What Can I Do On Climate Change?

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Everyone can play a role in contributing to Rockville’s Climate Action Plan. It requires both system level changes and individual actions to address climate change. Each person, household, business, or organization has a unique carbon footprint and set of opportunities. The actions each of us can take are different, but the goals are the same: conserve energy, support renewable energy sources, consider your transportation options, reduce waste, look for ways to enjoy and protect nature, volunteer, and be prepared for changing weather.

Start by calculating your carbon footprint and learn easy first steps by visiting the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator or the quick ENERGY STAR® Home Energy Yardstick.

Establish a personal or household greenhouse gas reduction goal. Consider a few ideas below to reduce your carbon footprint and join with others in your community to do the same. Even small steps can make a difference!

Environment and Sustainability Newsletter

Sign up to get updates on Climate Action Plan news and events.

Climate Solutions Speaker Series

Watch the virtual presentations below from our Climate Solutions Speaker Series. The full playlist can be found here.

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Energy Efficiency1

  • Switch to LED lighting.
    LED lights use up to 85% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lights.
  • Monitor your thermostat.
    Set your temperatures slightly higher in the summer and lower in winter. Upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat can help you monitor your energy usage and save money.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol when buying new appliances.
    At the end of your appliance’s useful life, transition to electric appliances including heat pumps for heating/cooling, hot water heaters, and electric stoves in anticipation of the electric grid becoming greener.
  • Schedule an energy assessment.
    Homeowners can receive ideas for home comfort upgrades to make homes more energy efficient. Click here for energy resources.
    • Pepco offers free home energy assessments, appliance and lighting rebates, and up to $7,500 rebate for energy efficiency upgrades under the Home Performance with Energy Star program. Learn more about Pepco's services.
    • Montgomery County offers an annual $250 tax credit for home improvements including air sealing, insulation, windows, doors, heating and cooling equipment, and more. Requires a Renewable Energy Tax Credit Application.
  • Wash smart and save energy.
    Take shorter showers, wash laundry with cold water, use a dryer ball, and run the dishwasher only when full. Use larger appliances like washing machines at off-peak hours to lower the energy demand.
  • Upgrade your wood burning stove.
    Maryland offers up to $700 under the Clean Burning Wood and Pellet Rebate Program.
  • Find financing and funding resources for smart energy investments.

1For a comprehensive list of rebates and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy, search by state at dsireusa.org.

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Renewable Energy

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Transportation

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Land Management

  • Plant native plants and trees.
    Biodiverse and resilient ecosystems absorb carbon, provide shade, reduce air and water pollution, and provide habitats for native wildlife. Remove non-native invasive plants that crowd out native plants and reduce biodiversity. Plant a mixture of species, including food-bearing (e.g., fruit and nuts) trees and shrubs. Create spaces where you can ‘leave your leaves.’
  • Install RainScapes projects.
    Possible projects include rain gardens, conservation landscapes, rain barrels, permeable pavers, and pavement removal. Save money by applying for RainScapes Rebates.
  • Practice sustainable lawn and garden care.
    Reduce synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use, practice organic lawn care, reduce the size of your lawn, electrify lawnmowers and leafblowers if feasible, and compost yard trim. Learn more at montgomerycountymd.gov/lawns.
  • Shop at the Farmers Market.
    The farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, cut flowers, preserves, honey, herbs, baked goods and other items that you find at the Rockville Farmers Market are fresher and travel a shorter distance than similar grocery store products.
  • Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
    Get a once-a-week or biweekly box full of local fruits and veggies that are in season delivered to your door or that you pick up. Learn more from Montgomery County's Office of Agriculture.

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Waste and Materials

  • Reduce and reuse.
    Avoid single use materials, donate, shop at second-hand stores and yard sales, and use neighborhood free or buy/sell/trade groups.
  • Recycle right.
    Learn what items can be recycled. When in doubt, throw it out. Make sure hazardous waste, electronics and metal are disposed of properly.
  • Gift differently.
    Give experiences, buy local, volunteer or donate in someone’s name, and minimize wrapping waste.
  • Reduce food waste and save money.
    Meal plan, only buy the ingredients you need, and use reusable meal containers. Learn more about food composting here.
  • Practice Meatless Mondays.
    Every Monday, choose a vegetarian meal over a meal that includes meat. A complete plant-based diet is not for everyone, but a small reduction in meat consumption one day a week can be a healthy choice that’s also good for the environment.

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Resiliency

  • Purchase flood insurance and flood-proof your home.
    Visit the National Flood Insurance Program to evaluate your risk and then, depending on what you learn, buy insurance, and make home improvements.
  • Build an emergency preparedness kit to prepare for climate disasters.
    Have basic household items on hand, such as nonperishable food, water, a battery-operated radio, a flashlight, first aid materials, extra batteries, and a backup of critical files.
  • Stay informed.
    Reduce risks from high heat days, storms, insect borne illnesses and harmful algae blooms by registering with the Alert Montgomery System for immediate emergency notifications and following City of Rockville and Montgomery County on social media for non-emergency updates.
  • Build community connections.
    Help vulnerable neighbors, support community shelters and cooling centers, and ensure pets are hydrated and cared for.
  • Visit our Emergency Preparedness page for emergency preparedness tips.

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Public Engagement and Oversight

  • Help Rockville’s environment.
    Join stream and trail cleanups, non-native invasive removals, and other nature-based volunteer opportunities.
  • Join a city board or commission.
    Lend your expertise, thoughts, ideas, and opinions to shape Rockville’s future.
  • Help a neighbor, senior or other vulnerable community members.
    Join or start a “Rockville Village” to foster social connections and coordinate volunteer help. Learn more at rockvillemd.gov/villages.
  • Volunteer or donate to local assistance programs and social and environmental justice efforts.
    Underserved communities are disproportionately affected by climate change. Visit our Donations and Sponsorship Programs page for a list of city assistance programs.
  • Visit rockvillemd.gov/volunteer to find volunteer opportunities with the city.