As if we weren't already bursting our buttons in pride over the high quality schools in the DC metro area, several area schools were just recognized by the EPA for their renewable energy purchases through the Green Power Partnership program.
Bullis School is an independent, co-educational school in Potomac, MD. Educating students in grades 3-12, its mission is to provide a balanced academic, artistic, athletic and community service experience. Bullis' vision to prepare students to be 'caring citizens and critical thinkers' is apparent in its green principles.
Bullis' sustainability programs include: 100% of the school's power is offset by wind power or is derived from its 110kw solar electric system; an on-campus community garden providing organic food for school lunches; participation in the annual Green Cup Recycling Challenge. In 2011, Bullis was recognized as one of seven Green Award Winners by Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Green for promoting and implementing green practices on campus.
Norwood School is also a co-educational school and is located in Bethesda, MD. Norwood educates students in grades k-8. The school's first and foremost philosophy is to create a happy place for students to learn and feel supported and is very much alive in the school's daily teaching practices.
The school has made it a priority to be stewards of the earth and to educate its students to be more conscious of their impact on the environment. Norwood is offset by 100% wind power credits and has taken numerous steps to reduce its waste and energy consumption on campus. Norwood's green initiatives are led by the Green Initiative Task Force, made up of faculty, staff, parents and students, and the student-led organization, The Green Hawks.
The Maret School, set in the historic heart of Washington, DC, was founded by three immigrant sisters in 1911. Stemming from this unique and remarkable start, Maret seeks to instill a sense of energy, imagination, and entrepreneurial spirit in all its students. The school also incorporates innovative educational techniques that integrate real world experiences into classroom instruction, thereby broadening the scope of each child's experience. Integrity, connectedness, excellence, respect, and a balance of independence and collaboration are among the core values that the Maret School upholds.
Melvin J Berman Hebrew Academy
The Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, founded in 1944, provides a comprehensive Jewish and general education in an atmosphere of reverence, good citizenship, and love of the Jewish people and Israel. In partnership with the community, MJBHA strives to continue this journey, shaping a future for our students that is filled with purpose, accomplishment, caring and commitment to Jewish life and Jewish values.
The Academy sources renewable energy from wind power and from on site solar panels. "The school reduced its energy costs by 25 percent in FY2012 compared to the previous year under these green power arrangements, making additional funds available for education. While some of that savings may have been attributable to a milder winter, our investment in clean, green power helped reduce costs significantly," said Dr. Joshua Levisohn, MJBHA Headmaster.
This piece would be incomplete without a mention of MOM's Organic Market, ranked #18 on the Top 20 Retail list. MOM's purchases green power for 424% of their energy use, making them true wind power rock stars.
Clean Currents powers the 2nd most EPA Green Power Partners -- 213! And, we were only 5 away from being named #1. All in all, over 1,400 green power partners -- businesses, schools, universities, government, retail, etc. -- are using more than 27 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. These companies, institutions, and organizations are literally powering the growth of renewable energy in the US.
Clean Currents CEO, Charles Segerman, participates in Bike to Work Day 2012
Happy Bike Month! We're all about this mode of transportation, and the many ways we'll celebrate our bicycles this month. To kick things off, we asked the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) to send us tips for participating in Bike to Work Day on May 17th. Not only is it a great day celebrating biking in DC, MD and VA, but it's also a primary way to tally bike commuters. So check out these tips, and we'll see you May 17th!
What is Bike to Work Day?
Bike to Work Day is a yearly event that encourages commuters to bike to work. BTWD is a free event and open to everyone in the DC and Baltimore area. It's a celebration of biking in our region! This year, it's on Friday, May 17.
Why should someone who has never biked to work give it a try?
Besides being one of the most convenient, least expensive ways to get around town, it's fun! Bike commuting is better for the environment, your wallet, and your waistline.
You're interested in, or already, biking. Why register?
This is our best chance to tally bicycle commuters in the city each year, and every cyclist counts. Plus, Bike to Work Day is a giant party spread across 70 pit stops with food, drinks, and free giveaways!
When you sign up, you'll be asked to select your pit stop location. Pit stops are organized meetups in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia where you can drop in on your commute to enjoy Bike to Work Day festivities. Each of the 70 pit stops provides free T-shirts for pre-registered participants, food and drinks, and friendly staff and volunteers.
Pit stops are hosted by a variety of organizations and individuals. Clean Currents will be on hand at the Discovery Center in Silver Spring, in Downtown Bethesda, and at NIH! Find your pit stop here.
What if you can't make it to a pit stop. Should you still register?
Do you work the third shift or an otherwise nontraditional schedule? Do you bike to meetings from your home office? Bike to run errands? Bike to work some days, but not Fridays? Can't get away from your duties while the nearest pit stop is open? This is still your chance to be counted. Register now.
