Sustainable Maryland is a certification program for municipalities in Maryland that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. Our mission is to assist municipalities in choosing a direction for their sustainability efforts, measure their progress, and gain recognition for their accomplishments.
Sustainable Maryland is an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland.
In 2019, 17 municipalities became Sustainable Maryland Certified for a total of 38 certified municipalities.
In total, 76 municipalities are currently registered with the Sustainable Maryland program.
To become certified, municipalities must provide documentation of an active Green Team, completion of at least two of six Priority Actions, and completion of at least 150 points worth of Actions.
- Installed over 55,000 solar panels (~80 acres), which provides enough energy to power around 2,500 homes. This is one of the largest solar projects built on a capped landfill in the country, and was first utilized in June 2018.
- The Main Street Annapolis Partnership is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established in fall 2015 to strengthen and sustain local businesses in Annapolis, as well as improve the quality of life, and attract more businesses to the area.
“On behalf of the residents of the City of Annapolis, we are proud to have again achieved Sustainable Maryland Certified status,” said Mayor Gavin Buckley. “I am proud of the work of City staff to make Annapolis more sustainable, and proud of our residents for making the changes necessary to reduce their carbon footprint. We want our City to be a model for clean, green and vibrant communities.”
- Hosted a Green Fair with the goal to bring the community together while simultaneously educating and encouraging people of all ages to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as emphasize how important small efforts can make a big difference in the community.
- A Community-supported agricultural (CSA) drop-off location was created thanks to the Community Policing division (COP's), Roger Heights Elementary, Port Towns Elementary school, and the Capital Food Banks. 300-500 families participate in the food distribution days, which occur on the last Wednesday of each month between April and June from 5pm-6pm. Locally grown food from Eco City Farms is also collected.
“The Town of Bladensburg is honored to be re-certified for the Sustainable Maryland designation. It is an honor to know the sustainability efforts of our community are being recognized across the state,“ said Mayor Takisha D. James.
- Every June, Brentwood hosts its annual Pollinator Fest in conjunction with national pollinator week. There are crafts, games, honey-tasting, native plants, educational information about pollinators, and even a bee keeper.
- The town has purchased composting bins that are available to residents for just $20 and encourages a greener and more sustainable lifestyle. These bins are purchased from the Newspaper and Education Institute.
“This award recognition is part of our Town’s continual effort towards an environmentally sustainable future,” said Mayor Rocio Treminio-Lopez and Councilmember Jerry Burgess. “Many of our members have been consistently striving for an increase in eco-consciousness for some time, while others toil quietly in the background for often unrecognized yet significant work for the ongoing greening of Brentwood. We are immensely proud of our community, our government and the leadership from our Green Team.”
- Every year, Bowie hosts its Bowie Green Expo at Kenhill Center. Over 50 green vendors and businesses were in attendance, as well as 400 expo-goers. The theme for this year was "educating the youth to inspire the future”! This festival was made possible for the 9th year thanks to the Bowie Lions Club, the City of Bowie, and the Green Team.
- Thanks to the city's sustainability planner, Ashleigh Armentrout, residents can complete a home energy audit at no cost. Audits are performed by the American Home Performance and Elysian Energy. These audits provide homeowners with energy efficiency information, information on other BGE incentive programs for insulation, HVAC equipment, and air sealing which in turn helps residents save money and improve the comfort, safety, and energy efficiency of their homes.
- The town hall and police department are two buildings that serve as "innovative demonstrations", or a point of reference for residents in terms of green infrastructure such as solar panels, green roofs, tankless water heaters, air hand dryers, LED lighting, and high efficiency flush commodes.Over 25 years, annual utility savings are anticipated to average $1,332, for a total utility savings of $33,311.
