Category: Environment (Page 1 of 4)

Get Free Ecofriendly Lightbulbs Throughout FeBREWary

FeBREWary, a monthlong celebration of Maryland craft beer, also offers an opportunity to lower your utility bills – saving you money for more beer!

Visit one of these Brews and Bulbs events and swap old incandescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for up to four new LEDs:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 5-7 p.m. at Saints Row Brewing, 1211-1213 Taft St.
  • Friday, Feb. 7 from 5-7 p.m. at 7 Locks Brewing, 12227 Wilkins Ave.
  • Friday, Feb. 28 from 5-7 p.m. at True Respite Brewing Company, 7301 Calhoun Place #600, Derwood.

On average, LEDs consume 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs, saving energy and saving you money. LEDs are also safer for the environment. CFL bulbs that are thrown away often break, releasing mercury into the environment.

When CFL bulbs are recycled, their components can be repurposed or reused, avoiding potential hazards or damage to the environment. Unbroken CFL bulbs can be recycled for free by bringing them to the county’s Shady Grove Transfer Station, 16101 Frederick Road, Derwood, or to most major home improvement stores, like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Ace Hardware.

Rockville Demonstrates a Record of Environmental Stewardship

Rockville leadership and the community have worked hard to become leaders in environmental stewardship. Here are some of our accomplishments:

  • Rockville was named the 2018 Sustainability Champion for amassing the highest points of all cities in the Maryland Sustainable Communities Certification program. Learn more at RockvilleReports.com/sustainable-rockville.
  • The city now has 10 times as many green buildings and 50 times as many solar panel installations as it did a decade ago.
  • The city purchases wind renewable energy certificates to offset 100% of the electricity used by our municipal operations.
  • The city is working with Pepco to install public electric-vehicle charging stations at Thomas Farm Community Center.

But there’s always plenty more to do! Sign up to receive the city’s Environment and Sustainability quarterly email newsletter in your inbox. Visit www.rockvillemd.gov/newsletters and select “Environment and Sustainability.”

Rockville Seeks Environmentalists to Be Recognized During Earth Month

Feb. 21 is Deadline for Nominations for Environmental Awards

The City of Rockville’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize individuals and organizations that contribute to Rockville’s environmental health and sustainability.

Nominations are being accepted in the following categories through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 for awards to be presented during Earth Month in April:

  • Outstanding Individual Environmental Stewardship.
  • Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Practices.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Green Building Technology/Design.
  • Outstanding Environmental Education and Academic Achievement.

Eligible individuals must live, work or study within the city. Eligible organizations must have an office in Rockville or must be able to demonstrate significant operations within the city limits. Building projects considered as part of a nomination must be within the city.

The awards are presented to an individual or organization by the Mayor and Council. Nominations and supplemental materials are received by the Environment Commission, which review the materials and recommend awards to the Mayor and Council.

For more information about the award categories and guidelines, application forms and eligibility, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/environment/awards, email environment@rockvillemd.gov, or call 240-314-8870.

Save Dollars, and Energy, with Tax-free Presidents Day Weekend

Buy Energy-saving Products Feb. 15-17 or Apply for Energy Rebates

Homeowners thinking about upgrading an appliance, replacing a water heater, or even changing a light bulb, can do so tax free on Presidents Day weekend.

On Feb. 15-17, purchases of the following energy-efficient Energy Star products are free from Maryland’s 6% sales tax:

  • Air conditioners.
  • Washers and dryers.
  • Furnaces.
  • Heat pumps.
  • Boilers.
  • Solar water heaters (tax exempt at all times).
  • Standard-size refrigerators.
  • Dehumidifiers.
  • Programmable thermostats.
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Learn more about Energy Star products at www.energystar.gov. Learn more about the tax-free weekend by visiting www.marylandtaxes.com and searching “Shop Maryland Energy.”

In addition, Pepco offers customers rebates on Energy Star appliances. Learn more at homeenergysavings.pepco.com/appliance-rebate-program.

Washington Gas also offers residential and commercial rebates, including, for residential customers, rebates on furnaces, gas clothes dryers and standard or tankless water heaters. Learn more at washingtongas.com/rebates.

Energy assistance may be available for customers having trouble paying their utility bills. Visit bit.ly/utilityassistance.

Find more energy-saving tips at www.washingtongas.com/safety-education/education/winter-preparedness.

A Green Game Plan to Fight the White Stuff

Environmentally Friendly Snow- and Ice-Removal Tips

Follow these tips to keep your driveway and sidewalks ice-free this winter, while minimizing the environmental impact:

Shovel Early, Shovel Often
Removing fresh snow before it has a chance to harden into ice is the best way to keep your pavement clear. Deicers work best on thin layers of snow or ice that need to be melted, so shovel first, break up any ice patches you can and then add the salt.

Apply Salt Sparingly
Scatter the deicer and leave space between the grains. A 12-ounce coffee mug full of salt is enough to treat a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares. Using more than the recommended amount of salt won’t speed up melting. And when temperatures drop below 15 degrees, skip it altogether, because salt won’t work at all.

Buy Early and Check Labels
Buy your deicing product before the big storm, so you don’t end up staring at empty shelves in the stores. Check the label before you buy. A deicer with calcium magnesium, or CMA, is the most ecofriendly deicer. Although slightly more expensive, calcium chloride (CaCl2) requires less salt, works at lower temperatures and does not contain cyanide, unlike sodium chloride (NaCl, rock salt), which does. Urea is sometimes promoted as “lawn-friendly,” as excess urea will act as a fertilizer. However, the application rate for urea is far greater than your lawn would require, and most of the excess urea will only end up “fertilizing” the stream.

