Environmental Protection and Sustainability
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Sustainability Network

The Sustainability Network (SN) was a group of private sector and government representatives dedicated to making Baltimore County a more sustainable place. The SN held its first meeting in November of 2008 to organize their efforts for the development of the County government operations strategy. The SN recommendations included in the report below are vital to helping Baltimore County ‘green’ its operations. The workgroup descriptions and top 12 recommendations are also described below. The SN is not currently active.

Final Baltimore County Operations Report

The Sustainability Network finalized its sustainability recommendations for County operations in September 2011. View the final reports:

Workgroup Descriptions

Protection of Natural Resources Workgroup

The Protection of Natural Resources (PNR) Workgroup was tasked with a review of County environmental policies and programs to determine the potential for contributing to the County’s proposed goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. They were also asked to recommend improvements or additional actions that may better serve implementation of the goal. Four main areas for consideration are:

  • Forest management for enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Managing urban trees and forests
  • Afforestation, reforestation and restoration of forests and wetlands
  • Protection and conservation of agricultural land, coastal wetlands and forested land

Our Built Environment Workgroup

The Built Environment Workgroup was tasked with reviewing the development of Baltimore County, including existing and new buildings, energy generation, wastewater pumping stations, vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) and walkable communities.

County Operations Workgroup

The County Operations Workgroup was tasked with developing recommendations to improve energy efficiency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of County operations. The group focused on day-to-day operations of our buildings, staff, fleet of cars and trucks and reviewed the efficiency of these operations.

Education and Outreach Workgroup

The Outreach and Education Workgroup focused on ways to educate and motivate people toward practical and measurable behavior change for energy conservation, and to help foster the movement toward an acceptance of systemic changes. Initial efforts were focused on behavior change and an energy reduction and efficiency campaign for County government employees.

Top 12 Recommendations

The SN identified a total of 121 recommendations addressing a variety of County operations, planning, and facilities management. In June 2009, the SN identified a Top-12 list from the original recommendations. Generally, these are fundamental actions the County must take to provide basic underpinnings of sustainable operations. The recommendations were submitted for review, and previous County Executive Jim Smith accepted them in November 2009. The 12 recommendations have been grouped into four categories as listed below*:

1. Baseline Information and Policy Adoption

  • Complete the baseline emissions inventory for all County entities
  • Create a comprehensive energy policy and plan for County operations and community wide
  • Adopt and implement a no-net-loss trees and forestry policy

2. Implementing Energy Efficiency and Conservation with Employees and County Operations

  • Hire a County energy coordinator
  • Develop department energy champions to report back to department heads and County Executive the status of conservation programs and next steps
  • Develop a professionally designed, effective, ongoing energy conservation plan and program for all County employees to be made available as a turnkey model that can be utilized by other public and private organizations in the County, including an assessment of the implementation of recycling at all government facilities.
  • Provide training and the capacity for technical and operations personnel to understand and implement energy savings techniques and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards
  • Maximize efficiency in operations of all County fleets

3. Implementing Audits, Building and Landscaping Standards

  • Analyze and prioritize buildings for audits to determine comprehensive reductions in energy usage
  • Have all County buildings, either new construction or renovated, to meet LEED standards (silver), or be implemented in a way to maximize efficiency that meets LEED guidelines
  • Implement conservation landscaping measures for County buildings and new and redevelopment projects

4. Addressing Employee Commute Options

  • Actively promote Commuter Choice Maryland and other programs to give employees a variety of options to reduce VMT
  • Work with the private sector where appropriate

*Please note these categories are relative to the top twelve recommendations.

To learn more about current Baltimore County sustainability initiatives, visit County Actions.

Revised June 22, 2015

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