SFC - seal
Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources (OSER)
TopIssue: 8 Winter/2012 
In This Issue
Green Homes Challenge
Energy Savers
Green Business
Wathershed News
Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance Feature
Top Picks
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List 
 Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter
Order Your 

Smart Strip
customers of Potomac Edison
are eligible to receive a
no-cost Energy Conservation
Kit including six Compact
Fluorescent Light bulbs
(CFLs), a Smart Strip/Surge
Protector and other valuable
items. Households with
electric hot water heaters
may also request water
conservation items including
a low-flow shower head and
faucet aerators. To order your
kit, call 1-888-287-7304 or go to 
and fill out the electronic form.




 Meet our Newest Sustainability Commission



   Chris May 

Christian May

AAE Solar 



Did You Miss the Winter Issue of FNP's GREEN Magazine? 

Washington Gas
Energy Services'
program gives residential utility customers in Frederick County the option to choose electricity generated at regional wind farms for their homes. Click here for more information and to check the current rates for 1 and 2 year contracts with options for 50 - 100% of your electricity coming from wind power.

Green Home Graphic 











Network Icon




Green Homes Challenge Recognition Event


Powerware Parties


Green Drinks 


Green Building Institute 


Winter Tree Sunset
Winter in Frederick County                      (photo by Lisa Orr)



 Shannon B&W Head Shot

As you start out the new year, we hope that sustainability will be one component of your household's focus for 2012. Our OSER programs provide lots of ways to learn how to tread more softly on our local habitats, adopt environmentally friendly practices, consume less energy, and use fewer resources.


In this issue you'll learn about the Green Homes Challenge's upcoming Recognition Event for Certified Power Savers, a local one-stop shop for all your green purchasing needs, a safer approach for deicing, a tax-free holiday for Energy Star appliances and solar thermal hot water systems, and more. 



Shannon Moore



Certified PS Dad and Son

More than 480 households in Frederick County are taking the Green Homes Challenge (GHC). If you're not one of them, now is a great time to register to become a Challenge Taker and start saving energy at home!


The1st Annual Green Homes Challenge Recognition Event will be held on February 21, 2012, from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., at Winchester Hall (12 East Church St.) in Frederick. There is still time to complete your Power Saver Certification before the February 16 deadline to be recognized with this group and entered into the drawings for some great prizes, including $2,000 in energy retrofit services from Lancaster Craftsman Builders, a complete home air sealing from The Home Energy Team, a hotel stay with Plamondon Hospitality Partners, and more. Click here to see the complete list of great prizes!


If you want some extra help or coaching to guide you through the Challenge, contact the GHC to request your own personal Navigator to help you stay motivated and connect you to the resources you need to save money, energy, and reach your certification goal.Call 301-600-7414 or email GreenHomes@FrederickCountyMD.gov for more information.


Key components of the Power Saver Challenge include having a home energy audit and completing an Energy Saving Action Plan. Potomac Edison (formerly Allegheny Power) customers are eligible to request no-cost and reduced-cost home performance assessments by certified home energy contractors through the Watt Watchers program. 2012 changes to the Watt Watchers program include lowering the customer's cost of a Comprehensive Home Energy Audit to just $100 and increasing some of the rebates available for energy efficient appliances and energy efficiency home improvement projects. Check with Watt Watchers for current rates and eligibility requirements by calling 1-888-267-4685. 

Back to Top

EnergySaversENERGY SAVERS: Energy Star Tax Free Holiday in February
Solar Thermal Collector

Have you been considering installing a solar powered hot water heater? Or perhaps you've been wanting to replace an older appliance with an energy efficient one. February is a good time to take action! During the Presidents Day weekend, Maryland will host a Sales Tax Holiday for qualified Energy Star products and solar water heaters for the second consecutive year. Between Saturday, February 18 and Monday, February 20, items such as Energy Star Fridgelaundry machines, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, boilers, programmable thermostats, compact fluorescent light bulbs and solar powered water heaters will be exempt from sales and use tax according to state statute 11-226 This tax-free holiday will run annually the same weekend of the year unless future legislation is changed by the Maryland General Assembly.


Back to Top

GreenBusinessGREEN BUSINESS: Go Green Products

 Mike Boswell-Go GreenAre you looking for a one-stop shop for all your green living needs? Go Green Products is conveniently located for Frederick shoppers in the Eastgate shopping center behind the Roy Rodgers at 1202 E. Patrick St., Suite 4. Customers can find a diverse selection of offerings, most of which are made in the U.S., including several local products. The store offers on-line purchasing, a Go Green Bucks reward program, and a community resource table that promotes other green initiatives to customers. Business owners Michael Boswell and Clark Kline Jr. are passionate about providing quality products that are good for people, the environment, and American businesses. They want to support and promote environmentally friendly practices that will make a positive impact on generations to come. 