How do you prepare for Bike to Work Day?
You've signed up. Now what? If you don't have a bike at your disposal, you'll need to track down, rent, repair, or purchase a bike. There are tons of bike shops in the Washington region, and WABA members get a discount at many of them. Bike and Roll is providing complimentary rentals for BTWD riders on May 17. Additionally, if you're looking to rent a bike, Capital Bikeshare also has short-term memberships available.
If you normally drive or take public transportation, planning a bike-friendly route to work is essential. Several tools are available online, including Google Maps' bicycling directions and bikeplanner.org.
Scope out the area near your office or school prior to riding to find out where bike parking is available. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and consider the weather before heading out. Additionally, D.C. law requires cyclists under 16 years of age to wear a helmet.
Want company during your Bike to Work Day commute?
Biking is more fun with good company, so invite colleagues, neighbors, friends, or family to sign up and ride along with you. Consider it a challenge to get others out on the road with you.
Join or lead a convoy! BTWD convoys are led by experienced bicycle commuters throughout the region. Convoy leaders announce a route and designate pick-up points along the way. Most end at Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. but all are open to anyone who wants to join them. A running list will be posted on the Bike to Work Day website. Contact Greg at WABA to have your convoy listed.
Organize your office. Invite your coworkers to bike to work, too! We have posters ready for you to print and hang around the office. Try coaxing incentives out of your administrators or tying it to your other office initiatives. At the very least, you might meet some of the folks you lock up beside every day.
Need to get your bike in proper riding condition?
If it's been a while since you've been on your bike, that's OK! Start off by doing a basic "ABC" check. Check for any small problems in your air, brakes, and chain. Have it looked at by a mechanic if you're unsure if it's safe to ride or if you need assistance with flat tires. There are lots of good bike shops in the Washington region, and WABA members get a discount at many of them.
Should I ride on the road or the sidewalks?
Riding on the sidewalks is legal in D.C., except in the downtown central business district south of Massachusetts Avenue. While it is not recommended to ride on sidewalks, do whatever feels safe to you. Plan on using a route with bicycle lanes or if you're comfortable, take the car lane. Still unsure about biking on the streets? Take a Confident City Cycling class with WABA!
What if it rains/snows/hurricanes/earthquakes?!
Bike to Work Day is a rain or shine event. Plan accordingly.
As you may know by now, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is your regional education and advocacy organization for bicycles, and Bike to Work Day is WABA's best opportunity to reach out to bicyclists across the region. Join WABA for only $25 for one year (normally $35)--that's a $10 discount for Bike to Work Day participants! Support better biking in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and enjoy discounts at local bike shops, deals with many community partners, and so much more.
We bet you didn't know its Air Quality Awareness week! Well, it is. And that means it's time to learn a bit about how air quality affects all of us.
The American Lung Association just released their 2013 State of the Air report. While overall, air pollution is decreasing, 43% of people still live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution.
Unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution put people at risk for a range of health problems from asthma to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some groups, including older, younger, and people with asthma and cardiovascular disease, are especially at risk.
The primary culprits of smog, ozone, and particulate pollution are emissions from coal power plant and cars. Although regulations are tighter on coal power plants, they are still among the largest contributors to air pollution and produce 84 known hazardous pollutants including arsenic and mercury along with carbon dioxide.
So, what can you do?
Switch to wind power: Support the development of renewable energy to reduce our reliance on coal power plants
Be more energy efficient: reduced demand for electricity will reduce emissions from smokestacks
Drive less: reduce the emissions of sulfur, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons by taking public transit, riding your bike, and carpooling instead of driving
Ask your congressman to support the Clean Air Act and other initiatives that support clean air
Take our pledge to Energize Responsibly and ditch dirty air
Remember, the average person breathes 3,500 gallons of air each day, according to Clean Air Partners. So, know what you're breathing!
As we're asking people to Energize Responsibly this spring, we wanted to know what gets people up and moving. Here's what we found:
The American Lung Association just released their new State of the Air Report for 2013, and things are looking up, especially for Baltimore, MD. But, nationwide, there are 131.8 million people living in areas with unhealthy pollution -- that's 42% of the nation!
Despite advances in reducing pollution from coal fired power plants, they are still one of the largest contributors to particle pollution, ozone pollution, mercury, and climate change.
By switching your home to clean, wind power you're helping us get one step closer to clean air for everyone. Have you taken the pledge to ditch dirty air yet? If not, join us here and be part of a clean energy future.
I'm like many mothers I know, concerned about the planet our kids will inherit and overwhelmed by daily life. Clean Currents made it simple and affordable to switch to 100% wind power, without breaking my back or the bank.