Pitango Gelato Goes Solar

Pitango Gelato has been committed to eco-friendly practices since the company opened its doors in 2007. Now, in addition to the measures Pitango already takes to reduce energy and minimize waste, the company’s dairy facility in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has converted to solar power.

The dairy is located on Spring Wood Organic Farm, where a single herd of grass-fed cows supplies all of the milk and cream used in Pitango’s organic gelato. The farm’s new solar panels  are generating enough electricity to operate the farm and the dairy.

Aside from long-term economic incentives, Spring Wood owner Roman Stoltzfoos decided to go solar to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint. “It is a substantial investment for us, but it is clearly the right thing to do to make the farm and the dairy greener,” he says. “We’ll be using much less fossil fuel for what we have to do.”

The farm even uses a solar panel on its high-tech “Egg-Mobile,” which houses free-range hens that provide the daily supply of freshly laid eggs used in some of Pitango’s recipes. The hen house on wheels with solar-powered feeders, lights, egg laying boxes, and doors “delivers all of the modern bells and whistles,” says Stoltzfoos, “with minimal environmental impact.”

“It’s not always easy being green,” says Pitango Gelato founder and CEO Noah Dan. “A large component of our product is energy, so naturally we think about it all the time. For us, being green is being smart, and finding a path to improve our product and its sustainability is our ultimate goal.”

The shift toward solar on the farm is only one example of Pitango’s energy-efficient practices. Pitango’s custom-made bancone (gelato cases) used in each shop are liquid-cooled by glycol–an energy-retaining liquid derived from corn. Once the glycol is adequately cooled, it requires very little energy to maintain a temperature that is optimal for storing the gelato at the perfect consistency, with each flavor in its own sealed compartment. Dan estimates that Pitango’s bancone consume as little as one-tenth of the electricity of comparable air-cooled display cases. Pitango also uses biodegradable serving cups, coffee cups and gelato spoons.

Pitango matches its eco-friendly practices with a commitment to create a healthier product. The company’s artisanal gelato contains less fat than premium ice cream, while its sorbets contain no dairy products and are vegan and fat-free.

Made with ingredients, from fresh local fruit to organic chocolate, Pitango’s products contain no flavorings, colorings, or chemicals of any kind.

Green Night Out with Van Jones

Get ready to rock the green carpet! On Tuesday July 13th, Green DMV is hosting what will likely be one of the best and most well-attended green events this year, Green Night Out with Van Jones.

The fundraiser, which will raise money to support the fight against poverty and climate change, will be held at Longview Gallery, a stunning, modern gallery space on 9th Street, two blocks from the Convention Center.

The evening will be emceed by NBC4’s Wendy Rieger and will also feature special guest Van Jones. Sponsors include Honest Tea, Foster’s Wine, grassfed media, and Peak Organics Beer.

The evening’s passed hors d’oeuvres will include Smoked Salmon Cornucopia with Dilled Crème Fraiche and Spinach and Mushroom Cigars with Romesco Sauce from Restaurant Nora. Trainees from DC Central Kitchen will be preparing all of the food. Beverage choices will include organic wine and beer, assorted Honest Teas, and Fresh Start natural water.

Tickets are selling out fast, so get yours today!

About Green DMV

Green DMV promotes sustainability in low-income communities as a pathway out of poverty. The organization uses a three-point system that focuses on targeted areas of the community including small and disadvantaged businesses, underserved school districts, and community stakeholders.

Urban Farmers Fight to Save Community Garden

Guest post by Carolyn Szczepanski

At the Virginia Avenue Community Garden, the buzz of freeway traffic hangs overhead, but the air is thick with the rich scent of basil and tangy aroma of tomatoes. It’s that perfect time just before dusk, when the sun turns the world golden, and Diana Elliott savors the moment.

She ducks under the shade of a plum tree, so heavy with produce the branches sag, and picks one of the purple fruits. “This land has been so good to us,” she says, savoring the juice from the plum and tossing the pit under the tree.

But this land may be paved over for new military quarters.

