Here at the revamped, environmentally friendly Souza office, we aim to be fully aware of the current issues facing our natural environment and the steps we need to take to take to improve them. We are constantly on the lookout for new ways to save the earth’s resources, as we have the belief that we need to start individually in our homes and businesses, in order to really make a difference as a whole society. But what is the rest of Maryland doing to help us reduce our carbon footprint? Here is a little bit of info with some links so that YOU TOO can help Maryland on its road to becoming more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Photo courtesy of the Crawford Company
OK…lets start with some basics. Are you turning off the lights when you leave the room? Turning the tap off when you brush your teeth? Re-cycling your re-cyclables? If the answer is yes, then well done. If you find yourself answering “no” then give yourself a slap on the wrist. It is our responsibility to understand and take control over these issues in order to take care of the world in which we live. There is also the added bonus that it will save your pennies – lights off = lower electricity bill! Everyone wins! Do you need some direction on how to help Maryland become more eco-friendly? Take the initiative and visit energy savers, or Maryland’s Smart, Green and Growing website, which will set you on your way to being a super “green” being in no time. If your a business take a look at the Maryland Green Registry.
So what is Maryland doing to help? Well the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has been working with ENERGY STAR, a program introduced in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy in a bid to save us money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices, such as building and promoting new houses, businesses and appliances that have the ENERGY STAR. Reportedly ENERGY STAR cuts utility bills by a third, and amazingly Americans saved enough energy in 2008 to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 29 million cars, while also saving $19 billion on their bills…WOW!
Photo courtesy of the European Commission website
Maryland is also tapping into natural and renewable energy sources. First, lets look at solar power. On average, the State of Maryland receives 5.3 kilowatt hours per day per square meter of solar energy, with the amount being higher in the summer and lower in the winter. On a sunny summers day Maryland receives around 196,000 Gigawatt hours of solar energy. This is more than all the electric power plants in Maryland produce in a year. It is not surprising then, that solar power is quickly increasing in popularity, with businesses and homeowners turning to this environmentally friendly and efficient source of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has also established the Million Solar Roofs Program to install solar energy systems throughout the US and hats off to Maryland, as it was the first state to sign on to this initiative!
Read this interesting article on solar power at repairfinders.com
Another form of renewable energy that Maryland is exploring is wind power. Because of its position on the east coast, Maryland has abundant offshore wind potential making it an ideal location to utilize wind turbines to their full advantage. The rest of the US is on board with wind power too, and can proudly say it is the number one in production of small wind turbines. These electric generators utilize wind energy to produce clean, emission-free power, and so far wind farms in the US have helped to avoid nearly 62 million pounds of pollutants. The recent success of the installation of a wind turbine at the Westminster Maintenance Facility in Carroll County by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration represents a fundamental step forward in making this source of clean and natural energy a more common sight to see in Maryland. In addition to the MEA’s Windswept Grant Program which promotes the development of installation of small-scale wind turbines throughout Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley announced in a recent press release that “offshore wind energy offers vast potential to create jobs for our workers and to help stabilize electric costs for our families while also increasing grid stability,” indicating that wind power has the potential to become one of Maryland’s vital future clean energy sources.
Photo courtesy of atissun.com
Under Governor O’Malley, the initiative EmPower Maryland has been introduced. This initiative aims to reduce Maryland’s energy consumption by 15% by 2015. In order to do so, the initiative encourages residents to adopt the recommended energy-reducing methods in their homes and businesses, which are not overly costly, and will save money on energy bills in the long run. Just recently the MEA announced that Maryland counties and cities have been awarded an additional $9.5 million for clean energy investments from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. These funds will be distributed to 13 counties and 147 municipalities throughout the state, in addition to the $40 million in federal grants awarded for Maryland’s top ten cities and counties, and $8.3 million distributed as part of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s EmPower-ing Clean Communities program.
We have only touched upon the numerous initiatives in place to help reduce Maryland’s carbon footprint. Now it is up to YOU, to see what you can do to lower your carbon footprint at your home and business. Do your research and find out how you can help and also how you can get help from the government, for example, did you know that there are numerous incentives and programs to aid you in your quest to become sustainable? Like the Green Building Tax Credit, which provides a tax credit of up to 8% of the total cost for the construction of a green building. So lets gather the masses and tell all our friends – sustainable and natural energy is the way forward but we will all have to make the effort to ease the transition.
Thanks for reading…until next time,
Photo courtesy of Electronic House
Filed under: Nature & the Environment, Social Causes, Sustainable Energy | Tagged: carbon footprint, children's health, eco-friendly, ecosystem, empower maryland, energy efficiency, energy star, environment, global warming, go green, green, green buildings, maryland energy administration, Nature & the Environment, re-cycling, renewable energy sources, Social Causes, solar power, sustainability, Sustainable Energy, us department of energy, wind power, wind turbines | Leave a Comment »