Water systemby Jennifer Roe

Susan Bierly, president of IMC Water Coolers, is proud to be associated with Bethesda Green by providing the office with a bottle-less water cooler. Staff and visitors not only enjoy high-quality, refreshing water but appreciate that the water system aligns with Bethesda Green’s values. The IMC Water Cooler eliminates the need for plastic bottles, reducing environmental impact. IMC is a 25-year-old company that, according to Susan, “takes pride in serving the Washington DC market.” They provide a full line of filtered water coolers, home filtration systems (sink, ice, bar, shower, etc.), BRITA Hydration Stations and Mobile Water Refill Stations.

IMC has been providing a bottle-less water cooler system to Bethesda Green ever since Susan met with Executive Director Dave Feldman and rediscovered that they had worked together years ago.  It was then that Susan decided IMC would donate the cooler and the service in support of the Bethesda Green mission to build a more sustainable community.

Headshot Susan

Susan Bierly, president of IMC Water Coolers

Using bottle-less water systems “creates a domino effect,” Susan explains. By reducing the number of water bottles, the fuel, water and wasted resources that go into manufacturing plastic bottles is greatly reduced, allowing consumers who purchase IMC Water Coolers to have a smaller footprint on the planet. In addition, the coolers have a Sleep Mode® where the cooler will reduce the amount of energy it is using by 30% anytime it senses darkness. According to Susan, a study showed that over a 10-year period, 60-70% of energy was saved with an IMC system compared to a traditional water cooler. Therefore, these coolers help protect earth’s natural resources and help save energy.

In the future, Susan would like to see further development of energy efficient products. She hopes that marketing and branding of IMC continues to increase consumer awareness on the high-quality of filtered tap water, encouraging people to reduce consumption of bottled water.  IMC is passionate about educating the public on how drinking filtered tap water can have economic advantages for companies and individuals while protecting the earth. As people continue to reach for plastic water bottles, we are using more oil and natural resources than we can afford, therefore if businesses and homes reduce their consumption of bottled water by switching to filtered tap water systems such as IMC, it would make a big difference, one water cooler at a time.

To learn more about IMC Water Cooler services for your home or office, visit their website at www.imcwater.com.

Jennifer Roe is a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she received her Master’s in Environment and Development.  She is passionate about building a just and sustainable food system where every individual has the opportunity to lead a successful, healthy life.

by Susanna Parker

Orin Schepps, CEO of Consultance Accounting Services, is no stranger to community involvement. His company has a longstanding commitment to both corporate and personal social responsibility, supporting a variety of nonprofit organizations with missions that include promoting theater and cultural arts, protecting DC’s water supply, and Consultance Accounting Serviceshelping restore tree cover to communities around the world. In addition to providing pro-bono financial guidance and bookkeeping services to Bethesda Green and other groups, the firm donates 5 percent of its fees to qualified nonprofit organizations of their clients’ choosing.

Orin got involved with Bethesda Green after hearing about its mission and approached Executive Director Dave Feldman with his offer of help. The relationship has been meaningful on both sides, leading to new associations and further involvement in the local green business community. Consultance Accounting Services does more than just support green business – they have adopted green practices as well.

Despite handling 180,000 pieces of documentation, Consultance uses a paperless system for all their bookkeeping and accounting services, saving trees and conserving resources.  They do more than work in a paperless environment – all of Consultance’s services are offered remotely, allowing each employee to work from home, reducing gasoline usage and cutting emissions to the environment. Consultance Accounting Services also helps its clients to go green, assisting them in their changeover to paperless processing for their accounting and bookkeeping needs.

In addition to adopting more green practices in Consultance’s future, Orin has hopes that more firms in the accounting industry and other businesses in general will go paperless. He explains that, with technology that is readily available, paper files are needed less and less in today’s business world. With nearly 4 billion trees cut down annually, just for paper, imagine the positive impact on the environment if all businesses went paperless.

Consultance Accounting Services offers accounting, bookkeeping, comptroller, and CFO services for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Visit their website at http://consultancellc.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 Rachel Jaffe

In March 2010, Bethesda Green hosted its inaugural “Fields of Green” Internship Fair to promote green jobs throughout the region.  Among the 35 organizations recruiting interns at the event was the Maryland Energy and Sustainability Co-op (MESC), led by its “Energetic Director” Mike Kennedy, one of the companies in the Bethesda Green Business Incubator.