Nearby, a group of volunteers gather under a wooden pagoda of this four-acre plot in south Capitol Hill. They paint signs and staple small green fliers to plastic bags of vegetable and flower seeds. Among them is Elliott’s son, Eamon Cole, who dabs color on a page that says, “Do not take my garden!”

In September, Elliott and the other member of the Virginia Avenue Community Garden heard the first rumblings that the U.S. Marines needed to expand their residential barracks and, among the proposed sites for construction, was the land currently occupied by the community garden. Now those rumbling have turned into a real threat: The garden is one of the last-standing locations on a shrinking list of development options.

The gardeners don’t dispute the Marines’ need for new barracks and they agree the military has been a great neighbor. But, Elliott says, this community garden sets the table and feeds the spirit of 60 member families. In the six years since this land was cultivated, the love affair with local food has made this plot nearly priceless. Some community gardens in Capitol Hill, Elliott says, have wait lists as long as seven years.

“There’s a huge demand and people keep adding community gardens every year,” Elliott says. “So the idea that they want to take away the biggest community garden around here and they don’t see that as a problem is really, really frustrating.”

In less than a decade, dozens of area families transformed this previously troubled landscape. “It was basically a drug park,” says Nicole Hamam, who’s been gardening here for four years. “Now, people have been moving in because they saw this and not the freeway. The sweat equity that’s in here and what it’s done for the value of this area is something you can’t put a number on.”

So the gardeners are determined to preserve this refuge from the Marines. When the gardeners created a “Save Virginia Avenue Park” Facebook page, it quickly garnered more than 400 fans. Within the first few days of their grassroots campaign, filmmakers from Roadside Organics produced a four-minute movie about their efforts.

“There are no strong advocates for parks,” Elliott says of the city establishment. “People still see parks as space for building and they don’t see the benefit of a green space for green space’s sake. There’s nobody advocating for us, which is why we’re doing this. We have to advocate for ourselves.”

Late last week, the gardeners got their first district council member on board. On Thursday, Council member Tommy Wells signed on to Save Virginia Avenue Park. So far, the online petition has nearly 200 signatures.

“You know, it’s just kind of a Zen place,” Hamam says of the garden. “It’s a place to watch things grow, to take care of things. It’s hard work. It’s accomplishment. It’s a special thing: An oasis in an urban environment.”

Events for the Week of June 28th

Stay out of the heat with two fantastic events this week. Both will make you think about the products you buy and their impact on your health and the environment.

Consuming Choices Book Party

WHEN: Tuesday June 29th from 6-8.
WHERE: Busboys and Poets, 2121 14th Street NW (2 blocks from the U Street/Cardoza Metro)

DETAILS: Please join author David Schwartz for a cocktail party celebrating his new book, Consuming Choices.

The book raises questions about consumers and whether we share culpability for unethical and immoral practices associated with the products we purchase. To answer, author David T. Schwartz provides the most detailed philosophical exploration to date on consumer ethics. There will be a cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres. Please RSVP by to sacha@grassfedmediadc.com.

Plastic Pollution Coalition Cocktail Fundraiser

WHEN: Wednesday June 30th from 7-9
WHERE: Muleh, 831 14th Street NW

DETAILS: This cocktail event and fundraiser supports the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a non-profit organization committed to reducing and ultimately eliminating plastic pollution globally.

Single-use plastics in particular and plastics overall are some of the biggest contributors to the current global environmental crisis. Aside from being petroleum-based products, plastics do harm beyond the fossil fuel related issues. 90% of the ocean trash is plastic. Nearly 40% of landfill trash is plastic. Single-use plastics are contributing to the privatization of water. Once created, plastic never biodegrades. The only way of ‘getting rid of it’ is to burn it, which releases toxins into the air.

There are alternatives to plastics – what is needed is the momentum to promote these alternatives and to raise awareness to the crisis.

Donations will be taken at the door or online (Platinum $500, Gold $250, Silver $100, Bronze $50). RSVP by June 28 to rsvp@plasticpollutioncoalition.org or 202.997.8400.