- The town’s Green Team, in partnership with Greg Taylor’s Vibrant Health & Wellness Foundation Inc. promoted a series of healthy living clinics that educated residents about the importance of exercise and fitness. There are monthly and weekly programs such as running/walking clubs, yoga, health fair/screening, and diabetes prevention. These programs are hosted in the Capitol Heights Town Hall conference room and nearby centers.
“Sustainable Maryland is a voluntary certification program that demonstrates a Town’s commitment to going green, being a good steward of tax payers’ dollars, and improving residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Shawn Maldon. “It was a no-brainer for us, as elected officials, to get behind this effort—and we are sincerely proud of the work that each member of our Capitol Heights Green Team put in to achieve this remarkable designation. I am particularly proud of the hard work that our Neighborhood Services Department contributed.”
In 2019, the City was awarded a Planning Assistance to Municipalities and Communities Grant to accelerate implementation of the Complete & Green Streets Policy through the development of a five-year Complete Streets Capital Improvement Program.
The City received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration for the design, construction and maintenance of a 30-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system at the Department of Public Works-Facilities Fleet Garage. The project was completed in late 2018 and offsets approximately 64,000 pounds of CO2 emissions annually.
“College Park is proud of what we have done to make our city and our community more sustainable,” said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. “Projects like our municipal energy audits, our greenhouse gas emission inventory, and our new community gardens are making College Park a better place to live and helping ensure that our most important resources exist for generations to come.”
- The Town of Colmar Manor has a Town Hall Community Center, which gives them the opportunity to provide a variety of activities for residents and the greater community. The Town hosts Zumba classes, drop-in basketball, Friday night volleyball, drop-in weight room and a walking track that is open to the community Monday through Friday. These exercise options provide Colmar Manor residents and other Port Towns residents a way to stay fit and healthy.
- The Town has two community gardens: Colmar Manor East and Colmar Manor West. All of the 36 beds in the two gardens are cultivated, and there is a waiting list for more raised beds.
“Colmar Manor is thrilled to be re-certified with Sustainable Maryland,” said Mayor Sadara Barrow. “The Sustainable Maryland program offers us the structure and focus to utilize our assets more wisely. With parks, local businesses, trails, recreation, urban gardens and community engagement, Colmar Manor is now making local living and sustainability a true reality.”
- In 2018, the Town of Edmonston received a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration to install two electric charging stations for vehicles. The stations are available to the public and to the Town for its fleet of electric vehicles. The stations were completed in December 2018.
- The Town completed its 18th rain garden in 2019. Three rain gardens were added to Crittenden Street and to 51st avenue due to a grant received from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Professional Lawn Maintenance Services was awarded the contract to build the gardens. Volunteers planted them and educational signs were installed. The Town staff maintains the gardens and contract labor assist as needed. A rain garden was also installed at 47th Avenue Park from a grant from the Maryland Natural Resources Department. The garden solved a flooding issue at the park. And the Town was awarded a $148,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to build 6 additional rain gardens in the industrial Park located on 46th Avenue. Construction will occur in the Fall of 2019. The grant will include adding 10 street trees and installing 250 linear feet of pervious gutter panels.
“The Town of Edmonston is pleased to receive its re-certification with the Sustainable Maryland program,” said Mayor Tracy Gant. “The program provides our Green Team with a roadmap to access the most professional technical expertise, training and guidance available to support the Town’s environmental efforts. Green is not just our color, it is our way of life.”
- The City has partnered with Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts to build and maintain trails in the 7,500-acre City Watershed. The Watershed is a protected area designated as a Wildlife Management Area and Tree Farm, with the overarching goal of protecting water quality for Fishing Creek Reservoir, one of the City’s water supplies. The Watershed is home to 22 threatened and endangered species as well as nearly 12 watch list species. This has been a several-year process and will likely continue for several more years until the trails in the lower Watershed are complete.
- The City’s Parks and Rec Department started a new Farmers Market, Key City Food & Farm Market, in spring 2018. It includes fresh produce from local farms, as well as local food trucks. The market is seasonal and runs from May through October on Fridays from 11am to 3pm.
