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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

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 Residential Energy Rebate Funds Nearly Depleted

The Montgomery County Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program introduced in August 2011 is reaching the end of its $1.1 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding. To date, the program has provided incentives to 845 homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements to their single family homes, town homes and condominiums. Eligible improvements include the purchase of Energy Star kitchen appliances, duct sealing and attic insulation, to new furnaces and central air conditioning, among other things. Any given home may qualify for up to $3,000 in rebates.

A visit to the rebate program website indicates the fund has $0 left, but the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (MCDEP) has told us there is a very small amount of funding still available from program reserves. In addition, small amounts are anticipated to become available from projects that are not completed or liquidated.

To manage applications from this point forward, MCDEP is implementing a wait list process. A homeowner who qualifies and wishes to apply should go to the website and log-on and register as if applying for a rebate. The wait list will only take basic information. If funding becomes available, the homeowner will be emailed with instructions to log-in and complete the remainder of the application. This will all be done on a first-come, first-served basis.

What If I Have Already Been Approved?

Homeowners who have already been approved have their funds reserved for them. As long as they complete the agreed upon improvements, meet the program requirements and submit invoices within 90 days of approval, they should receive their rebates. If they miss the 90 day deadline, MCDEP says they will be notified by email that their rebate is in jeopardy. Failure to respond to that email may result in the loss of the rebate.

What If I Applied and Was Denied?

The DEP says it has adequate funds for homeowners who applied by January 29 who were denied, but from whom additional information was requested. “Those individuals will be our first priority to get approved so they can proceed with their projects,” said Senior Energy Planner Eric R. Coffman. Those homeowners should promptly clear up questions about their eligibility, (e.g., whether the equipment they are purchasing qualifies for the rebate) to avoid having the funds for which they applied released to others on the wait list. Coffman indicated his department would move very quickly to clear up outstanding questions and allocate the last of the funds to qualifying applicants.

O’Malley Renews Efforts for Offshore Wind Energy

The Legislature is in session, and Governor O’Malley has released his 2012 agenda. This year, the governor hopes to pass the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act that was put on hold in 2011 following debate in both chambers. This past autumn, the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee convened study sessions to examine policies and to weigh the benefits of offshore wind for the state. Maryland is obligated to develop renewable sources of electricity by a state law passed in 2008 requiring electric utilities to purchase 20 percent of the electricity they sell from renewable sources by 2022.

The bill before the legislature is designed to encourage private investment in wind energy by establishing an offshore wind renewable energy credit (OREC) similar to that created by a bi-partisan New Jersey legislature to facilitate offshore wind construction in that state. O’Malley believes that the OREC model he has proposed would enable at least a 450 MW project to be built, creating an estimated 1,800 construction jobs and 360 ongoing maintenance jobs. Wind advocates say the 100 or so ocean-based wind turbines could produce electricity equivalent to 70 percent of Maryland Eastern Shore’s current demand.

The bill would limit the anticipated rate impact to $2 per month for the average residential customer. The $2 increase would not take effect until 2017. Last fall, Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies conducted a poll for a coalition of environmental, business, labor and faith groups called Marylanders for Offshore Wind. The poll asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “I would be willing to pay $2 more per month on my electric bill if a greater percentage of my electricity came from clean, local offshore wind farms, instead of coming from coal, oil, and gas.” Sixty-two percent of respondents agreed with the statement.

Pepco Buys WaterShed

The University of Maryland announced on Monday (1/30) that it will sell WaterShed, the top prize winning home in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, to Pepco for an undisclosed amount. The sale was announced at a campus celebration honoring the WaterShed team’s achievement. Under the agreement of sale, Pepco will cover WaterShed’s outstanding project costs and pay for its transport and reassembly at a PEPCO facility in Montgomery County. The precise location has not been chosen yet.

The University of Maryland entry was awarded the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon architecture prize and declared the overall winner in a contest that included 19 other collegiate teams from Belgium, Canada, China, New Zealand and the United States. Decathlon competitors were challenged to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Like the other competition entrants, WaterShed is a solar powered home. Unlike the others, it also conserves, collects, filters and reuses water. Its unique design elements, such as “manufactured wetlands” that help reduce storm water runoff and its patent-pending indoor waterfall that provides humidity control in an aesthetically pleasing manner, set WaterShed apart from the competing solar homes.