Greek and Green

Photo credit: Kim Maxwell Vu

The new Dupont Circle  restaurant Agora (1527 17th Street, NW), which opened in May 2010, is working on being green from the ground up.

Most of the restaurant’s materials are recycled or reclaimed and the cement flooring and exposed brick walls are natural conductors of heat and cold.

Agora’s Mediterranean organic and biodynamic wines are kept in a naturally controlled temperature wine room with recycled wood racks and are even served in glassware made from recycled cork and glass.

Other eco-friendly elements:

– An in-house water filtration provides still or sparkling water.
– All bottles, paper, and plastic are recycled.
– Recycled paper is used for the printed menus
– The kitchen’s cooking oil is donated to be repurposed as biodiesel fuel
– Environmentally friendly hand dyers in the bathroom
– Natural light is used as much and for as long as possible

Agora, which means “gathering place” in Greek brings authentic Turkish cuisine to the heart of Dupont with a variety of Mediterranean mezes. The bar also offers six different types of anise-flavored raki, as well as cocktails that highlight Turkish ingredients, such as one that uses Turkish figs.

Greenbacks from Live Green

Guest post by Claire Lafave

Want to save some green while enjoying a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Live Green has a solution.

The membership organization just launched its new Greenbacks site, which offers weekly discounts at Live Green spots (DC businesses screened for sustainable practices and products).

This week’s deal (starting Tuesday) is $50 off yoga at Flow Yoga Center, a $50 value for $25. Other recent offers include discounts at Holeco Wellness Medi Spa and Java Green.

The way it works is simple. Register for a Greenbacks account and you’ll you’ll receive weekly emails explaining the deal of the day/week. Follow the link in your email to cash in on your Greenbacks for either the member or non-member price. Then, print your voucher under the ‘My Account’ tab and bring it to the deal location to start saving.

Green June Events Part Deux

Mark your calendar for another crop of green events this month, including a special film screening from The Environmental Film Festival, a garden fiesta to support City Blossoms, and more.

Film Screening: Climate of Change
June 16
When: 6:30
Where: Letelier Theater, 3251 Prospect St., NW (enter through courtyard next to Café Milano)
What: “Climate of Change” is about ordinary people around the globe, from London to Indonesia, who are taking action to save their local environments. The screening is hosted by The DC Environmental Film Festival, Cost is $20 per person and seating is limited. RSVP required to chris@envirofilmfest.org. A wine reception catered by Sweetgreen follows the screening.

Biking, Walking, Public Transport: Smart Mobility for the 21st Century
June 23
When: 6:30 pm
Where: Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 7th St., NW (Gallery Place Metro)
What: Part of the Institut’s 2010 event series Green Living, this panel discussion will look at what can be learned from cities across the world to improve the safety, convenience, and feasibility of non-motorized modes of transportation. There will also be a hands-on demonstration of how to change a bike tire by Daniel Hoagland, DC Bike Ambassador, Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

City Blossoms’ Garden Fiesta
June 24
When: 6-8
Where: The playground on the corner of 11th and Harvard St., NW (Columbia Heights Metro)
What: Enjoy music and delicious treats in a lovely garden setting. A $15 suggested donation will go toward City Blossoms. Please RSVP to Rebecca@CityBlossoms.org

Film Screening and Solutions Fair
June 30th
When: 6:00 reception followed by the film screening at 7:30
Where: Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (Archives/Navy Memorial Metro)
What: A wine tasting, green solutions fair, and film screening. “Local Warming” follows the fictional adventures of a stubborn suburbanite who sets off on an odyssey of proving that a few people can make a difference about global warming by gathering a group of locals to collectively reduce their carbon emissions by the same amount that the Harbor Energy Plant in Bridgeport, Conn., puts out each year. Film director Tom Reilly will be in attendance. A $10 donation is requested at the door, which includes a glass of wine. All proceeds go the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Register and more information.

Deals for Deeds: Q&A with Harrison Miller and Josh Hoffman

Get discounts on cool local products and services and give back at the same time. That’s the premise behind Deals for Deeds–a sort of Groupon for the socially conscious set.