At the event, Kennedy found four of the five interns working with him this summer.  These interns stand as a reminder of how one successful program can in turn promote other successes.  All of the interns are working for him, not because of the excellent pay (in the form of gumballs and pizza), but the opportunity to simultaneously help themselves gain experience in the workforce and add their voices to the growing movement of awareness about humanity’s impact on the environment.

Miranda Hitchcock, Nick Booth, Claire Lafave, Mike Kennedy, and Julia Chartove (L-R) from the Maryland Energy and Sustainability Co-op

The interns are helping grow MESC, to create a “template for getting green goods and services from pre-qualified businesses into the hands of consumers” as Kennedy puts it.  Yet, though the interns are crafting the bridge between the technology and the people, the vision and the implementation, a relaxed feeling pervades the office.  Julia Chartove, a student at Swarthmore University, loves her ability to “set your own direction,” which she has used to expand her ability to design websites off of a platform.  Claire Lafave, loves the cooperative spirit in the organization and the chance it gave her to extend her skills as an English major at Williams into writing advertisements and grants. Nick Booth, a junior at Wisconsin, marvels at how in a few months “other people’s passion” for environmental stewardship morphed into a cause that he too cared about.

MESC stands as a shining example of the success both of Kennedy’s ability to balance the freedom to explore one’s individual interests and getting down to business, as well as Bethesda Green’s desire to constantly be bringing more people into the environmental community.  To help us continue our success past the summer months, come to one of our First Thursday Happy Hours or the upcoming October 7 Gala.

Rachel Jaffe is a Bethesda Green intern and a student at Stony Brook University.

Join Bethesda Green for casual conversation and social networking

Summer heat got your down?  Cool off with us at Union Jack’s British Pub

Thursday, August 5, 5 – 8 pm

Union Jack’s British Pub
4915 St. Elmo Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Enjoy selected appetizers courtesy of our sponsor Solar Energy World

Discount drinks and food

Hear a short presentation from Ralph Smith, owner of Smith Design/Construction and member, Bethesda Green Board of Directors

Learn about The Fish Mystery: What’s in Our Water? Potomac Conservancy campaign

Union Jack’s Gift Certificate raffle

A contribution of $5 is requested at the door

Union Jack’s will donate 10 percent of sales to Bethesda Green

RSVP through Bethesda Green Meetup

March 8, 2010 marks an important date in the growth of Bethesda Green.  Today, courtesy of Trevor Stone and a generous in-kind contribution from Jack Stone Signs, new street signs festoon the lamp posts outside our office.  The Landover, MD-based company also added a sign to the front door (see below) and another inside in the lobby area.

We’ve occupied the space above the Chevy Chase Bank branch for a little more than a year.  Then, in late summer,  Donohoe Construction Company led a team of subcontractors and suppliers that completed a major build out in October 2009 as we officially launched our Education Center and Green Business Incubator.

And, we’ve got more changes coming soon, to the interiors and the banners we display at events.  A sign may not seem like much, but we feel it’s an emblem of what we’ve accomplished, a symbol of permanence that we’re moving in the right direction with much more yet to come.  Thanks to everyone for making it happen.

Toast in the New Year!  Join Bethesda Green today, Thursday, January 7, 5 – 8 pm at the Redwood Restaurant, one of the new Bethesda Row restaurants within the Bethesda Lane pedestrian mall, 7121 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Enjoy casual conversation, social networking, learn about upcoming programs and events, and help support Bethesda Green.  Redwood is donating 10% of sales.

See you this evening, or at a First Thursday Happy Hour in the future.  Check our Events page for updates.

Concerned about climate change and growing energy costs? Together we can make a big difference!

Join your friends and neighbors in Bethesda Green’s GreenerLiving program and learn concrete, practical steps you can take to impact the environment by saving energy in your home and on the road.  Free spaces limited to first 50 enrollees.  RSVP with name, address and telephone to info@bethesdagreen.org.

The GreenerLiving Program is an educational program that can help you:

  • Measure and track your energy use
  • Learn how your energy use impacts the environment
  • Reduce your energy use
  • Save money
  • Gain control

It’s up to you how far to go. GreenerLiving can help you track your energy use automatically with online tools at EarthAid.net and offers discounts on home energy audits. With your individual energy profile in hand, you can do as much or as little as suits you. GreenerLiving can help show you the way through workshops, website information and other educational tools.

