Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Baltimore County green news

And now, a long-overdue post about what's been going on in Baltimore County green news!

I attended a community meeting on 2 Dec 2008 that was co-sponsored by Baltimore County Office of Sustainability and the Sierra Club. There were speakers from Maryland Dept of Environment, Baltimore County Commission on Environmental Quality, Baltimore chapter of the USGBC, in addition to the sponsor organizations.

We heard about the Regional GHG Initiative (RGGI), the Maryland Climate Change Commission that was founded in April 2007, the 2008 Climate Action Plan (1. Mitigation, 2. Adaptation, 3. Science), and Baltimore County's carbon footprint measurement progress.

Some other organizations and ideas I picked up at this meeting included:

* "pay as you drive" car insurance may be available from GEICO in the future. This would especially benefit Zipcar customers and telecommuter/public transit riders.

* carbon footprint note: buildings in the mid-Atlantic region require more heating and air conditioning than those in the north or south regions, because we have both cold winters and hot summers, whereas north or south regions have one or the other.

* Baltimore County encompasses 600 square miles and 315,000 households. Something like 80% of the population lives on 30% of the land here: there is a distinct line of demarcation between urban and rural areas. Its carbon footprint is mostly comprised of carbon from electricity generation, followed by transportation emissions. The area with the greatest potential for carbon reduction is waste management and recycling, which brings me to...

** SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING IS COMING!** We in the county have been jealous of Baltimore City's single stream recycling program with weekly pickup for months now, but not for much longer. The date has yet to be announced, but watch for an announcement in 2009. Here's an article I found online about it. And if somebody can tell me how to upload and link pdf documents to a Blogger account, I'll attach the Towson Times article I clipped on 12/24/08. Merry Christmas, County!

* For citizens disgruntled about the local bus routes that have been moved or cancelled... sorry. MTA public transit is funded by the state, not by the county.

* Check out the Baltimore Sustainability network's webpage at BaltimoreClimate.org

* All new county buildings are to meet LEED silver rating standards from now on. County and City schools will be retrofitted as feasible.

* I also heard of Builders for the Bay for the first time at this meeting.

That's all for my local green news catchup today. I have been and will be attending some good green lectures lately, so stay posted for more in this vein...


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