Their latest initiative is Plant a Tree DC. For every 250 people that sign up for Deals for Deeds, they plant a tree in DC.

We sat down with founders Harrison Miller and Josh Hoffman to talk about the Deals for Deeds concept, the local angle, and what they’re doing to be green.

Why did you start Deals for Deeds?

Around the time that we graduated from Wharton, Josh and I saw social media popping up in so many different ways–Twitter was really booming. And the group-buying concept also started to become quite popular and would again find its way into so many of our conversations.

Deals For Deeds grew out of a small thought of how we can use some of this power to make a difference, fused with our love of DC and our feeling that there is so much to explore in this city, even if you’ve lived here your whole life!  For us, the company isn’t just about being environmentally conscious, or socially conscious, or being a part of the community, or promoting local businesses, or helping local charitable organizations, its about ALL those things, working together!

Have you featured any environmentally friendly businesses?

Yes, we’ve featured Freshii, Herban Lifestyle, Arganica Farm Club, and others.

What types of charities/non-profits benefit from Deals for Deeds? Any environmental/green ones?

We’re pretty open about the types of charities we feature.  Our main criteria at this point is that they use the money we donate locally in some fashion.  So, if the organization isn’t purely local, we want to ensure it’s going to the local chapter or for use on a local project.

How are you green in your day-to-day lives?

As individuals, we do the basics — recycling, carpooling, walking, etc. — whenever possible.  As a company, we’re committed to being sustainable as well.  Our office uses 100% wind power via Clean Currents, we print our advertising material on 100% recycled paper w/vegetable based inks, and our t-shirts are made from 69% recycled material.

Green June Events

The heat is on for a few excellent green events in June. Here are our picks:

Eco Israel
A delegation of environmental activists and educators from Israel will conduct several interactive workshops to help make your life more green and inform you about environmental challenges facing Israel. Topics include: Israel’s carbon footprint, herb gardening, and green projects for disadvantaged populations. Free Israeli snacks will be provided by Israeli Harvest.

When: Sunday June 6th, 11:30 am
Where: Washington DCJCC, 1529 16th Street NW

Green Drinks
This month GreenDrinksDC celebrates its first Go Green–Enroll Now! party. Clean Currents and GreenDrinksDC are teaming up to encourage you to convert to wind power for your home. Just bring your Pepco account number and they can sign you up on the spot.

When: Monday June 7th, 6:30-9:30
Where: 1905 Restaurant, 1905 9th Street NW

Solar Bethesda Expo
Bethesda Green, a local non-profit model for sustainable living practices, is launching its inaugural Solar Bethesda Expo, which will feature solar providers, cooperative purchasers, government and financing specialists, and more. Homeowners and others will have an opportunity to get the latest information about solar-powered technologies, purchasing and investment opportunities, and incentives for home installation.

When: Saturday, June 12, 2010, 10 am – 4 pm
Where: 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200, Bethesda

Sustainability Hour
Organized by the Sustainable Business Network (SB NOW), this event is perfect for meeting and networking with individuals representing businesses, non-profits, government agencies, and entrepreneurs who are not only committed to promoting sustainable practices, but also to developing business opportunities and expanding their networks.

When: Monday, June 14, 2010, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Where: Sonoma, 222 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Cost: $10; RSVP and more information

Find out about even more green events from our friends over at GreenListDC.

The Eco Luxe Life: Q&A with Lauren Rabbitt

Lauren Rabbitt, a co-founder of TheEcoLuxeLife sat down with us to talk about how she became an ecopreneur, her must have eco-friendly beauty products, and why you should care if a product is green or not.

1. Tell us a little about TheEcoLuxeLife.
TheEcoLuxeLife is most easily described as an online eco-superstore.  With so much buzz about green, my business partners and I were amazed that there was no one-stop shop where the best of the eco-market could come together and launch mainstream on a national basis across almost every consumer category.

There are so many myths out there about the green lifestyle: it’s expensive, it’s ineffective, it’s only for political activists or hippies.  Well, green isn’t just for tree huggers anymore. It can be fabulous, accessible, luxurious and available at all price points. From our consumer products, to our educational materials, to our consumer forum (which allows our guests to share ideas and opinions), we’ll show you ways you can help the environment and improve your health, without somehow miraculously transforming into a wholly different person!