“The WaterShed team took on a double challenge when it built a house that would run on the sun and address a significant source of Chesapeake Bay pollution, so its first-place performance on the international stage was more than a major source of pride,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “We’re extremely pleased that Pepco has agreed to provide a permanent home for WaterShed, so that its educational impact and research can continue.”

Under the arrangement, Pepco and the University will partner on the prize-winning home’s operation, monitor its performance, conduct ongoing research and work closely on designing educational materials about WaterShed. The house will serve as a “living classroom” and a “living laboratory” to demonstrate smart, clean energy options, blending its original technological and design innovations with Pepco’s own advanced technology, such as its smart thermostats and home-based electric vehicle charging stations. Pepco plans to open WaterShed to the public for conferences, educational presentations and occasional public tours. It will also serve as an energy testing facility. University researchers will continue measuring performance of its various systems to assess its long-term operation. Student members of the team that designed and built WaterShed will serve as docents once the facility opens, explaining to visitors the house’s capabilities and design features. (Photo: Jim Tetro)

Hudson Trail Outfitters Switches To Wind Power

Clean Currents, a leading retail provider of wind power in Maryland and the District of Columbia, announced on January 24 that Hudson Trail Outfitters (HTO) will purchase renewable wind energy for its Maryland and DC locations.  HTO has committed to purchasing Green-e Energy certified wind power from Clean Currents for 100 percent of its Annapolis, Rockville and Tenleytown stores’ electricity.

HTO’s switch to wind energy will avoid one-and-a-half million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually – or the equivalent of removing 133 passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year.

Hudson Trail Outfitters is a popular outdoor clothing and gear retailer that opened its doors in 1971. Today the company has stores in Fairfax and Pentagon Row in addition to Annapolis, Rockville and Tenleytown.

“Hudson Trail Outfitters exists only to be recognized as the leader in all things ‘Specialty Active Outdoors’ related – the company’s 40 year history has been rooted in health, in happiness, and in the preservation of the environment.  We believe that making the switch to wind power through Clean Currents supports the core initiatives of the company.  Today, HTO, Ltd remains focused on environmental awareness, community preservation, and on being an active participant in prolonging & maintaining the future growth of the environment around us,” said Sandy Cohan, General Manager of HTO, Ltd.

Clean Currents, which has supplied wind power through the grid to residences and businesses since its founding in 2005, now claims more than  9,000 residential and 500 commercial customers across Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Clean Currents is a registered Benefit LLC and B-Corporation.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with a locally based company that is similarly passionate about the environment as we are,” said Ron Rodriguez, Vice President of Business Development at Clean Currents.  “Providing clean wind power to Hudson Trail’s Maryland and DC locations represents a real synergy between companies that are dedicated to making our world a greener place,” added Rodriguez.

Upcoming Green Events

Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour: Warm up for Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb 2, 5 – 8 pm, The Wine Bar, Doubletree Hotel lobby. Join Bethesda Green for casual conversation and social networking. Win a romantic dinner for two at The OZ restaurant.

■ Hear about Bethesda Green’s community outreach plans

■ Briefing about new website,

■ Enjoy light appetizers

■ Happy-hour-priced beer, wine and specialty drinks

■ Raffle for gift card — dinner for two at The OZ, the Doubletree’s signature restaurant

RSVP through Meetup

Documentary film: “Bag It: Is your life too plastic?”  Saturday, Feb 4, 7:30 pm- 9:30 p.m.  Washington Ethical Society (library), 7750 16th Street, NW, Washington DC 20012 (0.7 miles from Silver Spring Metro Station; S4 Metrobus). “Bag it: Is your life too plastic?” is an eye-opening and funny documentary film that navigates the plastic world.  Are plastic bags necessary? What are plastic bags made from? What happens to plastic bags after they are discarded? The 65-minute award-winning documentary film will give answers to this questions.  65 min. movie followed by 30 min. discussion.  Snacks provided; $5 donation requested.  RSVPs helpful but drop-ins welcome. Sponsored by the WES Earth Ethics Committee. Email for movie information and RSVP: or call Sue Jacobson, 301-309-6731.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group Meeting, Wednesday, Feb 8, 4:00-5:30 pm at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. We’re on the second floor above the Capital One Bank branch on the corner of Woodmont and Cordell. 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.

