Solarize Frederick County news

Frederick News Post
As a special initiative of the Frederick County Green Homes Challenge, Solarize Frederick County aimed to increase installation of residential solar electric and hot water systems throughout Frederick County with volume purchase discounts and local incentive grants. To take advantage of these incentives, residents had to sign up for a solar assessment during the time — limited enrollment period and wrap up all contracts by Sept. 30. Sixty-nine households took advantage of the program. The households are installing 72 solar energy systems — 66 solar electric systems and 12 solar hot water systems. The households participating in Solarize Frederick County will be installing a capacity of 547 kilowatt (kW) equivalents; that equates to the production of approximately 656,400 kilowatt-hours each year. The Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources began informing residents about the Solarize initiative in late 2012. Nearly 500 households expressed interest in the program; of these, 308 attended Solarize informational workshops, and 347 requested solar assessments of their homes.

City Notes: State says Frederick is a sustainable city

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson
After a couple of years working hard to prove to the state how "green" it really is, Frederick is now certified as a sustainable city. The city was one of eight in the state to receive the Sustainable Maryland Certified award at the Maryland Municipal League conference last week. Joe Adkins, the city's deputy director of planning, has been working with staff and volunteers since 2011 to complete requirements for the certification. The city was ahead of the curve when it started to work on this. It had created a Sustainable Practice Action Plan back in 2009. Most of what the city needed to do was already done: farmers markets, mixed-use paths and bicycling initiatives, stormwater management, forestry preservation, housing elements, stream cleanup and buy-local initiatives. Other than that, Mayor Randy McClement just needed to establish a Green Initiative Team, which he did last year, Adkins said.

Shades of Green

Saving the Planet Touches Almost Every Area of Frederick County Living, and it Comes with a Price Tag
Frederick Magazine
Linda Norris-Waldt
Save the Bay. Buy recycled. Reduce your carbon footprint. Conserve water. The list goes on and on. And so does the number of programs and projects that aim to improve Frederick County’s environment— and with them, the debate about where lies the responsibility: Who pays, who is inconvenienced by change, and how much habit-breaking is practical when the returns aren’t immediately evident. A myriad of regulations, public education programs and businesses have brought environmental initiatives to our doors. The new programs, like mandating rain barrels and rain gardens for new subdivisions, roll in with great fanfare like ocean waves, supported by public demand. And then they are either delayed or abridged because of cost, impact or feasibility. A constant rebalancing is always taking place. Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County commissioner whose work in construction takes him into the field where he has direct encounters with environmental regulations, has been no fan of the feasibility of government programs regulating the environment. They have “grown exponentially and for no good reason other than to expand the role of government in our lives,” he says. “Stormwater has been ruled by courts to not be a pollutant, yet we still seem to have governing bodies that can’t let go of the power and control of regulating the lives of personal property owners.” Kai Hagen, a community activist and former county commissioner known for championing environmental causes, has a differing view. “If people knew the real environmental and economic costs and benefits associated with the choices we make—as a community—I’m convinced we would be making a lot more responsible choices than we are now,” he says. Here’s how current environmental programs in Frederick County touch water, land and lives.

Brunswick eyes sustainable efficiencies

City committee to find ways to encourage resource conservation
Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
The asphalt parking lot at City Hall has sprouted islands of flower beds and trees. Not only does the flora beautify the utilitarian backside of buildings in the first block of West Potomac Street, it stands to earn the city some credit with the state. Brunswick has just started working toward certification in the Sustainable Maryland Certified program, and although the garden was not part of the new effort, it could count. The City Council approved setting up an ad hoc committee called the Green Team to get started. About 10 interested residents attended the first meeting, and others said they want to participate, Mayor Karin Tome said.

Local Realtor goes green

Frederick News Post
Susan Guynn
About five years ago she earned the National Association of Realtors Green Designation, a program that provides real estate agents training in green building and sustainable practices to help them seek out, understand and market properties with green features. NAR foresees an increasing demand for agents who are knowledgeable about new and existing sustainable homes. Nationwide, more than 4,000 people have been awarded the Green Designation since the program began in 2008. According to the NAR website, Borell is one of about a dozen Realtors in Frederick who are Green Designees.

