations like Hurricane Sandy or derecho storms, and much more.

Please RSVP to Sharon D’Emidio at sharon@bethesdagreen.org if you plan to attend this important and informative event.

Kick off the holiday season with our monthly networking happy hour! This month, we are excited to host this event along with Interfaith Power and Light, whose associated congregations will share their efforts to save energy and go green. Enjoy complimentary appetizers in the restaurant’s beautiful second floor lounge; donation requested at the door.

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.

Happy Election Day! Be sure to get out and vote

by Susanna Parker

Bethesda Named “Bicycle Friendly Community”

The League of American Bicyclists named Bethesda as one of its 28 new “Bicycle Friendly Communities.” Bicycle Friendly Communities are those that welcome cyclists by providing safe accommodations and encourage residents to bike for recreation, transportation, and fitness. Encouraging bicycling leads to community benefits including reduced traffic demands, improved air quality, increased fitness, and a higher quality of life. Bethesda has been awarded the Bronze designation, signifying that the community has made improvements in each of the “Five Es” of Bicycle Friendly Communities: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning.

See Montgomery County Council press release for more details.

DC Region Not Prepared for Increased Electric Vehicle Usage

In a report released October 2012, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) analyzed the region’s current and future use of electric vehicles and the challenges of establishing a regional readiness plan for more e-cars on the road in the future. While electric vehicle usage in the DC region currently is relatively low compared with Portland or Los Angeles, consumer interest is growing, and the region’s charging infrastructure and policy frameworks are not prepared for more e-cars on the road.

The report issued by COG contains recommendations to remove barriers to electric vehicle adoption and mitigate negative impact on the electrical grid. COG states that local governments will play a critical role in the DC region’s electric vehicle readiness. Zoning, building codes, permitting, and inspection processes can all ease the way to the installation of charging equipment, while incentives, infrastructure readiness, and low permitting costs will contribute to reducing barriers to greater e-car usage.

Link here to see the full report.

Upcoming Green Events

Share energy saving tips and learn about incentive programs that can help you reduce your gas and energy bills. Talk about what you hope to do in your own home, get information on getting started with home energy efficiency, and learn how to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

RSVP to ryan.sober@maryland.sierraclub.org

  • Farm to Freezer at Silver Spring Farmers Market, Saturday Nov. 10, 9am-1pm, Downtown Silver Spring, 916 Ellsworth Drive, Silver Spring MD

Featured at the Bethesda Green National Food Day event, Farm to Freezer’s organic tomato sauce was a delicious hit. Stop by the Silver Spring Farmers Market to say hi, buy some sauce, and watch a cooking demo on making Ratatouille from frozen veggies. Proceeds of the sales go to support Farm to Freezer and its work with Bethesda Cares.

  • Meet N’ Greet With the Nature Conservancy, Tuesday Nov. 13, 6:30-8:30pm, Founding Farmers, 12505 Potomac Park Avenue, Potomac MD

A green social hour hosted by the DC/MD chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Socializing, networking, and a presentation by John Myers, deputy director of The Nature Conservancy’s Carribean Program. Registration required, and the event is $15/person.

RSVP to getoutside@tnc.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 Dan Rudt

County Requests $1 Million for Bikeshare Program

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has, for the fifth time in three years, submitted an application to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for a $1 million grant to fund a bike-sharing system in down-county transit corridors. What is different about this application? It is the first since the state government announced a bike-share grant program this past November.

If approved, the grant will fund 29 docking stations and 204 bikes between the Beltway and the D.C. line. The docking stations will be located at several Montgomery County Metrorail stops on both branches of the Red Line and will be integrated with the Capital Bikeshare system in D.C. and Arlington.

Montgomery County previously secured a $1.3 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant for a bike-sharing program in portions of the City of Rockville and Shady Grove. That grant is provided through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments under the FTA’s Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) program to link lower income residents and employers with jobs and job training. The City of Rockville is partnering with the County to provide matching funds and implement the program. The Rockville/Shady Grove bike-sharing program will eventually be connected with the proposed down-county system as it expands.

The new bike-sharing application requests 80 percent of the funding needed for capital facilities. The County would be responsible for the remaining 20 percent, which it intends to raise through private sector sources. The County also will be responsible for operating and maintenance costs, some of which are expected to be offset by revenues from membership and usage fees.