Specifically, EOM:

■ Designs and schedules educational programs

■ Collects and shares best practices

■ Engages in general marketing for Bethesda Green

■  Manages all aspects of the website

■ Creates content for the newsletter

■ Uses online tools for outreach purposes

For more information, contact Bethesda Green Communications Director Dave Heffernan,

Green Matters: Urban Farming Pioneers, Friday, Feb 24, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Brookside Gardens. This year’s Green Matters will kindle your inner urban farmer and entice you to think about food production in wholly different ways. We’ll highlight innovative approaches to feeding the world’s population. For complete information about speakers and sessions, visit this page.

Bethesda Green’s Third Annual Fields of Green Internship Fair, Saturday, Feb 25, 10 am – 2 pm. 4825 Cordell Avenue, Second Floor above the Capital One Bank. The Internship Fair provides college-age young people an opportunity to meet representatives from a number of companies and non-profits offering job experience in the green business sector. More than 20 companies will be in attendance. Learn about academic and government programs, as well as a variety of internships, including those with our own Green Business Incubator companies.

Employers: Is your organization looking for some stellar interns this summer? Or, perhaps your organization has a need for interns year round?  If so, we have an excellent opportunity for you to participate in.  Right now we are in the process of inviting employers looking for highly qualified candidates to sign up to be a part of our internship fair.  Not only will you meet the candidates for the internships face-to-face on Feb. 25th but your internship posting will be widely shared among our diverse network as well as posted on our Fields of Green webpage leading up to the event.  In year’s past we have matched many amazing candidates with wonderful green job sector opportunities.

Help us develop the next generation of green leaders and promote local job creation by participating in the Fields of Green Internship Fair!  We accept both paid and unpaid positions at the fair.

Interested in Sponsoring the Fields of Green Internship Fair?  Get details HERE.

Have a job or internship to offer? Download and fill out the Job Description Form HERE.

Check out more details and internship opportunities here.

For more information, please contact Sharon D’Emidio at

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

by Dan Rudt

MoCo Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program Accepting Applications

Interested in upgrading your home to improve comfort, reduce energy costs and even boost long-term home value? Montgomery County, using a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, is offering a one-time program to help you pay for the costs of these improvements. The Montgomery County Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program offers incentives to homeowners for energy efficiency improvements such as insulation, heating and cooling systems, and appliances. Owners of single family properties and condominiums can apply for up to $3,000 of funding per applicant. The minimum rebate size is $500 (typically a $2,000 to $3,000 project). In order to be eligible, each applicant must have an energy audit from an auditor participating in the Maryland Home Performance with ENERGY STAR or a utility (e.g., Pepco, BG&E, Potomac Edison) audit program. Homeowners are encouraged to use these funds in concert with other incentives available from utilities, the Maryland Energy Administration and others. Detailed information on the program, audit requirements, application, as well as links to other sources of funding is located on the website

U.S. Homes Using Less Power

The Associated Press reported on September 7 that American households are consuming energy at a slower rate now than in the recent past, and the rate is expected to continue falling. The AP attributes the slowdown in consumption to several factors. Among them is the widespread use of energy efficient light bulbs, government programs (e.g., the Montgomery County energy efficiency rebate program in the article directly above), energy efficient new homes and energy conservation brought on by the poor economy. Energy experts, according to the AP article, expect household energy use to continue falling for years to come.

State Board of Education to Hear Appeals to Save Nick’s Organic Farm

The Maryland Board of Education decided on August 30 that 32 Potomac residents who filed complaints against the Montgomery County Board of Education have a right to be heard. The local board, which owns the land that Nick Maravell has farmed organically since 1980, agreed earlier this year to lease the Brickyard Road property to the County, which said it will work with a private recreation provider to turn the organic farm into soccer fields. The state board may take up the matter at their next meeting on October 25.

