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Nonprofit organizations can help shape new workspace in Bethesda and win $250!

Graceful Growing Together, Inc. (GGT) is planning a new nonprofit-focused space in downtown Bethesda and wants to know how it could serve your organization in the years to come. GGT is asking those working with nonprofit organizations to take its online survey and share information about their future space needs with its planning team.  The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete.

Everyone who completes the survey by March 30, 2012, will be entered into a drawing to win a $250 grant for their organization. Your response is not binding for any obligation but will assist with planning for nonprofit space in Bethesda for future generations.

The survey is ready to complete online. Nonprofit organizations throughout the area are encouraged to respond.

Bethesda Green Gala

Bethesda Green Gala

There are less than two weeks until the Bethesda Green Gala, Thursday, October 7 at Imagination Stage. Be sure to register by this Thursday, September 30; there will NOT be any refunds for registrations made after that date. Registering makes you eligible to bid in our green auction, which features green gifts, services and products!

Some more info:

  • You may claim $40 of the registration price as a tax-deductible donation to Bethesda Green.
  • We now have 24 items in our auction; register for the Bethesda Green Gala now to be able to bid! We’ll open online bidding for some items this week.

Don’t miss out on this special Gala event, which will feature emcee Bob Levey (former Washington Post columnist) and the presentation of the first-ever Bethesda Magazine Green Awards. We’ll see you there!

Bethesda Green Gala

Bethesda Green Gala

Here at Bethesda Green, our mission is to serve as a model for environmentally sustainable living and business practices — and to grow new green businesses in our Bethesda Green Business Incubator. We provide information to people and organizations about reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, and building cleaner, healthier communities; and we help guide the nascent green firms in our program.

Now we want to recognize the environmental efforts of the Green Champions in our community, those people, businesses, other organizations and communities that are walking the walk when it comes to green living and business practices.

Please join us for a celebration!

Bethesda Green Gala

Thursday, October 7

6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Imagination Stage in Bethesda

“An evening of inspiration, celebration and recognition of local green champions, highlighted by the presentation of the 2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards.”

The evening will include the presentation of the inaugural Bethesda Magazine Green Awards, heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and a dessert reception. Plus we’ll have a silent auction of environmentally friendly gifts and services.

We received more than 120 nominations for the Bethesda Magazine Green Awards. From these, a panel of judges chose 7 winners in 5 categories:  People 18 and younger, people 19 and older, communities promoting and implementing green practices, businesses or non-profits that have created innovative green products or green services, and businesses or non-profits that have significantly incorporated green practices into their culture and operations.

Come out and celebrate green achievements! Visit the Bethesda Green Gala web page for details and registration information.

See you October 7!

Here are some of the latest green news stories and events for Bethesda and Montgomery County, Maryland.

  • Restaurants Brace for Gulf Oil Spill Fears: Potential customers want to know if seafood is available and whether it is tainted or not, according to this article in the Montgomery Gazette.
  • Some BP Stations See Drop in Sales Due to Oil Spill Backlash: Local station owners say anger is misplaced; some endure reduction in business up to 50 percent. AAA says sales have fallen across the nation.
  • Grass-roots Gripes About Artificial Turf Gain Traction: After being pushed by concerned parents and environmental groups, the Montgomery County Council has asked three county agencies to conduct a study of the costs, risks and benefits of artificial turf fields versus natural grass fields.
  • How to Conquer the Invasive Lionfish? Eat It Until It’s Gone: The relentless invasive predator is decimating coral-reef ecosystems in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The solution for this endangered species, according to a Washington Post story: Catch and sauté it, until it’s gone from its non-native range.
  • Goldman, Bethesda Green Among Washington’s Green Giants: Washingtonian Magazine has a “Green Giants” online feature that includes Bethesda Green co-founder Seth Goldman. The print edition (May issue?) also mentions BG Executive Director Dave Feldman.

Local Green Events

  • July 13, 6:30 p.m. — RePower at Home Meeting in Bethesda: Montgomery County Kick Off meeting of RePower at Home at the Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd. Learn how to make energy improvements in your home a breeze.  RePower at Home explores ways to reduce home energy usage. Repower at Home is project of the Alliance for Climate Protection, a national nonprofit group. RSVP to Brenna Muller, brenna.muller (at) climateprotect.org.
  • July 13, 7-9 p.m. — Green Night Out with Green DMVThis fundraiser for non-profit group Green DMV features Van Jones and will be hosted by NBC4’s Wendy Rieger. Green DMV promotes clean energy and green jobs in low-income communities across America as a pathway out of poverty. Takes place at the Longview Gallery, 1234 9th Street, NW.
  • July 14, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. — RainScapes Overview Program Class: This class will be a general overview of the RainScapes program with special emphasis to landscape contractors but all are welcome to attend to learn more about the program. Class highlights will include Rainscapes techniques design criteria, how to earn and properly fill out a Rebate application as well as an introduction into program opportunities in the Targeted Neighborhoods in the County.
    The class will be held at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center in Bethesda at 4805 Edgemoor Lane, 2nd floor from 9am-1pm.  Pre-requisite: Must have attended a previous training course to attend.  To register and get info, e-mail Rainscapes.application@montgomerycountymd.gov.
  • July 27 and 28, 7-8:30 p.m. — Help Shape the Future of Parks and Recreation in Montgomery County! Montgomery Parks, M-NCPPC, and the Montgomery County Recreation Department are hosting public meetings to share the results of Vision2030 research, and to seek public feedback on how best to address key issues and needs identified through our survey and focus groups. Input will help guide the long-term planning for our county’s parks and recreation services, facilities, and programs.  For more information go to:  http://visionmontgomery2030.org/.  There will be two sessions:
  1. Tuesday, July 27, 7-8:30 pm, Park and Planning Headquarters, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
  2. Wednesday, July 28, 7-8:30 pm, Upcountry Regional Services Center, Room A, 12900 Middlebrook Road, Germantown
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!