2. Have you always been a green girl? When/why did that change?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never thought in a million years I’d end up being an ecopreneur!  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a surprising convert. I did start using eco-makeup two and a half years ago, and have eaten a largely flexitarian diet for about five years.  But outside of some basic household and beauty items, my former practices were actually quite the antithesis of green! My partners and I started this business as three different women, in all different age groups, taking you on our green journey.

Along the way we’ve met some amazing people who have each inspired us to live sustainably in very different ways (we truly believe there’s not one “right” way to do it). We’re not perfect, nor are we expecting you to be.  But if everyone changes at least one thing they do to be more eco-friendly, a huge difference would be made.

3. Ok, let’s talk beauty and skincare. What are your five “can’t live without” products?
In the beauty context, the rule is simple: If something is going on you, it’s actually going in you, which is exactly why it needs to be green! Product choice is so subjective, but these are my favorites:

  • Ambre Blends Perfume: It’s made from essential oils and contains no alcohol or petroleum based fillers. The smell is so good I even roll it in my hair!
  • Tarte Lip Gloss: DC’s own Environmental Working Group has said that a typical woman will ingest 9 lbs. of lipstick over her lifetime! So it better be good for you! This has no parabens, no pthalates and is vegan!
  • Yes to Carrots Body Lotion: Contains organic carrot juice, organic pumpkin, organic sweet potato and organic melon…but somehow you do NOT end up smelling like food!
  • Zoya Nail polish: Formaldehyde-free and non-toxic. Most importantly, does not chip!
  • John Master’s Organics Shampoo: No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or artificial color. Smell is divine!

4. Why should people care about whether a product is green or not?
We really believe that if people are presented with a better option, they will make a better choice. If you can easily buy quality, effective eco-products within the same price point as the commercialized counterpart you are currently using, why wouldn’t you? All the research heads in the same direction: green living is better for your health and better for the environment.  Ultimately, people go green for all different reasons. Some do it for health, others for the environment, others because it’s trendy. But no matter what’s behind your change, we welcome you aboard because we see the effect of your change as positive.

5. What have you done to be more green in the past few years?
My grandfather always told my mother, and my mother always told me: leave things better than you found them. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. As it relates to the products and food I buy, I try to make more conscious consumer decisions, and to vote with my wallet.

Being an informed consumer is important. I’m reading more books about how our food goes from the field to our fork. It’s astonishing. Of course, being eco invariably means finding creative ways to use what you have. This Winter I did a clothes swap with my business partner rather than buying new items. Everything felt new to me, but I didn’t spend a dime!

6. What’s your favorite green thing to do in DC?
Hands down, it’s running on the National Mall. I’ve been doing it for years, now I’m just less likely to trample on the grass.

Walk and Bike DC

Photo courtesy of Alex Ramsey

Lace up those sneakers, grab a reusable water bottle, and get ready for WalkingTown DC and BikingTown DC from Cultural Tourism DC.

On May 22 and 23, you can explore Washington’s vibrant neighborhoods by foot or bike, following local guides and community leaders as they share historical anecdotes, point out architectural gems, and discuss current issues in neighborhoods from Georgetown and Eastern Market to Columbia Heights and Anacostia.

With more than 100 walking tours and 11 biking tours in all eight wards of the city, this year’s program promises to provide hours of fun, adventure, and good exercise.

Giveaway: Pura Stainless Steel Bottle

We are giving away a stainless steel Pura Kiki stainless steel water bottle for infants and toddlers! The electro-polished stainless steel bottles are BPA free, hygienic, lightweight, durable and will not leach anything into a child’s drinks.

The bottles are available in an array of colors including spring green, racing red, pretty pink., aqua blue and tangerine. The feeding system grows with a child — turning from a bottle with slow-flow silicone nipple to a medium-flow bottle and then ultimately a sippy bottle with sip spout!