Building developers, businesses, residents and other organizations in the County that have an interest in bike sharing are invited to contact the County’s bike-share program staff at  mcdot.bikeshare@montgomerycountymd.gov  to explore opportunities for joint funding, as well as to suggest locations for bike-share stations.  

Montgomery County Food Council Taking Applicants through Friday

The Montgomery County Food Council aims to bring together a diverse representation of stakeholders in a public and private partnership to improve the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of Montgomery County through the creation of a robust, local, sustainable food system. The Food Council Search Committee selects and appoints between 13 to 17 representatives for a two-year long term as Montgomery County Food Council Members. Members are selected based on their individual qualifications in the following areas:

1. Commitment to improving the Montgomery County food system.

2. Lives, works, or has a strong interest/investment in Montgomery County.

3. Expertise in one or more local food-related issues such as agriculture, food security and access, nutrition, food business and industrial practices, food education and research, land use, urban food production and distribution.

4. Representation of one of the five food-system sectors (production, processing, distribution, consumption, waste management) and one of the following “working communities”:

 ■ Business Community

 ■ Local Governance

 ■ Community Organizations and Citizens

 ■ Health and Educational Organizations

 ■ Rural and Regional Organizations

5. Capacity to bring specific food system relationships and resources to the effort, as well as potential to represent diverse sectors of the local food system and/or the community at large.

The application process closes this Friday, January 13. Council members will be selected by Friday, January 27 and the first general meeting of the Montgomery County Food Council will be on Wednesday, February 15. Application and more information here.

Thirteen Green New Buses for Ride On

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently announced the addition of 12 new hybrid electric-diesel buses and one new non-hybrid clean diesel or ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) bus to the existing Ride On fleet.

For many of us, the word diesel conjures up images of foul smelling black sooty exhaust. Today’s clean, or ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, however, contains 98.5% less sulfur than the diesel fuel of two decades ago. In addition, the newer diesel engines inject a solution into the exhaust stream to help reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Finally, today’s diesel engine exhaust systems include an emissions-reducing device called a particulate filter that traps most of the remaining tiny particles of soot in the exhaust. Given all these emission reduction measures, and the fact that diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, taking the bus today does more to curb air pollution than ever before.

Of course, these are not the first green buses for Ride On. Eighteen percent of the 339 bus fleet is now hybrid electric-diesel, another 19 percent are non-hybrid, ultra-low-sulfur-diesel, and 27 percent run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

The new buses, made in the USA by Hayward, California-based Gillig, were purchased with $6.55 million in federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funds provided by the State of Maryland. They will be used on Ride On’s busiest routes in the down-county and mid-county areas.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Wednesday, January 11, 4:00 – 5:30 pm., 4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank. A team of volunteers, EOM supports all of Bethesda Green’s communication efforts. From recycling to energy efficiency, sustainability to green building/design, EOM expresses the organization’s various areas of expertise in a clear and concise manner via various media.  New members are welcome to join. More information here, or contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, 13th Annual Conference, “Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality,” January 13-14, National Conference Center, Lansdowne, VA. Two keynote addresses on local food economies, six learning tracks, pre-conference workshops, farmer panel on advocacy and much more! Information and registration here.

MLK Day of Service 2012, Monday, January 16, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Montgomery County will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and at two satellite site locations (Universities at Shady Grove in Gaithersburg and the Silver Spring Civic Building). That is followed by a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Strathmore Hall at 4 pm. Volunteers can sign up to participate in this exciting event and learn about the great work that local organizations are doing, find out ways to get involved, and make a difference. More information and registration here.

Help the Hungry Food Drive:  Support those in need by bringing non perishable food items to the Bethesda North Marriott.  Food collection will be located near the Montgomery County Volunteer Center table.  Donations will go to Manna Food Center.

TEDxManhattan 2012: Changing the Way We Eat, Saturday, January 21, 9:00am – 5:30pm, at Bethesda Green. This all day, free event is a combination of live video from TEDxManhattan and local sessions at Bethesda Green. The event will highlight several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. Speakers with various backgrounds in food and farming will share their insights and expertise.

Learn about our burgeoning local food movement and opportunities to engage in our community, here in Montgomery County. No need to stay for the whole day. Drop in as your schedule allows. Local co-hosts of this event are Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures and Slow Food D.C.