“I am proud of the Frederick’s efforts to implement our Sustainability Plan, led by our Sustainability Manager Jenny Willoughby, and the work this recognition represents,” said Mayor Michael O’Connor. “With the support of our Sustainability Commission, Frederick is committed to continuing to make progress in every area we can.”
- The City has green building requirements for new development and substantially improved development. Commercial and high-rise buildings equal to or larger than 10,000 sq. ft. but no larger than 50,000 sq. ft. are required to achieve certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building System of a Certified-level rating or higher. For applicable structures equal to or larger than 50,000 square feet, a Silver-rating (LEED) or higher must be achieved.
- The Historic Preservation Element was adopted in May 2018 as part of the 2018 Master Plan update cycle. Gaithersburg’s updated Master Plan represents an original approach to master planning in Maryland, as it expands far beyond the typical scope of Historic Preservation. The Historic Preservation Element defines Gaithersburg’s goals, policies, and actions for preservation. It also provides a framework for other groups and organizations engaged in community-based initiatives with interests in protecting and experiencing historic resources. The Element’s primary goals are the preservation and active use of historic resources to enhance the City’s social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
“I’m proud that Gaithersburg has received its third certification with Sustainable Maryland,” said Mayor Jud Ashman. “We are an excitingly diverse community that prides itself on fostering a welcoming atmosphere for all. That embrace also extends to our environment, as evidenced by our creative efforts to reduce Gaithersburg’s carbon footprint and protect our local watersheds. The Sustainable Maryland Certification validates the important work that City staff and residents are doing to leave this planet a better place for future generations.”
- The City of Havre de Grace has installed a level two ChargePoint Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at David Craig Park. The dual-powered station is capable of simultaneously charging two cars, costing green motorist $2.00 per hour. The new charging station is part of a larger marketing strategy to promote tourism and environmentally friendly travel.
- The Havre de Grace Green Team started the Community Garden Initiative in 2012 with one pilot garden and expanded to three more sites, thereby providing convenient access to garden plots to residents throughout the City. The Community Gardens provide wonderful opportunity for people who might not have access to a gardening spot at their home. There are currently a total of 67 community garden plots throughout the four sites, and all are active and rented by gardeners for this year.
“Through the Sustainable Maryland Certified program, Havre de Grace has been given the opportunity and recognition to capture numerous initiatives and document the work of countless volunteer hours toward capstone projects that makes this great City a wonderful place to live, work and play,” said Mayor William T. Martin. “The programs required for certification ensure that our City is providing an exceptional quality of life for our citizens and visitors today and well into the future, while being good stewards to our environment and the community at large.”
*Congratulations to Hyattsville for being the 2019 Sustainability Champion with the highest point total*
- The City purchased a Chevrolet Bolt All-Electric CUV, and converted it into a fully marked police patrol vehicle. This is first of its kind in the United States, and has garnered attention around the country from other cities and counties asking about the car and how they might follow Hyattsville’s example.
- In July 2018, Hyattsville began a pilot program to convert turf fields at Margruder Park to 100% organic. This collaboration between Stonyfield Organic, Beyond Pesticides and Osborne Organics is in its second application year. Grants funds from Stonyfield will be used to purchase a compost tea spreader for the application of organic liquid fertilizers..
“Hyattsville is thrilled to receive the 2019 Sustainable Maryland Champion Award. I’m very proud of the efforts of our City staff, and the Hyattsville Environment Committee for leading this initiative,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth. “As a community we remain committed to sustainability and making Hyattsville a great place to live now, and for future generations.”
- The Town decided that 2018 would be observed as the “Year of Sustainability” through a year-long series of speakers and events. Every month a Green Talk was held with the Town partnering with the Middletown Library, where some of the talks were held. The talks ranged from incentives and programs to save money and go green, to historic preservation and sustainability, to composting basics, to understanding climate change.