Maryland Clean Energy Summit Moves to Baltimore

Sorry about that, Bethesda. The 2011 Summit, originally scheduled for the Marriott North Bethesda Conference Center in late August, has been moved to the Hilton Inner Harbor in Baltimore. The new dates are Thursday, October 27 through Saturday, October 29. The program includes a free consumer trade show on Saturday 8/29 from 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. The Summit was postponed and moved because the Bethesda North Conference Center sustained damage caused by the August 23 earthquake.

Upcoming Green Events

Sustainability: Definitions and Implementation, Montgomery County Civic Federation meeting, Monday, September 12, 7:45 pm. County Council Building – 1st Floor Auditorium, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville. Speakers: Jennifer Bitting, Environmental Engineer, Dept. of Homeland Security; Doug Weisburger, Sustainability Programs, Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection, Eric Coffman, Senior Energy Planner, Montgomery County Dept. of Environmental Protection, Councilmember Roger Berliner, Chair, County Council Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment. More information.

Trans-Atlantic Symposium on Cleantech Innovation and Federal Contracting, Thursday, September 15, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. Johns Hopkins U., Montgomery County Campus. Networking and information event for renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transportation firms in the U.S. and Switzerland. The day includes a live video conference with PlanetSolar, the world’s largest boat powered exclusively by high-efficiency solar cells, which is on its first round-the-world voyage.

Bethesda Green Education, Outreach and Marketing (EOM) Group MeetingNewcomers Welcome! Thursday, September 15, 4:00 – 5:30 pm. This team of volunteers meets once every month to discuss Bethesda Green’s marketing and communications needs.

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.

Sustainable Office Seminar, Tuesday, September 20, 8:00-11:00 am, at Bethesda Green. Five sustainable office specialists offer concepts and practical tips to help people thrive in their office and make their company a “Best Place to Work.” Register here. For more information contact:

U.S. Dep’t. of Energy Solar Decathlon,  Friday, September 23 – Sunday, October 2, West Potomac Park, National Mall, Washington, D.C.  Competing collegiate teams (including University of Maryland) exhibit cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive solar-powered houses designed, built and operated by the students.  This free event includes tours of the solar homes, consumer workshops and award ceremonies for the winning teams.

2011 Bethesda Green Gala, Wednesday, October 5, 6:00 – 10:00 pm, Round House Theatre. The gala recognizes Bethesda Magazine’s Green Award winners for their inspiring work in the environmental community. This promises to be an evening of sharing and connecting as a community where we celebrate our greener future. More information.

The Maryland Clean Energy Center has launched a new Maryland Home Energy Loan Program (MHELP) enabling Marylanders to access unsecured, low-cost, funds for efficiency upgrades such as better insulation and higher-rated heating and cooling equipment.

See Clean Energy Loan Program for details.

A much-anticipated program for residents seeking to make energy improvements to their homes has been put on hold before it could launch, due to concerns raised by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the Montgomery Gazette reported last week.

The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) would lend up to $25,000 to homeowners who had received an energy audit and wanted to make renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Loan payments would be made over 15 years through a voluntary line item on the home’s property tax.

In this way, HELP would make it more attractive for homeowners to consider investing in energy improvements, which can be expensive.

The HELP loan would place a “first lien” on the property, so that if an owner defaults on their payments, the delinquent payments of the HELP loan would be paid off before the mortgage.

In policy-speak, HELP is a Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, one of many being proposed across the nation. A handful of states have successful PACE initiatives.

According to the Montgomery Gazette, the FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks, said July 6 that PACE programs would violate the agency’s principles in governing loans, and homeowners that obtain the loans could be in default of their mortgage agreement, face accelerated payments, and be prohibited from refinancing.

Eric Coffman, a senior energy planner with the county Department of Environmental Protection, said the county could not move forward with HELP with such risks hanging over the heads of homeowners.