Information about the New York speakers is here. The Bethesda program is outlined here, where you will find a registration link as well.

2012 “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by CCAN, Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:00 am, The Beach at National Harbor, Maryland. For seven years, groups of people who care have plunged into cold bodies of water in our region to fight climate change, bring back the Arctic sea ice, and save polar bears. The Polar Bear Plunge is the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s biggest annual fundraising event. The money raised during the plunge goes to support programs to combat global warming at the state level in our area. Information here.

BG 101, Wednesday, January 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Dan Rudt is the editor of Montgomery County Sustainability News,  or MoCo-Sustain.com serving the local area with environmental sustainability news, information and events.

by Dan Rudt
Editor, Montgomery County Sustainability News  

EV Chargers Coming to Bethesda, Rockville

Electric vehicle charging stations are coming to Bethesda Row, Rockville Town Square, and Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike. Miami-based Car Charging Group will install Level II, 240-volt, EV charging stations, manufactured by Coulomb Technologies at the three sites, all owned and/or managed by Rockville-based Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Drivers will have access to the ChargePoint® Network, an online network connecting EV drivers to unoccupied charging stations. That access means EV owners will have flexible payment options, mapping and driver support services and the ability to make reservations through their mobile apps.

“Besides the obvious environmental benefits, a big advantage of electric cars will be the ability to conveniently charge your vehicle when you’re already stopped somewhere on your daily routine,” said Michael D. Farkas, CEO of Car Charging Group.

Federal Realty has taken other steps toward environmental sustainability. Mike Kelleher, director of asset management for the company stated, “The partnership with Car Charging Group to install EV charging stations is the next step in the continual greening of our operations, which already includes the creation of biofuels through recycled oil and grease waste from restaurants at our Bethesda Row mixed-use development, LEED certifications at many of our recent developments as well as numerous energy efficiencies and minimized usage of natural resource at a number of properties throughout the portfolio.”

Very Special Food Event at Bethesda Green

“Changing the Way We Eat” is the topic of an all-day, free event at Bethesda Green on Saturday, January 21. No, it’s not a diet seminar. It’s a day of talks about the growing sustainable food movement here in Montgomery County and around the world – and how we can all hop aboard. The day will be split between live video sessions from New York City and local sessions in Bethesda where attendees can learn about the new Montgomery Food Council, preview a portion of a documentary-in-progress about our local food system and the Montgomery County Ag reserve, share a pot luck lunch of local winter foods, and meet others who are interested in a local sustainable food system. Click to the Bethesda Green event calendar for the where and the when and for more detailed information.

SemaConnect is Growing Fast

One year ago, SemaConnect was a startup with two employees. Today, the Annapolis-based company has a staff of twelve. By this time next year, the Maryland Clean Energy Center reports in its December newsletter, SemaConnect founder and CEO Mahi Reddy expects that number to double. His company’s product is an electric vehicle (EV) charging station.

The company developed the ChargePro, with features such as smart grid integration, RFID card authentication and sustainability reporting. SemaConnect also partnered with solar companies, including Advanced Technology and Research (ATR) Corp. of Columbia and TimberRock Energy Solutions of Frederick, to create EV charging stations with solar voltaic panels built onto them.

“This autumn,” the CEC reports, “the company raised $4.2 million to support increased production and signed a deal with 350Green, a California-based developer of EV charging networks, that will see 1,500 ChargePro units installed in California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and elsewhere. Company officials estimate that recent developments will push SemaConnect’s revenues close to $5 million in 2012.”

” ‘When you talk about green collar jobs, these are the green collar jobs,’ ” Reddy said. ” ‘They are jobs that pay well and are right here in our state and really help establish our state as a clean tech industry leader. So I think this is all coming together and I am so happy to be part of it.’ “

Announcing an Environmental News Website Devoted to Montgomery County

This week marks the introduction of a new local Website, Montgomery County Sustainability News, or MoCo-Sustain.com. The site is dedicated entirely to publishing daily (M-F) news and information that impacts the environmental sustainability of Montgomery County. MoCo-Sustain.com includes links to local resources, and calendar listings of local environmental events, as well as the latest news. The Website is edited by Dan Rudt, who will continue to provide this column of Green News & Events for Bethesda Green.

