Solar Bethesda


BG.GreenHome_logoby Jennifer Roe

Are you interested in greening your home?  Do you want to save money and create a healthier environment for your family?  If so, plan now to attend Bethesda Green’s 4th annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday, May 11, 10 am – 3 pm.

The event will be held at the Bethesda Green offices, 4825 Cordell Avenue, 2nd floor above the Capital One Bank. All are invited to attend this FREE community event, explore and participate in workshops, and discuss practical ways to green your home.

Representatives from the Montgomery Department of Environmental Protection Energy and Pepco will answer questions about costs, benefits, tax credits, and other incentives.  Learn about the advantages of going solar in your home!

Local green businesses will showcase products and services that can help homeowners go green.  Participating companies and organizations include: Solar Energy World, Standard Solar, ecobeco, Growing SOUL, Savenia Labs, A.I.R. Lawn Care, Bethesda Systems, Energy Squad.  Click here to see a complete list.

Workshop topics will include:

  • Composting 101: In Your Home or Backyard
  • Deep Green Homes, Living in Harmony with Nature and not the Utility Company
  • Community Solar Power Purchasing: Solar Power for the other 80%
  • County, State and Federal Tax Benefits for Energy Efficiency and Solar Power
  • Efficiency Incentives: Pepco Rebate Programs for 2013

Learn more about the Solar & Green Home Expo and see a detailed program schedule here.

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by Susanna Parker BGnews_logo

Re-Inventing the Wheel for Studying Snakeheads 

Snakeheads, the invasive species that’s been the bane of the Potomac since 2004, have been granted a mild reprieve by local governmental agencies. While the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service still recommends that fisherman kill and report any snakeheads they capture, the Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries, along with its DC and Maryland counterparts, has begun a new monitoring program geared toward understanding the snakeheads’ impact on local ecology. The program, which covers four tributaries of the Potomac, sends out workers to capture, measure, tag, and release snakehead fish. John Odenkirk, biologist with the VA Dept. of Game & Fisheries, says that its been hard to determine whether the snakeheads actually have a negative impact on the Potomac watershed. He points out that the area is practically a fish factory, and has more than enough resources to feed the increasing number of new mouths. So while he does not advocate for the snakeheads, he finds it hard to strongly advocate against them without more conclusive data.

That’s where the monitoring program comes in. Because the snakeheads are native to Africa and Asia, many of the scholarly papers discussing their behaviors and life cycle are not written in English. Those few that have been translated are not peer-reviewed. Thus, there is little to no substantiated information about their impact on local water systems and ecological niches. The monitoring program relies on electrofishing to capture the snakeheads. This form of fishing involves electrified anodes whose currents shock, but do not kill, nearby fish, causing them to float to the surface and be easily netted. Typical of the snakeheads’ difficult nature, these fish do not succumb easily to the shock. Rather than float to the surface, snakeheads expel all the oxygen from their air bladders. While this gives off a tell-tale series of bubbles, the expulsion causes them to lose their buoyancy and sink to the bottom of the stream bed. Odenkirk says that this behavior means that he and members of the program have one shot to catch the fish before they’re no longer within reach.

Once the fish are captured, they are measured, tagged, and released. If the team catches a fish that has been previously captured, they record its growth. Odenkirk says that the team is gathering as much data as they can on the life cycle of the fish, including spawning cycles, spawns per year, average growth per year, and habitat differentiation between adolescent and adult snakeheads. The more information that Odenkirk and his team can gather, the better we will be able to understand the impact of this invasive species.

For more information on the snakehead monitoring program, please watch the video at The Washington Post.

Hurricane Sandy’s Impact Continues to be Felt

Though its been six months since the superstorm touched ground and devastated New Jersey and New York, Hurricane Sandy’s impacts are still being felt up and down the East Coast. A report released last week revealed that one of the major effects was the spillage of 11 billion gallons of sewage from East Coast treatment plants into streams, canals, and roadways. 90 percent of the spills occurred in New Jersey and New York, the states that were arguably hit hardest by the hurricane. Of the sewage, approximately 3.5 billion gallons was raw, untreated, and unfiltered. The remaining 7.5 billion gallons were partially treated.

Alysosn Kenward, researcher at Climate Central and author of the recently released report, states that the report has revealed “just how vulnerable the system is to floods, storms, and climate change,” and points out that, “our system isn’t designed to handle these kinds of storm surges and the sea-level rise associated with climate change.” According to Climate Central, the state of New York will need to spend about $2 billion to repair damages to the sewage treatment plants, while New Jersey plans to allocate $1 billion for repairs.

For more information, please read the full article on The Huffington Post.