Water study finds many county streams in poor health

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
The majority of Frederick County’s watershed areas are suffering from, poor biological health and moderate to severe bank erosion, according, to a sweeping water quality report released Monday. Human activities such as farming and development are largely, responsible for the wide-ranging symptoms of damaged waterways, detailed in the four-year assessment, said Shannon Moore, who manages, the county’s office of sustainability and environmental resources. The, study commissioned by the county is the first of its kind and takes, stock of bug populations, the amount of food and shelter available for, stream life, erosion, and water pollutants. Moore said the county aims to develop these evaluations every four, years and will use the first report as a baseline against which to, compare future data.

Environmental literacy starts in kindergarten

Frederick News Post
When it comes to the basics, learning about the environment belongs right up there with reading, writing and arithmetic. To that end, the Maryland State Department of Education now mandates that public school students in every district earn an environmental literacy credit as a requirement for graduating from high school. A recent Medill News Service story took a look at efforts here and elsewhere to bring environmental studies into public education. In Maryland, each county devises its own environmental literacy program. Frederick County has chosen — wisely, we believe — to embed its environmental program in social studies and science education

Taneytown discusses Sustainable Community application

Carroll County Times
Rachel Roubein
At the Taneytown City Council workshop Wednesday evening, most council members vocally supported the decision to finish the application to submit this month, as the state is accepting them in June and in October. Sustainable Communities aim to conserve resources, provide green spaces and recreational parks, offer transportation and more to its residents, according to the Maryland Department of Planning. Only specific portions of Taneytown would fall under the Sustainable Community designation: downtown, the city’s older areas, two townhouse communities, Memorial Park and Taneytown High School Park, according to Wieprecht, who is in charge of crafting the application.

New Frederick Green Homes Challenge website launches

Frederick News Post
A new online tool will help Frederick County residents save money, adopt environmentally friendly practices and use renewable energy. The Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, or OSER, launched the new website on May 17. takes the Green Homes Challenge, a home-certification program previously operated through handbooks and paper forms, and puts it in a comprehensive online format.

Organization seeking to recognize green businesses

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
A local environmental organization is aiming to connect eco-friendly businesses to eco-conscious consumers through a Green Business Network in Carroll County. The program is a collaborative effort by a committee composed of members of Waste Not! Carroll, Sustainable Living Maryland and the Catoctin chapter of the Sierra Club, said Sally Long, one of the committee members. Long said fellow committee member Don West came across a similar network of green businesses in Boone, N.C., and thought it would be a good opportunity for Carroll businesses and consumers.

Mainstream Green

(Environmentally and economically, it just makes sense to use energy wisely.)
Frederick News Post
The Maryland Clean Energy Center reports that the state's clean energy industry is hiring. According to the center's executive director Kathy Magruder, "People are starting to adopt these practices and implement these measures in their lives, which creates demand for the employment."

Frederick commissioner questions Office of Sustainability

Office says county saves nearly $500,000 per year by encouraging green practices
Katherine Heerbrandt
Frederick County government has achieved major savings by going green, but at least one commissioner is not yet convinced that those savings are large enough or sustainable enough to warrant a separate office.

Embracing sustainability

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
Frederick County government employees headed to the first of a series of lunchtime "sustainability conversations" expecting to talk about local food

Framework adopted for sustainability commission

Frederick News Post
Karen Gardner
The Frederick County Commissioners are moving forward with a plan to make the county cleaner and greener. The commissioners adopted a framework for countywide sustainability. They also approved the creation of a Sustainability Commission, which will act in an advisory role. Both moves represent the commissioners' desire to incorporate environmentally sound approaches into county functions. Hilari Varnadore, director of the county's new Office of Sustainability, said the goal is to link environmental policy with economic and social considerations. "When these are combined and decisions are made that integrate all three, you can achieve a sustainable community," she said in her PowerPoint presentation to the commissioners Tuesday. The sustainability commission ideally will have 13 members representing energy, agriculture, education, small business, health and grass roots. The commissioners supported Varnadore's framework with a consensus vote. Commissioners Jan Gardner, David Gray and Kai Hagen voted to support the commission.