BGnews_logoMontgomery Council creates two new offices to tackle environmental issues in county

Montgomery County Council created two new offices Tuesday to oversee efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and promote the use of sustainable energy sources in the county.

The county has a broad portfolio of environmental regulations and goals, many of them established by a 2008 working group created by County Executive Isiah Leggett. They include an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.

But council members said progress toward the goals needed to be accelerated and the county held more accountable. It voted unanimously to create an Office of Sustainability within the Department of Environmental Protection and an Office of Energy and Sustainability within the county’s Department of General Services.

The estimated annual cost of the new offices is $900,000, mostly for additional staff. The council approved funding as part of the fiscal 2015 budget it passed last month.

See full article published in The Washington Post

Poolesville Goes Solar

Poolesville recently celebrated the opening of its new solar array, expected to save $30,000 in energy costs in the first year of operation. Since the array came online in February, it has created enough energy to power 40 homes for a year and has saved nearly 600,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Poolesville partnered with Standard Solar to build the 4,480-panel array to offset electricity for the wastewater treatment plant.

See full article published in the Gazette.

Solar Mowing Business Grows in Bethesda

In 2009, Lyn DeWitt decided that she had had enough of the fumes and noise associated with gasoline-powered lawn mowers and launched Solar Mowing, a company using battery-powered mowers charged by photovoltaic solar panels affixed to a truck.

She initially invested about $30,000 on the truck, solar panels, mowers and other equipment. Since then, the company has grown to six mowers, eight trimmers, three trucks with solar panels and a dozen employees. A year ago, it was certified by the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program, signifying its effective environmental stewardship.

See full article published in the Gazette.

Green Events

  • Good Green Fun Happy Hour — Wednesday, June 18, 5-8 pm, Silver Spring Green networking event at La Malinche Spanish Tapas Restaurant, 8622 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD.
  • Bethesda EcoDistrict Workshop — Wednesday, June 18, 7-9 pm, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD.
  • Rock Creek Community Meeting — Saturday, June 21, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Mount Pleasant Library, 3160 16th Street NW, DC , hosted by Rock Creek Conservancy.
  • GreenWheaton Gala — Wednesday, June 25, 6-9 pm, Ballroom at Wheaton Glen, 2400 Arcola Ave., Wheaton, MD.
  • Fishbowl Investor Pitch — Thursday, June 26, 1-5 pm, plus reception at Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Ave., Bethesda, MD, a “shark tank” like-program hosted in partnership with the William James Foundation.

Bethesda Green proudly received recognition as one of the first businesses and organizations to be certified by Montgomery County’s Green Business Certification Program.  County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the program at a December 16 media event (see News Release).

“Many businesses are taking steps to incorporate environmentally sound practices into their operations, thus creating a greener environment and economy and improving their bottom lines,” said Leggett.  “With the Green Business Certification Program, the County is encouraging environmental responsibility, and customers will have a way of recognizing which businesses are going green.  Businesses are telling us that our comprehensive program is actually motivating them to further expand their green activities.”

Ralph Smith, a Bethesda Green volunteer and President of Smith Design/Construction, accepted the certification on our behalf.  Ralph and volunteer Cindy Powers took lead roles in guiding us through the process.

“This certification process has helped us to focus our attention on continuing improvement and to celebrate the achievements we have accomplished,” said Ralph during his acceptance remarks.  “Just as Montgomery County is leading the state to an important goal of sustainably operating businesses, Bethesda Green is leading the way as a model of sustainability for businesses and residents.”

Bethesda Green volunteer Ralph Smith (center) receives the county's Green Business Certification with (L-R) County Executive Isiah Leggett, County Council President Nancy Floreen, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President Gigi Godwin, and Montgomery College Interim Dean Steve Greenfield.

Bethesda Green was among the first 11 businesses, nonprofits and organizations to be certified, a list that includes our friends from Honest Tea, Calvert and Clean Currents.

To view the online certification application and other information about the program, go to

Interested in becoming a green certified business?  Montgomery College is now offering courses to help you through the process.  For a listing of offerings,  click here.