Efforts are underway at the federal level to address the issue. The Gazette noted that the PACE Protection Act has been introduced in Congress.

Are you waiting for HELP to come before making energy improvements to your home? Discuss the issue here!

Useful Links:

Here’s what’s happening in green in Bethesda, Montgomery County and environs.

  • Stormwater Group Urges Increase in Fines–The Montgomery County Stormwater Partners Network wants the county to double fines for violating sediment control and illegal dumping laws. Sediment and pollution harm local creeks and affect the Chesapeake Bay. The current fine for a low-level, “Class A” offense is $500.
  • Retailers’ Open Door Policy: Enticement or Just Waste of Energy? Some Bethesda stores leave their doors open on hot summer days in order to lure shoppers inside. Bethesda Green suggests an alternative approach.
  • Vegans Find Oasis at Café Green–New D.C. restaurant offers healthful, mostly organic menu.
  • Rainscapes Rewards Rebates Return! After many inquiries concerning the release date of the new Montgomery County RainScapes Rebate application, the new process and approved rebate amounts are now available!  Notice that there are several changes to the process.  The RainScapes program promotes and implements projects on residential, institutional, and commercial properties to reduce stormwater pollution. Applications can be downloaded by visiting: or via the rebate page.
  • Water Quality Control Survey: Add Your Two Cents–Did you know the county Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is creating an improvement strategy that involves you?  Please take a minute to tell DEP your thoughts so that they can provide the best service to County residents and improve the health of our watersheds.  Take the Survey
  • ‘Hooray for the Bay’ Contest Highlights Benefits of Bay Plates–The Chesapeake Bay Trust is sponsoring a contest to raise awareness of the importance of Bay license plates. Ninety percent of the revenues from the sale of these plates goes directly toward Bay restoration and education programs. You can enter by writing and submitting a brief “Why I Love the Bay” message, or texting “BAYPLATE” to 24587, or submitting photograph one of 100 “Bay Factoid” signs planted in public places around the state. You could win a free Bay plate or $2,500! Get Complete Rules and Submit Entry

Local Green Events

  • Aug. 21, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – 19th Annual Native Plant Seminar & Sale at Irvine Nature Center — This event features lectures, workshops and a native plant sale. (Get Event Brochure-PDF) Cost is $60 for Irvine members, $70 for non-members. This native plant event is a favorite of the WhereYouArePlanted blog, a BG friend. Event Location: The seminar will be at Garrison Forest School, 300 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, Md.; the sale will be at Irvine Nature Center, 11201 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117. Phone: 443-738-9200
  • Aug. 26, 4-5:30 p.m. – Bethesda Green 101 – This monthly sessions for newcomers provides an introduction to Bethesda Green and ways to get involved as a volunteer or intern. More Info

Here are some of the latest stories and events from the green scene in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C.

  • How to Decipher Nutrition Buzzwords and Food Marketing Labels – The Post had a useful article by Melissa Bell last week about what some of the descriptions on food packages—such as “natural,” “organic,” “healthy” and others–really mean.
  • Solar Power to the People – Homeowners are winning decisions in and out of court against homeowner associations that want to block them from installing solar electric or solar hot water panels on their roofs, according to Maryland has a law limiting the ability of associations to issue blanket denials of homeowners’ requests to install rooftop solar systems.
  • P.G. Environmental Planning Proposal Draws Fire From All Sides – Planning officials in Prince George’s County are updating environmental regulations that affect stream buffers, water quality and woodland conservation. Environmentalists say the new rules won’t go far enough.
  • Wal-Mart Solar School Program to Put Panels on Some D.C. Schools – Wal-Mart recently announced it is providing a $1.2 million grant to put solar panels on 20 schools in five cities, including Washington, D.C.

