BGnews_logoBethesda Downtown 20-Year Plan Launched

A large, overflowing crowd gathered Monday evening, Nov. 4, at the County Regional Services Center, providing opinions to the Montgomery County Planning Board about what works and doesn’t work in downtown Bethesda.

With a focus on listening to residents, the event was the first step in launching a new Sector Plan for Bethesda that will culminate in about a year with a proposal for the approval of the County Council, providing a fresh look at how Bethesda might evolve over the next 20 years.

The new plan will revisit the 1994 Sector Plan’s recommendations, including issues related to walking, biking and environmental quality.  There will be plenty of opportunities for residents to weigh in, including this evening, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 7 -9 pm at Imagination Stage.

Click here for more information.

Advocates Aim to Stop Fracked Natural Gas Shipments in Maryland

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) is sounding the alarm about a proposal to build a liquified natural gas export facility in Cove Point, Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay, fed from a web of pipelines throughout the state that would deliver fracked natural gas to the facility.

crossroads-tour-logo-emailCCAN Executive Director Mike Tidwell wrote in a recent Washington Post Op-Ed column that if allowed to go forward, the “Cove Point facility would become the biggest cause of global-warming pollution in Maryland.”

CCAN and other organizations are planning a series of town hall meetings across the state for people to learn more about the issue.  Locally, a meeting is scheduled Thursday, Nov. 7, 7:30 – 9 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center.  Click here for more information.

BG Incubator Companies in the News

Energy Dynamics, one of the Bethesda Green Business Incubator companies, is competing along with a number of other start-ups across the nation to have an opportunity to pitch its product before Silicon Valley and Energy Sector investors.

The company designs and manufactures devices that capture and store wasted energy in the electrical system and then recycles it on demand.  The devices maximize the efficiency of electrical system utilization at commercial, industrial and residential facilities, yielding savings of between 6-12% on energy bills.

Energy Dynamics is asking for a vote of support to pitch its product.  Go here to vote.

Pictured left to right: Robert Dixon, Head of Industry Affairs, Siemens Industry, Inc.; Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner; John Jabara, Founder of Savenia Labs; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; and Eric Coffman, Senior Energy Planner, Montgomery County.

Pictured left to right: Robert Dixon, Head of Industry Affairs, Siemens Industry, Inc.; Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner; John Jabara, Founder of Savenia Labs; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman; and Eric Coffman, Senior Energy Planner, Montgomery County.

John Jabara, Founder of Savenia Labs, a startup company in the Bethesda Green Business Incubator, received the Maryland Clean Energy Center Entrepreneur of the Year award at the annual MCEC summit this October.

Since 2009, a team of scientists and researchers working with Savenia Labs perfected its 10-step process of independently testing popular appliances to determine each model’s energy usage. Today, Savenia Labs Energy Rating labels can be found in local stores to aide consumers.

Events

  • First Thursday Happy Hour — Celebrate Autumn, Sustainability and Trees with Bethesda Green and Trees for the Future.  Enjoy casual conversation and social networking, Thursday, Nov. 7, 5-8 pm @ Jaleo, 7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.  RSVP via Meetup.
savenia 2

Bethesda Green is proud to announce that Savenia Labs Founder John Jabara was named Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year by the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), an award that recognizes an individual that brings new technologies, products or services to the market in Maryland.

 

Founded in 2009 in the Bethesda Green Business Incubator, Savenia Labs has revolutionized shopping with its innovative energy ratings labels that inform consumers about the lifetime energy costs and environmental impacts of various household appliances.

 

“Congratulations to John and the Savenia team for bringing these breakthrough energy and environmental impact ratings to Maryland and beyond,” said Bethesda Green Incubator Manager Robert Snyder.

 

“It is an honor to receive this award, and I would like to thank all the people that have helped get Savenia Labs Energy Ratings into the hands of consumers so quickly across the region,” said Jabara. Participating retailers and enterprise customers can download energy rating labels on site, customized by zip code for energy costs and environmental impacts.

 

The full press release is here.

by Alison Wentzell

Builders, County Disagree on Tree Canopy Legislation

BGnews_logoLegislation passed by Montgomery County Council last week requires builders to provide 50 percent tree canopy coverage on lots they develop.  The new law essentially triples the amount of trees builders had proposed providing and applies to all lots in Montgomery County, not just developing lots.

County data suggests that only one in three trees planted would be able to survive into adulthood.  However, builders argue that approximately 85% of trees planted survive into adulthood and even more trees survive when they are being cared for on private property.

Read the full article from the Gazette here.

Individual Action Encouraged at Climate Change Town Hall

A town hall meeting held in Silver Spring by Organization For Action encouraged residents to start taking a more active role in addressing climate change.  About 500 residents attended the four-hour meeting.

Leaders from organizations such as the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) and the Maryland Clean Energy Center encouraged action on the individual, communal, and national levels to push the United States into becoming a leader in environmental action.

Presenters discussed way to push for policy change in Congress by showing the linkage between health issues and environmental stewardship.  CCAN Director Mike Tidwell said, “We don’t need to invent anything; all we need is more policy.  The fossil-fuel industry is allowed to treat our atmosphere as a sewer.”

Check out the full story from the Gazette here.