Upcoming Green Events   

First Thursday Happy Hour @ BlackFinn, Thursday, Jan. 5, 5-8 pm, 4901 Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda. Ring in the New Year w/Bethesda Green. Join us for casual conversation and social networking.

What’s your New Year’s Green Resolution?

Jot it down with your name and email address. Bring your Green Resolution to the Happy Hour for a chance to win a BlackFinn gift card. We’ll share ideas and publish highlights on our website.

* Hear about upcoming Bethesda Green events
* Meet members of our Green Business Incubator
* Learn what you can do to make a difference in your community

RSVP through Meetup

Free Screening of Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? January 9, 2012, 7:00 pm, Brookside Gardens Visitor Center. Presented by GreenWheaton, with Brookside Gardens, Silver Spring Green and Safeway.  Join us to watch this engaging film about how single-use plastics affect our environment and our health — and simple steps we can take to reduce this waste.

Chronicling the global production, use and disposal of plastic bags and other plastics, the film documents the environmental consequences of these products, including the effects of plastics on a wide range of species, lands, waterways and oceans. Traveling the world on a fact-finding mission, the film also identifies smart alternatives and solutions. Plastic will never look the same again! Directed by Suzan Beraza. Produced by Suzan Beraza and Michelle Hill.

Free reusable grocery bags from Safeway will be available at the event on a first come first served basis.

The event is free, however, tax deductible donations to GreenWheaton are appreciated.

Please register now as seating is limited.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting – Newcomers Welcome! Wednesday, January 11, 4:00 – 5:30 pm., 4825 Cordell Ave., corner of Woodmont Ave., Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank, Bethesda.A team of volunteers, EOM supports all of Bethesda Green’s communication efforts. From recycling to energy efficiency, sustainability to green building/design, EOM expresses the organization’s various areas of expertise in a clear and concise manner via various media.  New members are welcome to join. More information here, or contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan, dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, 13th Annual Conference, “Farm to Institution: Making Local Food Economies a Reality” January 13-14, National Conference Center, Lansdowne, VA. Two keynote addresses on local food economies, six learning tracks, pre-conference workshops, farmer panel on advocacy and much more! Information and registration here.

MLK Day of Service 2012, Monday, January 16, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Montgomery County will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center and at two satellite site locations (Universities at Shady Grove in Gaithersburg and the Silver Spring Civic Building). That is followed by a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Strathmore Hall at 4:00pm. Volunteers can sign up to participate in this exciting event and learn about the great work that local organizations are doing, find out ways to get involved, and make a difference. More information and registration here.

Help the Hungry Food Drive:  Support those in need by bringing non perishable food items to the Bethesda North Marriott on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  Food collection will be located near the Montgomery County Volunteer Center table.  Donations will go to Manna Food Center.

TEDxManhattan 2012: Changing the Way We Eat, Saturday, January 21, 9:00am – 5:30pm, at Bethesda Green. This all day, free event is a combination of live video from TEDxManhattan and local sessions at Bethesda Green. The event will highlight several aspects of the sustainable food movement and the work being done to shift our food system from industrially based agriculture to one in which healthy, nutritious food is accessible to all. Speakers with various backgrounds in food and farming will share their insights and expertise.

Learn about our burgeoning local food movement and opportunities to engage in our community, here in Montgomery County. No need to stay for the whole day. Drop in as your schedule allows. Local co-hosts of this event are Bethesda Green, Full Plate Ventures and Slow Food D.C.

Information about the New York speakers is here. The Bethesda program is outlined here, where you will find a registration link as well.

2012 “Keep Winter Cold” Polar Bear Plunge sponsored by CCAN, Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11:00 am, The Beach at National Harbor, Maryland. For seven years, groups of people who care have plunged into cold bodies of water in our region to fight climate change, bring back the Arctic sea ice, and save polar bears. The Polar Bear Plunge is the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s biggest annual fundraising event. The money we raise during the plunge goes to support our programs to combat global warming at the state level in our area. Information here.

BG101, Wednesday, January 25, 4:00 – 5:30 pm, at Bethesda Green. Join us for an orientation about Bethesda Green, our history, upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

Dan Rudt is the editor of Montgomery County Sustainability News, a daily news Website serving the local area with environmental sustainability news, information and events. 

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