2013 Green Award Winners
Category 1: Businesses or non-profit organizations that have created an innovative green product, are selling an innovative green service and/or promoting a green lifestyle.
Winner: Farm to Freezer
Cheryl Kollin and Farm to Freezer, the business she started in 2012, represent the best of innovative social enterprise. Cheryl is tackling the dual problems of hunger and food waste. Farm to Freezer processes hundreds of pounds of excess fresh, edible vegetables left at the end of farm markets each week into healthy, frozen tomato sauce, ratatouille, roasted vegetables and apple sauce. Sales of these products allow Farm to Freezer to deep discount products to hunger relief agencies seeking local, healthy food for their clients all year round.
After a successful pilot program last year in collaboration with Bethesda Cares, Farm to Freezer launched this year as a for-profit enterprise. In its first three months of operations, Farm to Freezer has processed 2,400 packages of frozen vegetables for Manna Food Center’s clients. Consumers can purchase its frozen food products at area grocery stores that offer locally made products.
Cheryl has connected our local food system with creative collaborations including Manna Food Center, Woodside United Methodist Church, and Interfaith Works that share this social mission.
A.I.R. Lawn Care
The Compost Crew
Category 2: Businesses or non-profits that have significantly incorporated green practices into their culture and operations
Winner: Abt Associates
In April of 2012, Abt Associates made a public commitment to incorporate environmental sustainability into its operations. Since this announcement, Abt has issued a formal Environmental Policy and established a comprehensive framework to account and mitigate its footprint on the environment.
Abt has developed a detailed greenhouse gas inventory, including emissions from operations in all of its U.S. locations. A comprehensive employee survey led to the implementation of a number of projects aimed to green employee commutes, including doubling of Abt’s employee public transportation subsidy, establishing a biking subsidy, and reserving preferred parking spaces for fuel efficient and low emissions vehicles.
Another significant green accomplishment for Abt Associates is the waste minimization program, which has three main components: Reuse, Recycle, and Compost. Abt provides reusable flatware to all employee kitchenettes and promotes the Reuse component of the program with clear signage and employee engagement events. A single stream recycling system was instituted to increase the amount of materials disposed of into the recycling stream. Finally, Abt switched all products served in the cafeteria to compostable products.
Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong Driscoll PC
Category 3: Restaurants and food markets that have significantly incorporated green practices into their culture and operations.
Winner: Founding Farmers
Founding Farmers of Montgomery County demonstrates its commitment to the environment through comprehensive green business practices and community engagement. Sustainability is integral to every aspect of the restaurant, from operations, to menu planning, to interior design and more. All food waste is composted and redistributed to regional farms, while strict recycling standards ensure a high diversion rate for all other recyclable waste material.
In May 2013, Founding Farmers became the first full-service restaurant in Montgomery County to earn LEED Silver Certification as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The restaurant earned high points in a number of categories, including sustainable food; chemical and pollution reduction; 100 percent Styrofoam-free operations; waste reduction and full-scale recycling; water efficiency; and use of sustainable building materials.
Carbon neutrality (100 percent of its energy comes from wind power) and LEED Silver Certification are just two of many accomplishments. The restaurant engages community and staff members on sustainability by ensuring that servers and are well versed in green topics, and by publicizing educational events and environmental news on the Founding Farmers blog. Along with its sister restaurant in Washington, DC, Founding Farmers in Montgomery County is an industry leader in the development of green business strategies and shares its knowledge with others seeking to operate sustainably.
Black's Bar & Kitchen
Category 4: Community groups (neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, schools) that have significantly incorporated green practices into their culture and operations.
Winner: Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy
MJBHA has completely transformed its focus on clean energy usage and going green in general in the past few years. It started with the Headmaster's 5 percent initiative – the commitment to use less paper, less power and fewer materials. Signing a wind power contract followed, and then the installation of solar panels was not far behind. During that time, the school also installed a rain garden and planted trees to help restore the tree canopy in Montgomery County.
To help with the budget, the school negotiated a solar contract and power buy-back agreement. In the end, MJBHA has saved about 20 percent on electricity costs annually and generated over 1 million KW hours of green power (solar and wind).
The solar project has helped educate the students about solar power and clean energy usage. A flat-screen monitor displays solar power usage with up-to-the-minute information and places the energy usage in context of what that same energy can power (12 coffee pots, 2 households, etc.). Weekly, the school reports the total power generated over the life of the system, reinforcing core environmental values to the students.
Kentlands Community Foundation
Kol Shalom Synagogue
Category 5: Individuals who are actively promoting and living a green lifestyle.
Winner: Brian Detwiler
Brian is the quintessential early adopter of green technology; he's willing to go out of his way to recycle even the smallest piece of plastic; and he loves to encourage friends, family, and coworkers to adopt similar practices.
When Brian and his wife bought their first home two years ago, he immediately began researching how to get solar panels on the little brick rambler built in 1950. Despite skepticism from friends and family, the couple decided on a leasing program offered by Solar City and have been ecstatic about the results – 4.5 tons of CO2 offset since installation and many months during which more electricity was produced than consumed.
Brian is also a champion of the electric car movement. Earlier this this year, he took delivery (via a leasing program) of Honda’s first all-electric Fit EV car on the East Coast. Since then, he has enthusiastically answered questions from friends, family, and coworkers, sharing success stories and generating interest on ways to positively impact the environment.
Brian does all of the obvious things, like recycling, using a rain barrel, using CFL and LED lights, reducing consumption, driving less, and walking / biking more, but he has an insatiable appetite for more. He leads by example and hopes to encourage others to do the same.
Credit: Darren S. Higgins, photographer, 2013 Green Award Winners
CATEGORY 1: A business that have created innovative green product, are selling an innovative green services and/or are promoting a green lifestyle.
