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Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources (OSER)
TopIssue: 10  Summer/2012 
In This Issue
Calendar of Events
Green Leader Challenge Launched!
New Be SMART Grant
Energy Champions & Sustainability Leaders
Guest Column on 2012 Building Codes
Energy Savers for Homes
Energy Savers for Business
Business Corner: Innovation with Biofuels
Watershed Implementation Plans
Rain Garden Workshop
Neighborhood Green
Summer OSER Interns
Mythbusters on Storm Drains
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Did You Miss the Summer Issue of FNP's GREEN Magazine? 

SummerGreen 2012

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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. 






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Frederick County Sustainability Commission Meeting

Wednesday, August 15

3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m



Frederick County Nature Council Meeting

Monday, August 20

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m


 Thousand Cankers Disease of Walnut Educational Bus Tour

Saturday, Sept. 8



MD Clean Energy Summit

September 17-19



Frederick County Nature Council Meeting

Monday, Sept. 17

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m



Frederick County Sustainability Commission Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 19

3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m



Frederick Green Drinks

Wednesday, Sept.19

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.




Saturday, Sept. 29

10:30 a.m. - noon




Making Connections

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2012 Rain Garden
June 16 Rain Garden Workshop             Photo by Donald Frame



 Shannon B&W Head Shot

I hope you're having a great summer despite our heat waves! If your home or business is uncomfortable, or you are bothered by high utility bills, this newsletter is full of great opportunities and incentives to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of  your home or business.


We recently launched our 2nd Green Homes Challenge: Be a Green Leader! That along with several articles about our watershed will help you take action at home to protect our waterways and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. 


Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Shannon Moore


CHALLENGE 2 Launched: Be a Green Leader!

Green Leader Logo

Do you want to conserve valuable resources and create a healthy home? The recently launched Green Leader Challenge can help make that happen in your household and community! The Challenge, which is the second component in Frederick County's Green Homes Challenge, helps households to reduce their environmental impacts, improve health and safety at home, and save on utilities, fuel, and goods. Households can certify in the Green Leader Challenge by engaging in actions such as recycling, composting, carpooling, eating local foods, using environmentally-friendly cleaners, installing low-flow showerheads, installing rain barrels, and reducing fertilizer use. Read more...


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EPAAWARD NEW INITIATIVES: Be SMART Funds Home Efficiency Improvements
Blown in Attic Insulation

OSER recently received a $274,000 grant from the MD Department of Housing and Community Development. OSER pursued this Be SMART Aggregated Energy Services grant in order to expand and extend the Green Homes Challenge and to address challenges residents face when trying to make their homes more energy efficient. Funding will be used for three initiatives.


Power Saver Retrofits will address the barrier of up-front funding for energy efficiency improvements. Home owners registered in our Power Saver Challenge will invest $400 for efficiency upgrades and receive an additional $1,600 worth of efficiency upgrades from the grant. The program will serve approximately 85 mid-sized homes of 2,600 sq. ft. or less. Read more...


RECOGNITION: Energy Champions and Sustainability Leaders
2012 Sustainability Awards
Shannon Moore (left) and the Board of County Commissioners recognize the
2012 Energy Champions and Sustainability Leaders

Just in time for summer, Frederick County Government held a ceremony to recognize winners of our 2012 Leadership in Energy and Sustainability Awards.  The winners of these awards are staff and partners who went above and beyond their normal duties to save the county energy and money, and to make our practices more sustainable.  My hope is that you will be inspired by these Energy Champions and Sustainability Leaders for your own projects.  Here are our award winners for 2012! Read More...


2012 Energy Champions Donnie Crum, Assistant Superintendant, Highway Operations; Office of Facilities Maintenance, Division of Public Works


2012 Sustainability LeadersJason Jenkins, Parks Foreman, Division of Parks and Recreation; Division of Parks and Recreation


2012 Outstanding Partner in Energy and Sustainability: Gary Barkdoll, Manager, Central Shops, Frederick County Public Schools  


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Mark Lancaster, Chairman, Frederick Co. Sustainability Commission
Building Permit graphic

In January 2012, the State of Maryland adopted a new National Energy Code pertaining to residential homes. The 2012 Code became effective on July 1, 2012, and attempts to make new homes 30% more energy efficient than homes built under the 2006 version of the code.


Through legislation and additional regulations, the 2012 Code requires a significant increase in building costs on items that may or may not be important to the consumer. A prospective buyer may be faced with a home lacking granite counter tops because the builder was required to install a costly energy recovery ventilation (ERV) system. Read more...


Two Rebate Programs Make Efficiency Improvements Affordable

Would you like to be reimbursed for 50% of a home improvement cost? Two Maryland programs now offer home performance assessments and substantial rebates for energy efficiency improvements. Determining which one will be most beneficial to you depends on your utility company and what source of energy powers your heating and cooling systems:

  • Residents with primarily electric powered heating, ventilation and cooling systems will benefit from Potomac Edison rebates.
  • BeSMART Residents living in Thurmont or households with non-electric heating, ventilation and cooling systems should check out the new Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Be SMART Home rebate offerings. This program covers households ineligible for Potomac Edison's incentives.

Keep in mind that each program has its own list of approved contractors, so before you engage a home performance auditor or contractor, find out if they are on approved Be SMART or Potomac Edison contractor lists. Lists are available through the program's web sites. Read more...