– – – – – –

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!]

Fields of Green Internship Fair

Fields of Green Internship Fair

If you’re a young adult ages 17-24 who is looking for an internship in the environmental or “green living” fields, then don’t miss the inaugural Fields of Green Internship Fair taking place in Bethesda in late March.

You’ll be able to talk to representatives from 23 companies and organizations such as the Green Summer Job Corps, Green America, Clean Currents, Honest Tea, Bethesda Green and more! Be sure to bring copies of your résumé (see a complete list of what to bring).

Here are the details:

Fields of Green Internship Fair
Saturday, March 27 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (Get Directions)
Session 1: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Session 2: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, go to the Fields of Green Web site at http://fieldsofgreen.web.officelive.com/Index.html.

On the Web site you’ll also find a list of available internships. The folks at Bethesda Green are updating the list regularly—and we’ll be keeping it live and active after the fair. So it will continue to be a great resource for those people who miss the Fair. (If your organization needs interns and would like to place a classified ad on this site, contact Rosalie at volunteer@bethesdagreen.org.)

Author Anca Novacovici will speak at the Fair about her book, ‘DC Metro Area Green Career & Jobs Guide,’ which will be on sale for $20.

The Fields of Green Internship Fair is a Bethesda Green initiative, sponsored by Reznick Group.

Jennifer Kaplan speaks at Bethesda Green.

Jennifer Kaplan speaks at Bethesda Green.

One author and two Pepco program representatives brought a big message for small businesses to Bethesda Green, Tuesday, March 9: Going green can save your business money, with a modest amount of effort.

Jennifer Kaplan discussed her book, ‘Greening Your Small Business,’ which came out last fall. Her top three tips: Use less, buy and source locally, and start small. In the use less category, she recommended turning off your company’s computers at night to save energy. Also, consider getting rid of your fax machine and instead sending and receiving faxes electronically (this saves paper and electricity).

Buying and sourcing locally means you’ll pay lower transportation costs for those items (and eliminate environmental impacts of long-distance transport). Buying locally also supports the local economy and has a cultural impact in your community—you get to know your suppliers, who are more likely to help you with custom orders.

As for starting small, Kaplan said businesses should consider doing the little things—such as buying recycled products and using less paper—that can add up when multiplied by the 29 million small businesses in America. Her book offers dozens more tips and examples of small businesses implementing green practices across the country.

Kaplan is an adjunct faculty of marketing at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., and founder of Greenhance LLC, a business consultancy that provides marketing and communication strategies to small businesses going green.

Speakers at our March 9 event.

(L to R) Pepco's Manuel Vera, author Jennifer Kaplan and Pepco Commercial Energy Savings program manager Nick Keller

The two other speakers, Nick Keller and Manuel Vera of Pepco’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Savings Program, discussed how small businesses can qualify for rebates for making energy efficiency improvements.

Keller noted that companies can save about 30 percent on their energy bills with very little effort. The program helps offset costs for energy efficient upgrades in three ways: providing rebates of certain dollar amounts for certain products, such as lighting; providing custom rebates for other energy-saving solutions companies come up with; and reimbursing energy efficiency training costs for building managers, up to $1,000 or 80 percent of the training.

In addition, the program has a network of trade contractor allies that are pre-approved to do energy efficiency work.

Companies seeking a custom rebate must get pre-approval from the program. Keller noted that the program’s funding comes from electricity bills; you’re paying for it, so might as well take advantage of it. To learn more, visit pepco.com/business and click on “Energy Efficiency Programs.”

Some 20 people attended the lunchtime event and there was a lively Q&A after the presentations. Access Montgomery TV filmed the event; they’ll use some of the footage in the ‘Think Green’ TV show, which airs Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. on Channel 21 on RCN, Comcast and Verizon services.

Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman noted that Bethesda Green will be launching a program for small businesses in May, in partnership with the Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. Stay tuned for details.

Do you know ways small businesses can go green and save money? Have you implemented such actions at your small business? Post your comments here!

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