Avoid Kitty Litter and Ashes
While these products are environmentally friendly, they are only marginally effective at adding traction, and don’t melt ice. If you need traction, mixing in a small amount of sand and using even less salt is a better option.

Learn more at bit.ly/saltwise.

50th Anniversary Offers Opportunities to Make Every Day Earth Day

We’re approaching the golden anniversary of Earth Day. On April 22, the world will celebrate 50 years since the first Earth Day in 1970 ushered in the modern environmental movement.

But the planet and our environment need our help more than just one day a year. Join the City of Rockville as we celebrate throughout the year with the Make Every Day Earth Day campaign.

Watch for the Earth Day 50 image that accompanies this article in “Rockville Reports,” online and on materials at community centers as we highlight special events, classes, volunteer opportunities and actions you can take to reduce pollution and protect our water, air, forests and wildlife.

From nature classes, festivals and giveaways to stream cleanups, invasive species pulls and other volunteer opportunities, Rockville has over 50 ways for you to celebrate, get involved and protect Rockville’s environment this year and beyond. Be sure to visit www.rockvillemd.gov/newsletters and select “Environment and Sustainability” to sign up for the city’s quarterly email newsletter on Earth Day happenings, environmental news and tips. We’ll even share ways you can save money while doing your part to help us make every day Earth Day.

Save Some Green and Create a Place for Wildlife to Be Seen

The city’s RainScapes Rebates program offers single-family homeowners and nonprofits, including religious institutions, private schools and homeowners associations, up to $2,500 in rebates for landscaping that is designed to green your backyard and reduce pollution.

The program offers rebates for planting trees and conservation landscaping, installing rain barrels, or removing pavement and installing permeable pavers – actions that can reduce flooding, decrease pollution in local streams, and support wildlife. To learn more, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/rainscapes or contact
rainscapes@rockvillemd.gov or 240-314-8877.

Looking to get even closer to nature? Homeowners, businesses, schools, universities, places of worship, parks, civic and community organizations, and others can create wildlife-friendly landscapes and earn National Wildlife Federation certification.

Certified wildlife habitats must provide food, water, cover and places for wildlife to raise young. These certified habitats help to create corridors for wildlife to thrive throughout the community. Like RainScapes Rebates, the program encourages gardening in an environmentally friendly way, planting native species of plants and replacing lawns with trees, shrubs and other plants.

To find resources and learn more about becoming certified, visit www.rockvillemd.gov/wildlifehabitat.

Test Your Green Thumb with a Rockville Garden Plot

Yard Too Small for That Spring Harvest You’ve Always Dreamed Of?

The City of Rockville has 159 garden plots, approximately 25-by-25 feet, available for rent at Woottons Mill Park for growing food and other plants.
The cost is $80 per plot for nonresidents; Rockville residents pay $62.50 per plot. Registration for the garden plot program opens Monday, Jan. 13 The season runs April 1-Nov. 15.

The city provides water spigots and mulch; gardeners are responsible for fencing, weed barriers, hoses, tools and other gardening supplies.
Registration forms can be found at www.rockvillemd.gov/gardenplots. Call the Rockville Civic Center’s main office at 240-314-8660, for more information.

Recycling? Help the City Tackle ‘Tanglers’: Be Cart Smart

Throwing out plastic bags or medical sharps? Please don’t use the brown recycling cart – put them in the gray trash cart.

“Tanglers,” such as plastic bags or wrap, rope, wire, clothes, cords, hoses, holiday lights, and chains can become tangled in recycling equipment, bringing processing to a grinding halt.

Do not put recyclables in plastic bags and do not put plastic bags in your brown recycling cart. Instead, place bags in the gray trash cart, or find a grocery store that accepts plastic bags for recycling by visiting bit.ly/howtorecyclebags.

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Water Utility Bills Pay for Water System Builds

A family of four in Rockville pays nearly $440 a year for city water service.

But what does a water bill actually pay for?

It costs about $11.7 million each year to deliver safe, reliable water to Rockville customers, including water treatment, water system operations and maintenance, and administrative services.

Those costs must be entirely covered by the city’s water fund, which is one of six enterprise funds in the city budget. Enterprise funds function like a private business, with costs fully recovered through user charges. Water rate increases approved last year were necessary to fund ongoing repair and replacement of aging water pipes and other infrastructure vital to providing water service.

Construction costs will total $9.7 million in 2020, including water line replacements and $7.2 million for rehabilitation of the city water treatment plant’s electrical system, which has not been upgraded since the plant on the Potomac River opened in 1958. The rehab project will replace the original substation, repair the roof, upgrade the heating and cooling system, and remodel occupied spaces to meet modern building codes.

Another project planned for 2020 will stabilize a stream bank between the treatment plant and the water intake structure on the Potomac River. Left unattended, the stream bank’s erosion could cause an electrical feed to the intake structure to fail, and could eventually damage the pipe that carries the raw water from the intake to the treatment plant.

A planned program to replace all commercial water meters, starting in 2020, aims to increase the accuracy of meter readings. Other projects include continued investment in improvements to the water distribution system to increase the flow of water to fire hydrants, improve water quality, reduce water main breaks, and replace aging pipes and other infrastructure. The city has invested more than $26 million since 2008 in such improvements and will continue to invest $3 million to $4 million each year.

Learn more about Rockville’s drinking water at rockvillereports.com/citys-water-quality-receives-high-marks-for-safety-4.

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