Upcoming Bethesda Green Events 

  • Bethesda Green Education, Outreach, and Marketing Group Meeting, Wednesday May 8, 4 pm – 5:30 pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue

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; for information contact Bethesda Green’s Director of Communications Dave Heffernan at dvheffernan@bethesdagreen.org.

  • Bethesda Green’s Fourth Annual Solar & Green Home Expo, Saturday May 11, 10 am – 3 pm, 4825 Cordell Avenue

Join us for our 4th annual Solar & Green Home Expo, an information-packed showcase event featuring many green home expert services and solar providers. The goal of this event is to provide homeowners and other interested parties an opportunity to get the latest information about area services and incentives to green their homes. Local area green home businesses will display their services throughout the Bethesda Green office space while individual workshops related to greening your home will be conducted throughout the day. To learn more about his free community event, please visit the event page here.

Upcoming Partner Events 

  • Bike to Work Day 2013, Friday May 17 6:30 am – 8:30 am, Reed Street (Corner of Woodmont Ave & Bethesda Ave)

Get your wheels turning at the 2013 Bike to Work Day! Presented by Bethesda Commuter Solutions, the Bethesda pit stop will feature DJ entertainment, state and local dignitaries, tons of raffle prizes and giveaways, bike maintenance checks, and plenty of food and drink to fuel your commute. The grand prize in the raffle will be a brand new bike from Griffin Cycle! To learn more about the event and to register, please visit Bethesda Transportation Solutions.

  • Run for the Animals! Saturday May 19, 8:30 am, Wheaton Regional Park

Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary is holding its 10th Annual Run for the Animals! The 5k run and 1 mile fun walk is a fundraiser dedicated to supporting the lifesaving work Poplar Spring does everyday. From the warm up, running and walking on the scenic trails, the dog and people raffles, the prizes, and the abundance of food, a good time will be had by all. Register online at http://poplarspring.kintera.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.

GrowingBusiness_logoPlans are under way for an exciting calendar of Bethesda Green programs and events for 2013. Here’s a sneak peak of what lies ahead:

Finance Workshop Series & Venture Forum
Bethesda Green has launched a series of workshops and a venture forum to help grow the green business economy in the region.  The  next workshop on the schedule, Thursday, Jan. 31: What Investors Are Looking for and How To Pitch.

Fields of Green Internship Fair
We will host our 4th annual Fields of Green Internship Fair on Saturday, Feb. 9. This is a great opportunity for young people to line-up internships with companies and non-profits offering job experience in the green business sector.

“Changing the Way We Eat”
Saturday, Feb. 16, we will once again host a TEDxManhattan “Changing the Way We Eat” official viewing party — a day-long series of live-webcast presentations broadcast from New York.  A special feature of the event includes a presentation by Cheryl Kollin about Farm to Freezer by Full Plate Ventures and Bethesda Cares, a program Bethesda Green helped launch in 2012.

Solar & Green Home Expo
Saturday, May 11, be on the lookout for our 4th annual show connecting residents with vendors in the green service sector.

Reel Water Film Festival
A new addition of the Bethesda Green portfolio, the 2013 film festival will be presented in the heart of downtown Bethesda early summer.

Farm Tours
Later in the summer, around July and August, Bethesda Green will focus on local and sustainable food in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve.

Bethesda Green Gala
As we round the corner into autumn 2013, we will celebrate our 5th anniversary with the annual Bethesda Green Gala in early October.

We hope to see all of our Bethesda Green friends at one or many of our upcoming events.

For more information about Bethesda Green plans for 2013, please contact Program Manager Sharon D’Emidio, sharon@bethesdagreen.org.

Bethesda Green invites homeowners to Solar Bethesda, June 25

Become more energy independent, save on your utility bills and contribute to a healthier environment

Solar power has never been more affordable, thanks to technological advances and generous government rebates and tax credits. If you are a homeowner or commercial energy consumer, Solar Bethesda is a free, one-day event where you can have your questions answered by solar experts. Learn about solar costs, benefits, rebates and tax credits; hear from neighbors about their experience with solar power or solar hot water; check your home’s solar readiness with satellite mapping; and meet with local solar contractors.

Peggy Dennis, President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, attended the inaugural Solar Bethesda in 2010 and, as a homeowner with recently installed solar panels, is participating in a residential roundtable discussion at this year’s event.

“Coming to Solar Bethesda last summer gave me the inspiration and information I needed to go forward with the process of having solar panels installed,” said Dennis. “The companies I worked with were great at making everything from paperwork to installation go very smoothly, and now we’re enjoying the benefit of having electric bills that are almost non-existent.”

Sponsors and exhibitors include leading solar solution providers, as well as other energy and financing experts from the public and private sectors, including lead sponsors Standard Solar, Kenergy Solar, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, and Solar Energy World.

