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.

Here’s what’s going on in green.

  • Bethesda Green Gala Coverage: Our first Gala was a huge success! We’ll be posting a recap soon. The heart of the event was the presentation of the Bethesda Magazine Green Awards, all of whom will be profiled in the magazine’s November/ December issue. Read about one of the winners in this Montgomery Gazette story about Noah Katz, who placed first in the 18-and-younger category. Other gala mentions we’ve seen include  nice blog kudos from Bethesda Bungalows.
  • Flavor Magazine published a profile of BG Executive Director Dave Feldman and the Green Business Incubator.
  • Go Green, Get Green Rebates Set to Begin in D.C. – The long-awaited DC ENERGY STAR appliance rebate program launches  October 25.  Any D.C. resident who replaces an existing appliance with a new Energy Star appliance is eligible for the rebate. For example, you can get between $100 and $125 for purchasing an energy efficient clothes washer.  You can also get up to $300 for an energy efficient water heater.
  • Think Local First DC has a new website. This D.C. group’s mission is to work with independent businesses, consumers and policymakers to grow a sustainable, local economy in Washington DC. Check it out at

Green Events

  • October 28 — Green Remodeling for Your Home and Business
    This class takes place at Montgomery College-Silver Spring campus.
    What does “green remodeling” really mean when you’re just redoing a bathroom or updating your kitchen?  In this class, learn about every-day, real-world tips, techniques, and strategies that you can implement right away in your next home remodeling project.  Taught by the Green Building Institute.
    When: 7-9 p.m.  Cost: $55 registration
  • November 4 – BG First Thursday Happy Hour: A Gulf Coast Tribute
    Join us Thursday, Nov. 4, from 5-8 p.m at Louisiana Kitchen for casual conversation and a Special Tribute to Gulf Coast Restoration Efforts. Bethesda Green is partnering with Gulf Savers, a nonprofit initiative that delivers native marsh grass to help restore the Gulf Coast ecosystem, and Voice of the Wetlands, a nonprofit focused on driving awareness about the loss of the wetlands in southern Louisiana. Contribution at the door: $10; Dedicated donations of $25 cover delivery of one Gulf Saver Native March Grass Bag. RSVP via Meetup.
  • November 6-7 – Maryland Green Show
    Sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Maryland and the Maryland Residential Green Building Council, this event aims to educate the public on how in these tough economic times, going green can save green! The show features more than 125 exhibitors from across the Mid-Atlantic region, plus speakers and demonstrations. Come learn everything about saving energy, saving water and most importantly, saving money!
    Where: Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium.
  • November 10 — Clean and Renewable Energy: Geothermal and Wind Energy
    This class takes place at Montgomery College-Germantown campus.
    Learn how these energy sources can benefit your home or business, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Taught by the Green Building Institute. When:  7-9 p.m.  Cost: $55 registration
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’s a bit of what’s been happening in green and what’s upcoming.

  • Maryland Reduces Solar Incentives–Last week the Maryland Energy Administration decreased solar grant amounts, in an effort to make the incentives available to more people. The popular program awarded 2,000 grants in fiscal year 2010 and several hundred more await approval. In order to stretch its solar-grant budget, MEA reduced the amounts it will award for solar photovoltaic and solar hot water systems. Get More Info
  • George Washington Named One of Top 100 Green Campuses–The current issue of Sierra magazine ranks GW University No. 57 in the Sierra Club’s ranking of “Cool Schools”–colleges doing the most in terms of environmental sustainability, among schools that filled out a Sierra Club questionnaire. Some other local schools were rated out of the top 100: Goucher College (116), University of Richmond (119), and University of Maryland, Baltimore County (158).
  • County Reaches Agreement With WGES Regarding Misleading Advertising Claims–In early August, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection secured an agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES) to correct some misleading claims in its advertising. WGES is an electricity provider competing with PEPCO. The county found WGES misled consumers with claims of “guaranteed savings” and “a guaranteed low electricity price,” while comparing its offers to incorrect descriptions of PEPCO offers. WGES agreed to change its advertising, but admitted no wrongdoing.
  • Are Organic Eggs Safer? With the recent recall of more than 500 million eggs, many from big farms in Iowa, you may be wondering whether organic eggs are safer due to the way they are produced. CNN investigated this topic (video).

Local Green Events

  • Sept. 1-3, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.–Sweetgreen Job Fair, Reston, Va.–Sweetgreen, a local salad and yogurt concept (and a Bethesda Green small-business sponsor) is looking for creative, charismatic and hardworking individuals to join their rapidly expanding team. Join them at  Reston Town Center this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to learn more about this opportunity!
  • Sept. 2, 5:00-8:00 p.m.–Bethesda Green First Thursday Happy Hour! Gather with us at Yamas Mediterranean Grill, 4806 Rugby Ave. in Bethesda, for casual conversation and social networking. This monthly event rotates venues, but has turned out to be most sustainable!
  • Sept. 22 — Car Free Day Metro DC Go Car Free or Car-Lite and make a difference for a day by bicycling, walking, teleworking, carpooling, vanpooling or taking transit. Pledge today and you’re automatically entered into a raffle for cool prizes!