David Levine, CEO
Bethesda-based Geostellar provides an instant, free and independent analysis of your solar energy potential. Through predictive algorithms, Geostellar analyzes properties for rooftop solar by computing the site’s shading, slope and orientation. Combining this pixel-by-pixel breakdown with information on electricity rates, usage and applicable incentives, Geostellar’s online platform enables property owners to quickly assess the value of their rooftop for solar, select an installer, arrange financing and start saving money while reducing carbon pollution.
CATEGORY 2: A non-profit whose primary focus is producing and/or selling innovative green products, providing innovative green services, and/or promoting green lifestyle.
Diane Lill, Director, GreenKids program
Under the direction of Diane Lill, the Audubon Naturalist Society's GreenKids program has produced a green culture change throughout Montgomery County Public Schools. GreenKids has brought free, hands-on environmental lessons to one-fifth of all MCPS schools, reaching more than 25,000 students and 1,000 teachers.
Since 2005, GreenKids has helped 40 MCPS schools become certified Maryland Green Schools, including every school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster -- the first and only all-green cluster in the county.
GreenKids helps students to connect with nature at their schools by growing their own salads, composting with worms, creating habitat for butterflies, monitoring the health of local streams, becoming top-notch recyclers, and discovering new ways to save energy -- from shutting down computers at the end of each day to turning out the lights when the sun shines brightly in their classrooms.
CATEGORY 3: A business not involved in providing green products or services, but has significantly incorporated green practices into its culture and operations.
Diane Harder, Chair, JBS Green Team
JBS International, a woman-owned management and IT services firm, launched its formal environmental sustainability efforts in 2008. Under the leadership of Chair Diane Harder, the JBS Green Team has partnered with Whole Foods to bring composting to the firm. Jerri Shaw, JBS co-CEO, notes, “Thanks to members of the Green Team, we will be taking tons of recyclable and reusable materials out of the waste stream from our offices in North Bethesda.”
Employee educational sessions and signs explain what is compostable and recyclable. Regular trash bins were replaced with bins that have three options: compost, recycle, and waste. Last year, JBS International diverted 12 tons of compostable waste from landfills.
For corporate meetings and events, the firm replaced paper products and plastic-ware with reusable and recyclable cups and uses a green-certified catering company. Cleaning supplies are nontoxic and purchased for their environmental safety.
CATEGORY 4: A non-profit not invovled in providing green products or services, but that has significantly incorporated green practices into its culture and operations.
Alex, Matt & Nick Markoff, Founders
Offering a unique mix of outdoor education and adventure programming, Calleva combines lessons on water conservation, erosion and runoff control and farming with group recreational activities on the Potomac River, demonstrating the importance of sustainable farming to the health of our local ecosystem. Calleva experiences take place on its working farm near Poolesville as well as on rivers, trails and forests all over our region.
Each year, Calleva works with more than 70 schools and countless families (over 3,000 students & summer campers) in the area with experiences designed to teach the interconnectedness of local farms, forests, rivers and streams. Calleva’s annual Earth Day clean-ups demonstrate its commitment to bringing community groups together for good works. In 2012, Calleva coordinated a clean-up that removed garbage from the Potomac River and creek banks, including assorted tires, chairs, barrels and other large items. They also repaired park benches and removed invasive species that are choking out native plants along the Potomac River. These kinds of events help to promote cooperation, awareness and stewardship among outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, schools and other community groups.
CATEGORY 5: A community (town, neighborhood, condo association, faith-cased organizations, etc.) that is promoting and implementing green practices.
Phyllis Marcuccio, Mayor Mark Charles, Chief of Environmental Management
Rockville adopted a comprehensive sustainability strategy in 2007, one of the first communities in the nation to do so. Under that strategy, Rockville has greened up its zoning and building codes; moved to acquire 60 percent of its electricity from wind generation; and adopted ordinances on green purchasing, water pollution and tree protection.
Rockville has also adopted a model local storm-water management program, restoring several miles of damaged streams. Rockville has also launched a single stream (no sorting) recycling program offering residents one of the most extensive programs in the State, including curb-side collection of scrap metal, electronics, and household hazardous waste, most of which are reused or recycled.
CATEGORY 6: A school (private or public) that is promoting and implementing green practices.
David Armstrong, Headmaster
Adopting an Environmental Values Statement in 2010, Landon has made a number of meaningful changes. Environmental studies are part of the overall experience at Landon, and every freshman takes a course in Environmental Stewardship.
Landon has made significant progress in reducing its energy output, using conservation measures that have saved the equivalent of almost 6 weeks of energy usage. Changes in the dining hall have reduced roughly 14 tons of trash hauled away for the year.
With the help of a Landon family, the school installed a state-of-the-art energy monitoring system that provides real time energy usage information for all five major buildings on campus. Guided by this information, Landon has implemented a multi-step program of energy conservation measures that saves the school nearly $50,000 a year.
CATEGORY 7: A individual who is actively promoting and living a green lifestyle.
Sustainable Design Group
For the last 35 years, home designer John Spears has pursued a singular purpose, working toward the goal of perfecting zero energy and self-sufficient buildings. He has built zero energy homes on 5 continents for private clients and multinational organizations.
In a time when people are pushing solutions and the public is confused by competing claims, Spears represents the quiet practical professional looking for the best solutions and the correct materials for each project. Innovative materials are chosen based on their appropriateness, and gadgetry that cannot contribute to the system performance is rejected. Each system is evaluated on cost, performance, sustainability and durability, allowing quantifiable justification for each material choice.
Validating that business approach, Spears and his partners recently received national recognition for building affordable zero energy housing in Frederick.
Photo Credit: Balance Photography
2011 Green Award Winners feature in Bethesda Magazine