Region Forward Blog

Mobilizing Volunteers and Homeowners Reducing Energy Use and the 100% Wind Powered City

Apr 19, 2012


Read the first round-up of Earth Month posts here.

Week two of Region Forward’s focus on Earth Month featured an abundance of actions by area governments and officials to make metro Washington greener. In Prince William County residents play an active role in protecting its natural areas through the Go Green Movement.

In Arlington the County has teamed with LEAP (Local Energy Alliance Program) to help homeowners learn how to green their homes and save money on their energy bills.

Prince George’s County’s Energy Strategy includes a number of new initiatives to reduce energy use including the installation of a cool roof and solar panels on County and municipal buildings and a windmill in Cheverly. The County’s neighbor and MWCOG’s newest member Charles County is making green strides as well with the construction of a new library Waldorf West. The library will open in late summer of 2012 and will be Charles County’s first LEED certified public building.

In addition state buildings and facilities throughout Maryland are greener thanks to a bill by Delegate Al Carr that requires the state to maximize energy conservation and minimize light pollution.

At the municipal level the City of Fairfax green building resolution shows how a city can get the ball rolling on sustainable initiatives. Finally the City of College Park has the distinction of being a 100% wind powered city. The City offsets all of its electricity usage through wind power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs).

For more information on each of these green highlights please see excerpts below from press releases and web sites of the localities.

Prince William County focuses on creating volunteer opportunities for families to play a role in protecting local natural areas. This year the Department of Public Works has sponsored eight projects in its Six Weeks to Make a Difference Campaign. The County also regularly publicizes opportunities for its residents to get involved with community partners who are dedicated to improving trails planting trees removing trash and litter and sprucing up the County’s natural treasures.

Arlington County has partnered with LEAP (Local Energy Alliance Program) to provide a one-stop shop of who to call what to do and how to pay for home energy repairs in Northern Virginia. Arlington homeowners interested in saving 20% or more on their energy bills can take a quick home energy assessment so LEAP can provide expertise guidance and financial incentives for repairs.

Prince George’s County has developed an Energy Strategy to reduce energy consumption throughout the county. With the help of a Block Grant of $6.6M from the U.S. Department of Energy the County has installed several solar panels on several County and Municipal buildings installed a cool roof at the Department of Environmental Resources building weatherized several public buildings and mounted a wind mill to generate power in the Town of Cheverly. These projects enhance the County’s ability to meet its goals of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 20% by 2015 (as compared to FY 2007).

Charles County is constructing a new library Waldorf West which will open in late summer of 2012. This building was designed to be LEED-certified and will be Charles County Government’s first LEED-certified public building. In the last two years Charles County hosted two Green Expos and a Green Symposium to share environmentally friendly best practices and ways to reduce our carbon footprint. For information on Charles County’s latest Going Green initiatives visit

In Maryland outdoor lighting at state buildings and facilities must be designed to maximize energy conservation and to minimize light pollution glare and light trespass. A bill sponsored by Delegate Al Carr (who represents District 18 in Montgomery County) and passed last year states that lighting must be shielded to restrict uplight and the illumination produced by the lighting must be the minimum illumination necessary for the intended purpose of the lighting.

In May 2009 the City of Fairfax adopted a resolution recommending green building practices and climate protection strategies for future development beginning with encouraging private developers to meet LEED Certified building requirements obtaining higher fuel efficiency government vehicles and creating a public education program to promote green building standards for residential and commercial developers. As a part of Earth Month the City is also sponsoring clean-up events and its Environmental Sustainability committee has developed a survey to obtain input from residents on environmental issues. and

College Park continues to pursue its sustainability efforts by offsetting 100% of its electricity usage through wind power in the form of renewable energy credits (RECs). The wind power purchase goes beyond its initial plan of offsetting electrical usage for all city facilities and offsets usage for all streetlights in addition the City’s municipal facilities including City Hall Davis Hall Youth and Family Services and the Department of Public Services portion of the Calvert Rd. School. The City will continue to purchase 100% renewable energy in the foreseeable future. College Park’s Committee for Better Environment is also sponsoring a number of green events including an April 21st planting at Attick Towers. and

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