- Middletown was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration for a 7.2 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system to be installed on the town-owned food bank building. The panels will be installed in the fall of 2019.
“Middletown is very proud and honored to have again achieved Sustainable Maryland Certified status,” said Burgess John Miller. “Our elected officials, Town Staff and, most importantly, our Green Team have worked tirelessly to gain this certification.”
- The City has two community gardens that it has operated since 2011. Lamont Community Garden has 30 plots and is located behind Charles Carroll Middle School. St. Christopher’s Church Community Garden has 16 plots. The Gardens are located in different sections of the City and always fully utilized.
- In 2019, the City Council of New Carrollton, desiring to use its best efforts to purchase environmentally preferable products whenever the products perform satisfactorily and are available at a reasonably competitive price, adopted a Sustainable Purchasing Policy. The Policy supports the purchase of materials, products and services in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts relating to City business.
“New Carrollton is thrilled to be recognized as a Sustainable Maryland Certified municipality,” said Mayor Duane Rosenberg. “It was the hard work of our Green Team - made up of residents, business leaders, houses of faith, local schools and City staff - that led to our being worthy of this honor. New Carrollton made improvements to vegetation planning, how we manage stormwater, and reduced our carbon footprint. Thanks to Sustainable Maryland for providing the goals and guidance as inspiration to the New Carrollton team!”
- The Town of Ocean City and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program were awarded Worcester County Health Department grant funding for pilot programs to reduce second hand smoking exposure and reduce improperly discarded cigarette butts. The Town is using this funding to provide more “Cigarette Butt Huts” to be strategically placed along the Board Walk this summer and expanded throughout the Town over the next few years. All of these cigarette butts will be stockpiled at the Public Works Yard, and volunteers will be mailing them to TerraCycle, a recycling company.
- The “Strawless Summer” initiative to end plastic pollution was kicked off in 2018 by the Surfrider Foundation’s (Ocean City Chapter). This overwhelmingly successful campaign focused on reducing plastic straw consumption by pledging to not use plastic straws. The program continues and has been expanded to a full Ocean Friendly Restaurant Initiative. Over 70 restaurants continue to participate in the Strawless program.
“Our Green Team has worked tirelessly to find ways to make Ocean City a more sustainable community,” commented Mayor Rick Meehan. “Their passion, teamwork and commitment to making our community ‘green’ is not only critical for our environment today, but for the future of our costal resort. I am extremely proud of our efforts and thrilled to see Ocean City receive our Sustainable Maryland certification once again.”
- The City partnered with Maryland Environmental Trust and Lower Shore Land Trust in 2018 to permanently preserve over eighty acres of forested land in the City under a conservation easement. The area, called the Naylor Mill Park, is directly above the source of Salisbury’s drinking water. The park is open to the public for passive recreation such as hiking and biking, and is permanently protected from development.
- A new Solar Coop, Nexamp, provides Salisbury residents the option to subscribe to a community solar farm and lower their Delmarva Power electricity costs. Nexamp’s community solar farm is located on Kent Island and will add 2MW of clean energy to the Delmarva Power grid. By enrolling, residents earn credits on their Delmarva Power bills for the energy produced by their solar farm share.
“Becoming a Sustainable Maryland Certified community has meant that Salisbury now has a Green Team, our first full time Sustainability Coordinator, our own sustainable business certification program, and a robust stormwater management utility - all of which we might otherwise not have,” said Mayor Jacob Day. “Critically, it means that we have an objective ruler by which to measure the impact of our efforts to improve the river we swim in, the air our children breathe, the soil we grow our food in and the buildings our citizens study, shop, live and work in. Salisbury is prouder than ever to be a Sustainable Maryland Certified community.”
- The Farmers Market in Thurmont was established by the Main Street Thurmont organization in 2005 and continues today as one of the strongest and most well-attended markets in Frederick County. Vendors with fresh produce, fruits, jams & jellies, honey, homemade soap, sauces, pastries and other items are on hand each week. In 2018, non-profit organizations also started to become regular participants at the Farmers Market.
