It's been just over a month since the Rockville Mayor and Council issued a challenge to the community to use green power after signing on with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to become a Green Power Community.
So far, residents and businesses have made a powerful statement. Rockville is already No. 11. Since launching the challenge March 1, Rockville has already achieved 53 percent of its green power goal. Some of the major contributors include:
- The Rockville Ice Arena has one of the largest single solar energy rooftop installation systems in Maryland.
- The Tower Companies purchases 100 percent green power.
- Montgomery College purchases 20 percent wind power and its new Science Center features a solar electricity rooftop system.
- Shady Grove Adventist Hospital (because it is in a Rockville ZIP code, it is counted) purchases 10 percent green power.
- Montgomery County Public Schools has installed solar electricity systems at Richard Montgomery High School and College Gardens Elementary.
- At time of printing for this publication, Rockville was still gathering data on resident contributions.
The Green Power Community Challenge is part of a national campaign that encourages communities to use green power and promote environmental sustainability, energy innovation and a reduction in carbon emissions.
Green power is electricity generated by renewable resources such as solar or wind. Buying one 100 kWh (Kilowatt-hours) block of green power has the same environmental benefit of not driving a car 2,400 miles or planting a half-acre of trees.
During the Green Power Community Challenge, Rockville is encouraging residents and businesses to switch their electricity source to green power. Rockville will track and report the community's collective green power use to EPA through August. During the challenge, the City will track and report the community's collective green power use to EPA.
At the conclusion of the national challenge, the community with the highest green power percentage and the community that uses the most kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power will receive national recognition from EPA. The winning communities will be declared in September.
There are three ways that Rockville residents and businesses can help the City achieve the Green Power Community Challenge goal:
- Purchase Clean Energy from a Supplier
- Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
- On-Site Renewable Energy Generation
Residents can purchase a 60-gallon EarthMinded Rainstation with complete installation kit. Pre-order by Friday, April 22, for pick up at the Croydon Creek Nature Center Spring Festival and Native Plant Sale on April 30. Learn more at www.rockvillemd.gov/environment/watersheds/rainbarrels.html or call 240-314-8873.
Series of Events Honor Environment
Each year Rockville celebrates Earth Day, which is April 22, with a variety of activities throughout the spring, including lecture series, workshops and stream cleanups.
History The Natural Way - Heritage Hike
April 3, 1:30-3 p.m., Croydon Creek Nature Center
Rockville Civic Center Park is home to many little known historical sites. Take a walk on the Heritage Trail with a naturalist and Peerless Rockville to discover more about these hidden relics. Must be 18 or older. Registration required. Cost is $5, resident; $7, non-resident. Call 240-314-8770 to register.
Saturday, April 9
Participate in the 23rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup. Help pick up trash that washes down local streams each spring. Student Service Learning hours are available for student volunteers. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Bags and gloves provided. E-mail Amanda Matheny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Invasive Plant Pull
April 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Croydon Creek Nature Center
Invasive plants are bad for the environment because they out compete native plants and offer little or no food for native wildlife. Gloves and bags provided. Dress for the weather. Student Service Learning hours are available for student volunteers. E-mail Amanda Matheny at email@example.com.
Arbor Day Tree Planting Event
Thursday, April 14, 1:30 p.m., Red Brick Courthouse, 29 Courthouse Square
Rockville will commemorate Arbor Day with a tree planting.
Rockville has been named a Tree City USA for 22 consecutive years.
Friday, April 22
Celebrate Earth Day by practicing environmentally friendly efforts in your daily life. Go to www.rockvillemd.gov/environment and click on Earth Day events to find environmental tips.
Environmental Awards Ceremony
Monday, April 25
The City of Rockville Environmental Excellence Awards (EEA), including the Carl Henn Outstanding Individual Environmental Achievement Award, are presented to individuals or organizations by the Mayor and Council to recognize outstanding achievement or service to the environment in Rockville.
Go Green: Beekeeping
April 27, 7-8 p.m., Croydon Creek Nature Center
Learn about honeybees, and explore the social structure of the hive, as well as the art and science of beekeeping. This event is free. Call 240-314-8770 to register.
Spring Festival and Native Plant Sale
April 30, 1-4 p.m., Croydon Creek Nature Center
Come out for woodland hikes, nature games and crafts, exhibits, live animal shows and a native plant sale. This event is free. No registration is required. Plant pre-orders are being accepted through the Croydon Creek Nature Center. Call 240-314-8770 for more information.
You're likely to know that you can recycle newspapers, bottles and cans or even recycle aluminum foil and cardboard boxes. The following list outlines a few more items to add to your recycling:
- Empty aerosol cans
- Soft plastics, including shrink wrap, bubble wrap, newspaper sleeves and retail bags (place all soft plastics in a single bag in the cart)
- Rigid plastics, including milk jugs, toys, buckets, flower pots, patio furniture, laundry baskets and clothes hangers
- Wax coated milk and juice boxes, all junk mail (including those with plastic windows), catalogs and pizza boxes with minor grease
To learn more about recycling, go to www.rockvillemd.gov/recycling-refuse. You can also call 240-314-8568 to arrange special collection of electronics, scrap metal and household hazardous materials.