Home products include solar products like LED flashlights and phone chargers; energy and water conservation products; all-natural health, beauty and cleaning supplies; recycled picnic and paper supplies; soy candles, gift baskets and recycled gift wrap; and natural snacks and spices.


Yard and garden items include No-Trim Fence grass barriers; rain barrels and gutter guards; pond products; biodegradable planters, potting soil and organic fertilizer; compostable dog waste bags; animal/insect repellents; and natural alternative ice melt (see story below).


Visit the store 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Go Green is closed on Mondays.


WatershedNewsWATERSHED NEWS:                                                                                    A Low Salt Diet for our Landscapes, Creeks, and Rivers

Winter precipitation hits our area about 15 days a season, on average. Although we have not had much snow, ice or freezing rain yet this winter, it is always good to be prepared. How can we establish safe footing around our homes and businesses without polluting our streams? Here are several tips to take into consideration when winter weather hits our area.

  • Buy early: Make sure to buy your deicing product well before the big storm hits; otherwise, you could be looking at empty shelves and have few, if any, environmentally friendly choices to make at the store. Go Green Products in Frederick (see story above) offers a natural, potash-based, pet and plant friendly icemelter. 


  • Check the Label:  The table below provides a summary of the pros and cons of the various main ingredients of common deicing products. Check the package label closely to see what you are buying. Experts recommend using potash (potassium chloride) or calcium chloride over sodium chloride (rock salt).  


Check the Label For

Works Down to:

Cost is:

Environmental Impacts

Potassium Chloride or Potash (KCl)


Approx. $38 for a 50 lb bag

(+) Less toxic

(+) Safe for pets and plants

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

22F to 25F

20x more than rock salt

(+) Less toxic

Calcium Chloride (CaCl)


3x more than rock salt

(+) Can use lower doses;

(+) No cyanide;

(-) Chloride impact


20F to 25F

5x more than rock salt

(+) Less corrosion;

(-) Adds needless nutrients


No melting effect

Approx. $4 for a 50 lb bag

(-) Accumulates in streets and streams

Sodium Chloride (NaCl), aka rock salt


Approx. $7 for a 50 lb bag

(-) Contains cyanide;

(-) Chloride impact



  • Avoid Kitty Litter and Ashes: These products are not environmentally friendly and they aren't very effective. While they provide some traction, they do not melt snow and ice. Also, they tend to get gooey and messy when it warms up, which often tracks into your home or office. If traction is what you want, then stick with sand, which is much cheaper and easier to sweep up. 


  • Shovel Early and Often: When it comes to snow removal, there is no substitute for muscle and elbow grease. Deicers work best when there is only a thin layer of snow or ice that must be melted. Get out the snow shovel and move as much snow as you can during the storm. A flat hoe can also help to scrape ice off the surface before any deicers are applied. Be careful when chopping the ice build-up that you don't damage your sidewalk. Also, be careful when shoveling snow. Snow is heavy and overexertion can lead to heart attacks. 


  • Know Your Salt Risk Zone: You wouldn't want to kill your favorite tree, shrub or grass, so check out the plants that grow within five or ten feet of your driveway and sidewalk. The table below summarizes some of the salt sensitive plants that might be at risk. If you have salt-sensitive trees, shrubs or grasses in this zone, you should avoid any deicing product that contains chlorides (rock salt and calcium chloride), or use very small doses. You may want to use CMA as a safer alternative, or stick with sand for traction.  


Landscaping Areas

Species at Risk from Salting

Deciduous Trees

Tulip Poplar, Green Ash, Hickory, Red Maple, Sugar Maple


Balsam Fir, White Pine, Hemlock, Norway Spruce


Dogwood, Redbud, Hawthorn, Rose, Spirea


Kentucky Bluegrass, Red Fescue



  • Avoid Products that Contain Urea: Some folks recommend the use of urea as a safer alternative to more common deicing products, arguing that it does not contain chlorides and, as a form of nitrogen, will help fertilize your yard when it washes off. In reality, urea-based deicing products are a poor choice. To begin with, urea is fairly expensive and performs poorly when temperatures drop below 20F. More importantly, the application rate for urea during a single deicing is ten times greater than that needed to fertilize the same area of your yard. Of course, very little of the urea will actually get to your lawn, but will end up washing into the street and storm drain. Given that nitrogen is a major problem in the Bay, it doesn't make sense to use nitrogen-based products, such as those containing urea, for deicing.