Upcoming Events

  • Caleva Dirty Dinners: A Farm to Table Series, August 24th, 6-9 PM, Calleva Farm, 19120 Martinsburg Road, Dickerson MD.

Come out to Calleva Farms and enjoy a delicious meal that has been grown and prepared on site.  Meals include wine, festive music, and non-alcoholic “mocktails.”  Make your reservation and find out more info at http://www.DirtyDinners.org.

Alison Wentzell is a senior at American University and an intern with Bethesda Green.  Her interests in sustainability focus on the community, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of the environmental movement.

MCEC logoEach year the Maryland Clean Energy Center recognizes a few individuals and organizations who have done outstanding work to advance clean energy and energy efficiency in Maryland for their leadership, partnership, advocacy, and overall championship of the sector. Nominations will be reviewed and winners will be chosen by an Awards Committee. Awardees will be announced at a luncheon during the Maryland Clean Energy Summit to be held October 16, 2013.

Click here for more information about the nomination process and award categories.

by Susanna Parker

Financing Clean Energy for Coppin State U.BGnews_logo

The Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC), under its new Maryland Clean Energy Capital Financing Program (MCAP),will work with Coppin State University to finance six energy efficiency upgrades on campus. Coppin State University, a member of the University System of Maryland, has entered into a Shared Energy Savings Agreement with MCEC that will make Coppin’s payments contingent upon realized savings.

With the energy efficient upgrades installed and maintained by the Energy Systems Group, this agreement should ensure Coppin a positive cash flow for years to come. MCEC Executive Director Kathy Magruder says that MCAP is a tool that will allow all industrial energy users to reduce their energy and water costs without also reducing their debt capacity. MCEC Board Chair Jeffrey Eckel states that MCAP, “…has real potential to accelerate stalled capital projects, save Maryland institutions money, create jobs and reduce greenhouse emissions, all the goals for which MCEC was created.”

To learn more about the Maryland Clean Energy Center, please visit their website here.

Fracking Commission Issues Recommendations

Last month, we discussed the looming issue of hydrofracking, and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network’s work against the introduction of fracking to Maryland. Last week, the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission announced a series of recommendations geared toward protecting both landowners and the state from the risks of fracking. The commission has recommended a Surface Owners Protection Act, which will protect those landowners who do not own the mineral rights to their land from the health and environmental damage that can be caused by hydrofracking.

The commission’s recommendations will be presented to the Maryland General Assembly and could lead to legislation during the 2013 session, which began January 9.

For more information on the recommendations and the proposed drilling, please read the full Gazette article here.

Upcoming Green Events

  • Rock Creek Conservancy’s MLK Day of Service Events, Saturday, January 19, Rock Creek Park.

Join Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service in honoring the MLK Day of Service by cutting back invasive plants and cleaning up Rock Creek. Bring your friends, family, and your willingness to work! Rock Creek Conservancy and National Park Service will provide gloves, tools, and training. There are 5 events occurring across Rock Creek Park on January 19:

  1. Soapstone Valley Site, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Invasive English Ivy Removal
  2. Normanstone Site, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Invasive English Ivy Removal
  3. Little Forest Site, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Invasive Periwinkle Pull (kid-friendly!)
  4. Piney Branch Site, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Trash Cleanup
  5. Beret Park Site, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Trash Cleanup

Please dress for the weather, wear long pants and sleeves to protect your limbs. Layering is the best option. Feel free to bring your own gardening gloves and clippers. Participants must be 16+ to use tools; younger volunteers are welcome and may pick up trash and pull small vines out by hand. Students can earn SSL hours. Check out Rock Creek Conservancy for more details.

  • $5 Charity Hike, Indian Food, and Bookstore Afternoon, Sunday, January 20, 11 am, beginning at the Grosvenor/Strathmore Metro station, 10300 Rockville Pike, Rockville.

Join fellow nature lovers for a charity hike through Rock Creek Park. The beneficiary of the hike is Earth Sangha, and the proceeds will be used for a tree bank project in the Dominican Republic. Tree banks serve multiple important functions, including erosion control and fighting forest loss. The event will include a hike, an Indian buffet lunch, and a trip to a used bookstore. If you plan to attend, bring $5 or more for the charity, your SmartTrip card, water, and cash for lunch and the bookstore. RSVP at Nature Lovers’ Meetup Group.

  • Secrets of Scandinavian Sustainable City Planning, Wednesday, February 20 8-9:30 am, Bethesda Green, 4825 Cordell Avenue Bethesda, MD

As part of their Natural Capital educational series, Doo Consulting presents Chris Jakubiak, principal and owner of the town planning consulting firm Jakubiak and Associates, Inc. Jakubiak will present a report on sustainable communities in Malmo, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark, as well as current development plans in Scandinavia. The presentation will illustrate the best practices, techniques, and innovations used to transform old industrial areas into modern, sustainable, livable communities.

Tickets to the event are $15, and include breakfast fare. Seating is limited, so be sure to purchase your ticket ASAP!

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.

The Maryland Clean Energy Center has launched a new Maryland Home Energy Loan Program (MHELP) enabling Marylanders to access unsecured, low-cost, funds for efficiency upgrades such as better insulation and higher-rated heating and cooling equipment.

See Clean Energy Loan Program for details.