Local Green Events

  • June 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. — Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour. Join us for casual conversation and social networking at The Wine Bar in the Doubletree Hotel, 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda.
  • June 3 from 8 to 9 p.m. — Author Kim Todd speaks at the Audubon Naturalist Society’s Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Md. She’ll discuss her new book, Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, which looks at the life of a pioneering explorer/​naturalist who traveled to South America in 1699 to study insect metamorphosis. RSVP to
  • June 3 at 7:30 p.m. — ReThink Montgomery Speaker Series — Health — In the final talk of this series, Joan Almon of the Alliance for Childhood will discuss the vital role of play and how planners can design and build spaces that make it easy for children to be active. Where: Park & Planning Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
  • June 7 at 7 p.m. — Film screening: ‘The Greening of Southie”See a revolutionary green building come to life! Eco-Coach presents the story of Boston’s first residential green building: a young development team makes bamboo flooring to dual-flush toilets a reality, despite job site skeptics and construction mishaps. Where: George Washington University, Duquès Hall, 2201 G Street NW. Please RSVP at the above link or e-mail with “film screening” in the subject line.
  • June 9 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. — DC Gulf Relief and Rally for an End to Oil at BP Gas StationHear a briefing from Aaron Viles, Campaign Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, who is on the ground assisting the recovery effort in New Orleans. Sponsored by Sierra Club. Where:  Logan Circle area, 1301 N 13th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
  • June 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Solar Bethesda ExpoCurious about solar? Ready to learn more? Come to Bethesda Green’s *free* Solar Bethesda Expo! There’ll be exhibits from 10 local solar companies, as well as the Maryland Clean Energy Center and other organizations. Hear local residents with solar homes talk about their experiences; learn about the generous solar tax credits now available; and use a satellite mapping station to find out if your home is well situated for solar.

Check the Bethesda Green Calendar for more upcoming green events in the community.

In a great bit of timing, the Maryland Energy Administration launched its Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program today. Maryland residents can apply for rebates for select models of the following three appliances:  Energy Star clothes washers ($100), Energy Star refrigerators ($50), and Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters ($300). Visit the rebate program Web site for more details. Marylanders must apply for the rebates through their electric utility company, and those companies will process all rebates. In addition, some utilities are offering their own rebates for these appliances. The website contains charts showing all possible rebates.

Happy Earth Day!

– – – – – –

p.s. — We have a few energy efficiency resources at Bethesda Green, including our energy efficiency program team, a list of Top 10 Easy Steps to Energy Efficiency, and a list of energy-related tax credits.

Piles of electronic debris -- dropped off for recycling -- lines the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School parking.

Electronic debris -- dropped off for recycling -- lines the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School parking lot.

Bethesda Green’s second e-cycling event in partnership with Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services June 7 drew over 700 people, disposing nearly 90,000 lbs of electronic debris at the Bethesda Chevy Chase High School parking lot.  Electronics scrap recyclers E-Structors, under contract to the county, filled more than two 18-wheelers with e-waste.

Electronics recycled included small electronic appliances, computers, copiers, cords and cables (including chargers), fax machines, microwave ovens, printers, telephones, televisions and much more.

E-Structors assures the absolute destruction of all sensitive data and guarantees environmental compliance with 100 percent recycling of processed materials.  For more information, see the Bethesda Green interview with Michael Caulfield, VP Sales for E-structors,  after the December 14, 2008, e-cycling event at Walt Whitman High School

Bethesda Green and Montgomery County plan to host another e-cycling event in the fall.  Stayed tuned for details.

The front page of today’s Washington Post caught my eye.  Opposite the lead story about swelling deficits, was a feature photo of the White green-shovelHouse pastry chef shoveling ceremonial dirt at a kick-off event launching the creation of a new vegetable garden on the South Lawn.  Both the story in the Style section and a preview article in Friday’s paper tout the benefits of home gardening and healthful eating.

Reinvigorating the simple pleasures of home-grown fruits and vegetables is also part of the Bethesda Green mission.  Just this month, we launched the Sustainable Food Working Group, chaired by Rana Koll-Mandel from Edible Chesapeake Magazine.  The working group, which includes Master Gardeners and local farmers, meets the first Tuesday every month.  

Among an ambitous set of goals outlined by the working group is educating the public about Montgomery County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Programs.  Like all Bethesda Green Working Groups, anyone is welcome to attend monthly meetings or get involved in some capacity.  Check our Calendar for more details.

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