  • Apply Salt Early, but Sparingly: Remember what your Mom may have told you at the dinner table: "A little salt goes a long way." The recommended application rate for rock salt is about a handful per square yard treated (after you have scraped as much ice and snow as possible). Using more salt than this won't speed up the melting process. If you have a choice, pick calcium chloride over sodium chloride. Calcium Chloride works at much lower temperatures and is applied at a much lower rate.


Visit these web pages for more information about:


Icemelting/Deicing Basics 

Ice Melters and Pet Safety

Ice Melters and the Environment


Back to Top


February 2, 2012 Certified Maryland Green School Leader Training

Green School Logo

Are you interested in helping schools to become Maryland Green Schools? Consider becoming a Certified Maryland Green School Leader!


Maryland Green School Leaders are recognized as experts and act as programmatic liaisons between schools and the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). They provide outreach and support to the growing number of schools throughout the state who are interested in becoming a certified Maryland Green School. Green School Leaders:

  • Introduce schools to and excite schools about the Maryland Green School Program;
  • Mentor and guide schools through their unique Maryland Green School Journey, and;
  • Celebrate the significant environmental improvements that Maryland Green Schools make within their communities.

Currently, there are 10 certified Green Schools in Frederick County: Catoctin High School, Mother Seton School (I), Oakdale Elementary School, Thurmont Middle School, Urbana Middle School, Valley Elementary School, Walkersville Elementary, Walkersville High School, Windsor Knolls Middle School, and Wolfsville Elementary School. New Leaders are needed to bring other schools into the program.


A FREE Certified Maryland Green School Leader Training will be offered in Baltimore County on February 2 (details below). With enough interest from Frederick County, a future training in Frederick County may be offered. If you are interested in this training, or a future training in Frederick County, please contact Joanne Schmader at greenschools@maeoe.org.


Certified Maryland Green School Leader Training (FREE!)  

February 2nd, 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  


Baltimore County Public Schools, Office of Science, PreK-12

9611 Pulaski Park Drive, Suite 307, Middle River, MD 21220

Space is limited. Please RSVP to greenschools@maeoe.org.

MYTH - Microwave Ovens Use More Energy than Stoves
MicrowaveMany people claim that microwave ovens use more energy than stove top ranges and ovens. But, in reality, microwave ovens are generally more energy efficient. The Potomac Edison Watt Watchers program estimates that a typical 875 watt microwave oven operated for about 10 hours per month costs only $0.79 each month to operate (at a rate of $0.09/kilowatt-hour). On the other hand, a typical 12,000 watt range operated for about 10 hours per month costs $10.80 to operate (Source).

Busted Graphic 

Your energy-saving potential can be maximized by using alternatives to your oven and range for heating up small portions. The Energy Star program reports that using microwaves to heat small portions, such as leftovers, can reduce cooking energy by approximately 80% (Source).


The summer is the most important time of year to be aware of your appliance use in the kitchen. Using your range and oven can significantly increase the air temperature in your home, forcing your air conditioner to work harder and use more energy to cool off your home. Substitute the range and oven for the use of your microwave, crock-pot, toaster oven, or outdoor grill. Or better yet, prepare cool meals like salads.


Some individuals may find the oven and range to be indispensable for cooking certain dishes. To make their use more energy efficient, refrain from pre-heating the oven except for baking; cover pots and pans while cooking, use a pot or pan that covers the entire surface of the heating element, and choose to use the smaller element paired with a smaller pot or pan when possible.


For more information about appliance energy usage, check out:

Watt Watchers Applliance Fact Sheet

Scientific American Article on Stove vs. Microwave Use

How Much Electricity Do Household Items Use?


Have you heard a myth or urban legend related to sustainability and the environment that you would like resolved? Send it to sustainability@frederickcountymd.gov and we'll get to the bottom of it!  


WaterSense Drop
For Kids: WaterSense 
Go on patrol! 
Find out where your family could be wasting hundreds of gallons 
of water each day! Visit the WaterSense web site and take the WaterSense
Quiz or play the Watersense Game
For Municipalities:

Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) is a new, free, voluntary initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland (EFC) designed to support Maryland's 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in resource areas like water, energy, planning, health, food, and economy, a municipality can earn points toward sustainability certification.



County Seal Red

SFC - seal

The Frederick County Sustainability and Environmental Resources Office advances practical solutions for protecting the environment, conserving energy, and living sustainably in Frederick County.