Montgomery certifies green businesses
National organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council are not the only ones with a certification system for businesses' environmental initiatives.
Eleven Montgomery County businesses and organizations on Wednesday were the first certified under the county's new Green Business Certification Program. The initiative is a collaboration of the county's Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery College.
"Business leaders understand that by implementing the best green practices, they can position themselves competitively and attract top talent, which is the key to success," Georgette "Gigi" Godwin, Montgomery chamber president and CEO, said in a statement. "The marketplace is changing, and our members are successfully adapting to that change, by making green an important part of their overall business strategy."
To be certified as a green business, a company must demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation of energy and water, carbon footprint reduction and waste reduction and recycling. The program gives consumers and others an easy way to recognize green businesses, said County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).
"Businesses are telling us that our comprehensive program is actually motivating them to further expand their green activities," he said in a statement.
The first certified businesses and organizations:
-Bethesda Green, Bethesda, which recently renovated its space to include environmentally friendly building materials, paint, lighting, kitchen appliances, cork flooring and recycled paper countertops.
-Building Maintenance Systems, Rockville, which recycles e-waste, provides environmental education to its staff, uses environmentally safe vendors and products, and donates equipment for reuse in the community.
-Calvert Group, Bethesda, which secured commitments from its landlord as part of a new lease agreement to obtain existing building LEED certification, replaced lighting with high-efficiency bulbs and fixtures; installed environmentally friendly carpeting and replaced bathroom fixtures to achieve water use reductions.
-Center for a New American Dream, Takoma Park, which has a four-day work week for employees and renovated its office to include cork flooring, recycled carpet tiles and chairs made from recycled materials.
-Clean Currents, Rockville, whose benefits package includes incentives for using public transportation, car sharing and biking to work, as well as subsidies for Energy Star appliances.
-Hallman Orthodontics, Chevy Chase, which started converting about three years ago, reducing its consumption of paper by 85 percent, electricity by about half and plastics by about 40 percent.
-Honest Tea, Bethesda, which introduced a new plastic bottle that is 22 percent lighter than comparable packages and outfitted its office with bamboo floors, reclaimed brick, kitchen counters made with recycled glass and concrete, and used furniture.
-Marriott International, Bethesda, which has a "Spirit To Preserve" environmental strategy that calls for greening its $10 billion supply chain, reducing fuel and water consumption by 25 percent per available room and expanding its LEED-certified hotel development 10-fold in five years.
-Pepco Customer Service Center, Rockville, which implemented energy-efficiency programs under the utility's "Blueprint for the Future."
-Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, Potomac, which uses recycled office furniture, carpeting, kitchen flooring and shelving, and has obtained silver LEED certification for its new building.
-Social and Scientific Systems, Silver Spring, which has a volunteer "Green Team" that encourages sustainability in choosing office supplies, printing vendors, electronics and paperless forms of communication.
The certification process is flexible enough to allow businesses to choose from a wide range of actions. The cost of the two-year certification is $100 for businesses with fewer than 25 full-time employees and $250 for larger businesses.
The chamber's role in the program included recruiting more than 40 businesses to provide input on the program and test the application and certification process before it was finalized. Montgomery College is offering training classes that will assist businesses in obtaining certification.
Certified green businesses will be listed in the county's online directory, receive a certificate and window decal, and have use of the program logo.
Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program: mcgreenbiz.org