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Loans and Tax Credits Help Businesses Save Energy and Money

Be SMART Business: To assist small businesses in financing energy efficiency projects for their commercial buildings, The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has recently designed the low-interest Be SMART Business Loan Program. The program allows business and commercial building owners to save big on utility bills by utilizing energy saving measures on eligible projects including new constructions, rehabilitations, leasehold improvements and even ENERGY STAR machinery and appliance upgrades.  


In 2005 the Federal Government enacted the Energy Policy Act to provide energy conscientious business owners with immediate tax deductions.  Read more... 


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EPAAWARD BUSINESS CORNER: Spearheading Innovation in Biofuels
Advanced Bio Fuels Logo


Two Frederick entities, Advanced Biofuels USA and Atlantic Biomass Conversions, Inc.,  are on the forefront of the advanced biofuels industry, a group of technologies aimed at generating renewable liquid fuels derived from biological feedstocks like agricultural or forestry residues, or energy crops.


Advanced Biofuels USA, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, advocates for the adoption of advanced biofuels as an energy security, economic development, military flexibility, and climate change/pollution control solution. The website, www.advancedbiofuelsusa.org, is a searchable library of information and teaching materials about advanced biofuels for those who are new to the topic, as well as for professionals in the field. An international audience of thousands of industry professionals, journalists, opinion-leaders, legislators, decision-makers, students, and teachers use this resourceregularly. Organizational representatives present at conferences, meet with Capitol Hill staff on policy development, and provide advice and references to those with questions about biofuels research, development, deployment, and use.


Atlantic Biomass Conversions, Inc., has developed a breakthrough biosynthetic enzymatic process to release sugars suitable for producing biofuels and bioproducts from plant cell wall biomass.  Sources may include agricultural residues, low-cost perennial "energy" grasses, and paper pulp. Read more...


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MCWAWATERSHED NEWS: Watershed Implementation Plans   

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

All of the land in Frederick County drains to the Chesapeake Bay. That makes us part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.  The Bay is currently polluted with nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment. These pollutants are preventing the estuary from meeting water quality standards. Because of the impairments, the pollutants are regulated through a mechanism in the Clean Water Act known as Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs.


Who is responsible for the pollution in the Bay? The simple answer is that we all are. Fertilizers from golf courses, agricultural land, and lawns are big culprits. So are wastewater treatment plants and leaking sewer lines.  Livestock manure is a big source of nutrients. Septic systems also pollute. Even migratory birds and pets contribute to the problem through their waste. How do we fix these problems? The Environmental Protection Agency has required states to put together Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) that address the sources of pollution in each state. Most recently, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) wrote its Draft Phase II WIP and submitted it to EPA on March 30, 2012. The plan includes pollution reductions by sector, such as urban stormwater, agriculture, construction, septics, and wastewater treatment plants.  Now the state is asking local governments to submit plans to meet local targets by Monday, July 16. These local plans are voluntary, and the reductions at the local level are targets, not regulatory wasteload allocations.  Read more...


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RainGarden2RAIN GARDEN WORKSHOP: Turnout Exceeds Expectations
Rain Garden Workshop Participant
Master Gardener Regina Irizzary assisted with the planting.
(Photo by Donald Frame)

OSER kicked off the new Green Leader Challenge with a Rain Garden Workshop held on Saturday, June 16, at Camp Round Meadow, Catoctin Mountain Park. Nearly 50 Frederick County community members got their hands dirty planting 175 plants in the new 320 square-foot rain garden, which will reduce stormwater runoff to Owens Creek. The planting was preceded by a workshop during which participants learned about the benefits and how-to of rain gardens. Speakers Nicole  Robinson (OSER), Terry Welsh (NRCS), and Ruth H. Axelrod (Master Gardeners) talked about watersheds, rain garden benefits, location, soil types, sizing, construction, design, and maintenance.  Many participants were excited to implement a rain garden at home and get started with the Green Homes Challenge.


Neighborhood Green Update
2012 Neighborhood Green Workshop

On May 12, OSER and the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance (MCWA) partners hosted the Neighborhood Green workshop at Linganore High School. More than 30 landowners attended the workshop to learn more about converting their yards to more environmentally-sustainable habitats.


Background:  In 2011, OSER received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to work with private landowners with 10 acres and less to reforest unused areas of lawn; permanently protect existing forest land; manage invasive species; and reduce fertilizer use through urban nutrient management. Two Neighborhood Green workshops were to be held in May 2012 and May 2013 to help landowners create site plans to reduce lawn and increase natural areas with trees, meadows, and more. An optional site visit by a natural resource professional would be offered to each participant to assist with creating site plans. For landowners in the Linganore watershed, cost-share for reforestation would be provided through a competitive application process. The workshops and site visits were offered to all Frederick County citizens, as well as some Carroll County citizens in the Linganore watershed. Read more...


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StaffUpdateStaff Update: Summer Interns Join OSER
2012 Interns
Interns James Luttrell, Rich Lefebure and Kaitlyn Mitchell
OSER is in the midst of some big projects and we have several great summer interns on board to help us with a broad range of activities. James Luttrell, Rich Lefebure, Kaitlyn Mitchell, and Katie Tartaglia will be assisting with various tasks during their internships with us. Learn more about their backgrounds and projects. Read more...


MYTH - Water Entering Storm Drains Gets Treated Before Entering Waterways

Storm Drain

What happens to water when it disappears down those mysterious storm drains lining our streets? Most people know that water flushed down toilets and washed down sink and shower drains enters the sanitary sewer system and ends up at wastewater treatment plants. There, the water is treated to remove much of the organic material and nutrients. But unlike wastewater, most stormwater is directed, untreated, right into local streams and rivers. Read more...



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