- The Thurmont Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as the Mayor & Commissioners, passed an ordinance in 2017 implementing a Residential Clustering Ordinance. Residential clustering allows developers and builders to construct residential homes on smaller lot, without increasing the density of the homes. The remaining square footage not utilized for the homes must be set aside for environmental uses such as forestation, storm water management, or approved open space.
“The Town of Thurmont is extremely proud to once again obtain this touted recognition and certification,” said Mayor John Kinnaird. “Our staff and our Green Team have worked tirelessly to educate our citizens about sustainability and the results are very indicative of how important these efforts are to our community. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication.”
- Sustainable Maryland hosted three Leadership Training Workshops in November on the topic of Community Energy Efficiency. Workshops were held in Cambridge, Hyattsville and Hagerstown with more than 75 elected officials, municipal staff and Green Team members attending.
Green Team Summits
- Sustainable Maryland hosted our third Prince George's County Green Team Summit in April, on the topic of Pet Waste Management. Representatives from more than 15 municipal Green Teams attended.
- SM also hosted our 2nd Montgomery County Stormwater Summit for Homeowners in June, with more than 70 attendees checking out exhibitors and presentations about the County's stormwater resources.
Green Team Training
- Sustainable Maryland staff conducted customized training sessions for more than a dozen Green Teams across the state, providing information on completing Action Plans and formulating specific strategies for achieving local sustainability goals.
For more information on Sustainable Maryland programs, as well as other sustainability-related events across Maryland, please sign up for our email newsletter.
2018 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Berlin (first certified Maryland municipality in 2012; re-certified 2015), Chestertown (first certified 2012; re-certified 2015), Cottage City, Emmitsburg (first certified 2015), Laurel (first certified 2015), Mount Rainier (first certified 2012; re-certified 2015), Poolesvile (first certified 2015), Rockville (2018 Sustainability Champion - highest point total; first certified 2012; re-certified 2015)
2017 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Bel Air (first certified in 2014), Berwyn Heights (first certified in 2014), Boonsboro (first certified in 2014), Burkittsville, Chesapeake Beach (first certified in 2014), Cheverly (first certified in 2014), Frostburg, Greenbelt (first certified in 2014), Mount Airy, North Beach, Riverdale Park (first certified in 2014), Takoma Park (2017 Sustainability Champion - highest point total; first certified 2014), University Park (first certified in 2014).
2016 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Annapolis (first certified in 2014), Bladensburg (first certified in 2014), Bowie (2016 Sustainability Champion; first certified in 2014), College Park (first certified in 2014), Colmar Manor, Edmonston (first certified in 2014), Frederick (first certified in 2014) Gaithersburg (first certified in 2014), Havre de Grace, Hyattsville (first certified in 2014), Middletown, Ocean City, Salisbury, and Thurmont.
2015 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Berlin (first certified municipality in 2012), Brunswick, Cambridge, Centreville, Chestertown (first certified 2012), Easton, Emmitsburg, Hagerstown, Laurel, Mount Rainier (2015 Sustainability Champion; first certified in 2012), Poolesville, Rockville (first certified in 2012)
2014 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Bel Air, Berwyn Heights, Boonsboro, Chesapeake Beach, Cheverly, Greenbelt, Riverdale Park, Snow Hill, Takoma Park (2014 Sustainability Champion), University Park
2013 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Annapolis, Bladensburg, Bowie, College Park, Edmonston, Frederick, Gaithersburg, Hyattsville
2012 - Sustainable Maryland Certified
Berlin (1st municipality to be Sustainable Maryland Certified), Chestertown, Mount Rainier, Rockville
Address: Environmental Finance Center, 7480 Preinkert Drive, College Park, MD 20742
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Emma Lipsky for her vital assistance in putting together this report.