From replacing light bulbs to making energy efficiency upgrades or even installing a solar or geothermal system in your home, the GreenerLiving program will provide guidance to help you:

  • Understand your options
  • Choose a good vendor
  • Take advantage of tax and financing programs and incentives
  • Learn and share best practices
  • Obtain special discounts on products and services
  • Calculate potential savings, payback periods and environmental impact

Join us for the first workshop and orientation

At Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, second floor above the Chevy Chase Bank branch.  Please choose one workshop and RSVP to info@bethesdagreen.org.

— Saturday, October 24, 10-11:30 am, or
— Wednesday, October 28, 7-8:30 pm

Ongoing classes on Saturdays, Nov. 7, 21 and Dec. 5, starting at 10 am.

The ribbon-cutting at Bethesda Green, October 1.

Cutting the invasive-species ribbon at Bethesda Green are, from left to right: Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman, Honest Tea TeaEO Seth Goldman, County Councilmember George Leventhal, County Executive Ike Leggett, Maryland State Senator Brian Frosh and Maryland State Delegate Susan Lee.

Our Grand Opening was a big success!

The festivities began with a VIP reception the morning of October 1, followed by a “ribbon”-cutting ceremony on Cordell Avenue. County Executive Ike Leggett gave a short speech, as did Honest Tea TeaEO Seth Goldman, Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman, County Councilmember George Leventhal and a few others. A representative from the governor’s office presented a proclamation declaring October 1 “Bethesda Green Business Incubator Day.”

The dignitaries then cut a “ribbon” made from an invasive-species vine donated by American Plant.

Several hundred people visited our newly renovated Education Center and Green Business Incubator that day and hundreds more came the next two days. A team of our student volunteers helped collect recycling at the Taste of Bethesda, October 3. Check out our news page for clips about the Grand Opening event.

Thanks to all the supporters, donors and volunteers who made the event happen! The large turnout reflects the huge amount of community support and interest we’ve received. And this is just the beginning!

Each month we’ll host a series of panel discussions, workshops and seminars around a green topic — October’s is ‘Energy Efficiency: Reducing Your Carbon Footprint.’ Our offerings include a Green Your Business seminar series and the GreenerLiving Bethesda educational program.

To see what else we have on tap, check our events calendar or the upcoming events page.

November’s programs will focus on the theme of ‘Healthy Harvests: Local and Organic Food Options.’ We hope to see you at Bethesda Green!

Recycling Team gathers before taking to the streets at the Taste of Bethesda October 3, 2009.

Recycling Team gathers before taking to the streets at the Taste of Bethesda October 3, 2009.

Among many of the wonderful highlights from the past weekend’s launching of the Bethesda Green Education Center and Green Business Incubator — a three-day celebration that included a ribbon-cutting ceremony October 1, hundreds of  visitors to our Open House showcase,  and recognition from Gov. Martin O’Malley — was the extraordinary effort by our Bethesda Green Recycling Team of high school volunteers.

Led by Volunteer Coordinator Rosalie Grazzini,  the team helped with recycling during the Taste of Bethesda street festival October 3, gathering discarded paper and cardboard in large laundry carts (pictured above) provided by Perfect Settings.   Moving their carts from block to block behind restaurant booths and weaving among the estimated 40,000 Taste of Bethesda attendees, the recycling team collected a flat bed truck full of paper and cardboard and 30 trash bags full of plastics — an enormous volume of waste detoured from the landfill.

The large turnout of students made an impressionable impact on both the vendors and the patrons, raising awareness of the commitment needed to sustain this important environmental movement.   Great job!

We recently heard that Green Paper Studio, a Creative Parties’ venture owned by our good friend and Bethesda Green sponsor Tracy Bloom Schwartz, was nominated by Forbes Magazine for their “Boost Your Business” promotion. The winner gets $100,000. Please go to http://boost09.perfectprize.com/voting/ and vote. You will have to confirm your vote via email. They will give you instructions. Also, go to http://www.forbes.com/byb/2009/semi/boost-your-business-contest-09-green-paper-studio.html to see the 30 second video!

Good luck Tracy.  We’re all pulling for you.