Solar Bethesda takes place Saturday, June 25, 10 am – 4 pm at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, above the Capital One Bank at the corner of Cordell and Woodmont in Bethesda. Attendance is free and we will have activities for the kids. Please RSVP at http://www.bethesdagreen.org.

Here’s what’s going on in green this week.

  • 2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards Call for Nominees — Bethesda Magazine is accepting nominations for its first Green Awards, which will recognize businesses, non-profits, communities and individuals that are leading the local fight to protect the environment. Deadline for submissions is July 1, 2010. Winners will be profiled in the November/December issue of Bethesda Magazine and recognized at the Bethesda Green gala on Oct. 7, 2010. The Green Awards are presented by Bethesda Magazine in partnership with Bethesda Green.
  • DC Second on Green Roofs List, Baltimore Fourth The industry group Green Roofs for Healthy Cities says Chicago led the country last year with more than 500,000 square feet, while Washington was second with about 190,000 square feet of green roofs. Baltimore was fourth with almost 100,000 square feet.
  • Rockville’s New Green Building Codes Applauded – The rules may make the city a more attractive location for future development.
  • County Moves Forward on Start-up Program for Farmers – Woodstock Equestrian Park is top choice for Montgomery County farm incubator program.
  • Community Groups Seek to Grow Gardens at Schools – County residents try to get Superintendent Jerry Weast to reverse his stance.

Local Green Events:

  • June 8 – Prince George’s Green Drinks – Join the Prince George’s Green Power Coalition–a loose group of businesspeople, local government officials, nonprofit professionals, “green-collar” workers, and union folks–for a Green Drinks evening of socializing and networking. 6:30-8:30 pm at the DuClaw Brewery in the Bowie Town Center (4000 Town Center Blvd. Bowie, MD 20716).
  • June 9 – Smart Growth Speaker Series – Peter Harnik, Director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land, will discuss “Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities.” Sponsored by the U.S. EPA, ICMA, the National Building Museum and the Smart Growth Network. Takes place at the National Building Museum, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • June 12 – Solar Bethesda, A Free Solar ExpoThis event at Bethesda Green will feature local solar-panel installation companies, energy organizations, speakers and panel discussions about the ins and out of adding solar to your home, plus  online satellite mapping to determine your home’s readiness. We’ll also have info about the various solar energy tax and purchasing incentives. RSVP now! Solar Bethesda will run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., June 12 at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd Floor, Bethesda, Md.
Solar electric panels grace a roof on Lisa Heaton's home in Bethesda.

Solar electric panels grace a roof on Lisa Heaton's home in Bethesda. (Photo by Lisa Heaton)

It’s getting hot—and humid—here in the Washington, DC, area. Learn how you can put all that solar radiation to work for you—and how much more affordable it is now, thanks to federal, state and local incentives.

Join Bethesda Green at our first annual Solar Bethesda Expo, Saturday, June 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  It will take place at the Bethesda Green offices, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd Floor, in Bethesda, Md.

Solar Bethesda’s Gold Sponsors are Solar Energy World and the Maryland Clean Energy Center.

We’ll have exhibits from 13 local solar and energy companies, including one station where you’ll be able to view your home using satellite mapping—to determine how suitable your site is for a solar power system.

Representatives from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and the Maryland Clean Energy Center will be there, too.

You can get info on costs, benefits, various types of solar equipment, tax credits and other incentives. We’ll have one discussion about solar purchasing cooperatives. There will also be a panel discussion featuring local residents who are living with solar systems.

Solar Really Pays for One Neighbor

One Bethesda homeowner who will be on the panel is Lisa Heaton, who had a 4.5 kilowatt solar electric system installed on her roof in May 2009. It cost her about $5,000–after a federal tax credit, a Montgomery County grant of $5000, and a Maryland grant of $10,000. And she’ll earn back her investment fairly quickly, thanks to much lower electric bills. To wit:

In 2009, their first calendar year with solar, Lisa and family paid a total of $591 for electricity. From January through April 2010 they paid $117.  In comparison, during their last full year with only Pepco power, they paid $2,035–so they saved $1,444 on electricity that first year and this year they’ll probably save around $1,684. At that rate, the system will pay for itself in another two years. Plus they are generating their own electricity with no emissions!

And that doesn’t even count the months, such as this past April, when the Heatons generated more electricity than they used, resulting in a $53 credit from Pepco!

So it does pay to go solar! And solar hot water systems are even less expensive.

Come to Solar Bethesda, Saturday, June 12, and find out if solar is right for your home!

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EVENT INFO:

Solar Bethesda expoSolar Bethesda

When: Saturday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., 2nd Floor, Bethesda, Md. (we’re in the Chevy Chase Bank building!)

Click Here to RSVP

[Do you already have solar? Tell us about your experience by leaving a comment!]