By Beverly Firme, guest blogger

Bethesda Row Community Shred

A man dumps documents at the Community Shred, August 15. (Photo by Beverly Firme)

The Bethesda Row Community Shred, sponsored by Bethesda Row, Equinox Fitness and  Bethesda Green and held at Bethesda Lane and Elm Street on Sunday, August 15, was an opportunity for local residents to bring papers and documents to discard and shred in a secure way.  Remember how rainy it was that day?  The downpour did not deter people from coming out with bags of papers to shred.  Someone pulled up every few minutes and got out of their car with bags – and sometimes bags and bags and bags – of papers.

A crew from Clean Cut Shredding was on hand to get the paper into bins and then to their on-site shredding truck for shredding.  “It’s important that we help the community,” said Dawn Jessel, Public Relations Manager.  A subsidiary of Georgetown Paper Stock of Rockville, the company provides document shredding for area businesses and private homes.  Clean Cut Shredding provides a high level of security and privacy when it comes to shredding papers.

“We have locks on our containers, and they are locked at all times.  Our bins are padlocked with unique combinations to ensure security.  The truck we have is state-of-the-art”, said Larry Etman, Director of Clean Cut Shredding.  “It enables us to take the paper from the container to the shredder without us having to touch it.  We have no idea what’s going in there.”

Shredding papers and documents is serious business.  Identity theft is a growing concern – most of us know someone who was had their identity stolen and all are at risk.  The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year.

Shredding does help protect against identity theft, but there’s an environmental reason for shredding documents as well:  It makes recycling personal documents easier.  Clean Cut Shredding shreds all paper into confetti-sized pieces, and then recycles the confetti into household paper products. So, you can protect yourself and the environment by making shredding a regular part of your routine.

After the event, Etman reported they shredded close to 3 tons of paper (5,500 lbs) that day, which works out to 47 trees saved!

Many residents asked about the next Community Shred as they emptied their bags into the bins.  Stay tuned – Clean Cut Shredding is glad to consider additional Community Shreds if there is interest and need.  We’ll keep you posted!

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’s what’s in green news this week.

  • Optimism Reigns at Md. Green Economy Forum – State government officials and business leaders from green companies sounded upbeat about the prospects for creating and retaining more green jobs in Maryland, at the state’s first Green Economy Forum last week. The event’s centerpiece was the release of a report by the governor’s Green Jobs & Industry Task Force. The report identified six recommendations to create and retain green jobs, support clean and renewable energy, protect Maryland’s communities and preserve the state’s natural resources.
  • Maryland Markets Hotels to Green-Minded Guests – State program names the Marriott Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, as its first “Green Travel Partner.”
  • Silver Spring’s NOAA a Leader in BP Oil Cleanup – Employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Silver Spring have often been working 16-hour days, 7 days a week, to map the flow of oil-contaminated water, alert commercial ships of clean water routes, set up ship-cleaning stations to prevent the spread of oil and deal with the catastrophic environmental impact of the BP oil spill.
  • Building an Ultra-efficient Car for XPrize Contest – The entry from a team of mechanics and engineers from Lynchburg, Va., reached the final round in the Progressive Automotive X Prize contest, an international competition to build the first car that can go 100 miles on a gallon of gas and at least 200 miles without refueling.
  • Chevy Volt Will Carry 8-Year Battery WarrantyGM announced last week that the primarily electric Chevy Volt, due in showrooms this fall, will come with an 8-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty.

Local Green Events

  • July 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Pepco 2010 D.C. Appliance Swap: Customers can bring in old, inefficient appliances that Pepco will safely recycle at no cost to the customer. Pepco will also be handing out applications for and information about available rebates on the purchase of certain ENERGY STAR ® qualified appliances. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win a $1,000 Home Depot gift card! Location: Home Depot at 901 Rhode Island Ave., NE.
  • July 24-25, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Montgomery County’s 21st Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale Spend a day or two in the country petting farm animals or having lunch by a scenic pond. Purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and more. Pick your own at some farms! Visit one or more of 14 participating farms (and one vineyard)–including one farm (Button Farm Living History Center) run by a Bethesda Green Incubator organization,The Menare Foundation.
  • July 26, 8-9:30 a.m. – Introduction to the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program – Takes place at the BCC Chamber of Commerce, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1204, Bethesda. The session will also cover an introduction to Bethesda Green and Montgomery College’s Sustainability Practitioner Certificate.
  • July 29, 4-5:30 p.m. – Bethesda Green 101This monthly session provides the history of Bethesda Green and information about how to get involved as a volunteer or intern.