Giveaway Details:

* PRIZE: A Pura Kiki Stainless Steel bottle. (Total value $15.99)!
* TO ENTER: Follow us on Twitter and retweet the giveaway tweet on Monday May 17, 2010.
* MUST ENTER BY: Tuesday May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm EST.
* PRIZE SHIPS: From GoingGreenDC to U.S. address only.
* ETC: One entry per person (duplicate entries will be deleted). Winner are selected using random.org.  Winner will be contacted via DM and email after contest has ended.  Good luck to all!

Eco Women, Green Drinks, and More May Events

Keeping up with all of the green happenings around DC is practically a full-time job. Luckily for you, dear reader, we’ve taken the legwork out of finding the most worthwhile eco-related events in May. Here are our picks:

Emerging Green Builders at Hands On DC’s Annual Work-a-Thon
When: Saturday May 15 9am-3pm
Emerging Green Builder’s May volunteer event is the Hands on DC’s annual Work-a-thon to help beautify DC Public Schools.  To join the EGB team, visit Hands On DC and choose the team name “Emerging Green Builders” when registering.

EcoHour: Balancing an Urban Lifestyle with Healthful Habits: Mind, Body & Spirit
When: May 18th, 6pm to 8 pm
Where: Teasim, 400 8th St., NW
If you are looking for some tips for how to balance your life in a healthful way, you won’t want to miss this EcoHour! Mary Kearns, owner of Herban Lifestyle, inspires others to live life in a healthful, balanced way. The mission of Mary’s company is to promote beauty and self-care while supporting the health and well-being of people and the planet through high-quality bath and body products handcrafted with natural, organic, and Fair Trade ingredients. RSVP by emailing: RSVP@Ecowomen.org.

Green Drinks DC
When:May 18th, 6:30-9:30
Where: Local 16, 1602 U Street NW
A monthly gathering of green-minded folks that features a 10-minute spotlight, networking galore, and happy hour drink specials. Local 16 is 100% Wind Powered and uses some ingredients from Whipple Farms, a 160-acre farm in Virginia offering heirloom vegetables using biodynamic principles. This year, GreenDrinksDC is raising $3,050 to cover solar lanterns for the Khengarpar community in India that is currently without electricity.

Bike to Work Day
When: May 21st, beginning at 6:30 am
Join the Bethesda Transportation Solutions staff and Maryland State Delegate Bill Bronrott at the Bethesda pit stop (Reed Street, at the corner of Bethesda Ave & Woodmont Ave).  Attendees will enjoy breakfast, prizes, DJ entertainment, bike tune-ups on site by REI and City Bikes, and more, all for FREE! Register in advance online.

Cocktails for Creatures
When: May 21st, 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m
Where: FunXion, 1309 F St., NW
Organized by Nightlife to Nature, this fundraiser and silent auction will raise money for the Jaguar Sanctuary de Playa Chiquita and Global Volunteer Network. The event will feature comedian Tehran SoParvaz, magician David Breth, and Haitian percussionist Names Thompson. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres  and organic wine will be provided. Suggested donation is $10.

EcoTour: Green Buildings
When: Saturday May 22, 2010 – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
The U.S. Green Building Council’s EcoTour will highlight two to three sustainable, LEED-rated buildings and methods in DC. Participants will need to bring lunch as well as a bike since the tour covers 5 to 8 miles. Please RSVP: ncr-egb.cochair@gmail.com

Kimpton Celebrates with Sweetgreen Fro-Yo

Tasty frozen confections and Green Seal certification. We’ll toast to that!

And you can too when Kimpton hotels celebrate their DC city-wide Green Seal Certification with free Sweetgreen frozen yogurt giveaways at all 11 hotels on May 13th and 14th.

All of the hotels have been awarded Green Seal certification at the Silver Level, which is part of Kimpton’s goal to soon become the first lifestyle boutique hotel company in the U.S. to attain 100 percent Green Seal certification at the Silver Level for its 50 hotels.

Fro-yo loving Washingtonians are invited to stop by one of the area hotels to enjoy a free cone of Sweetgreen frozen yogurt, which will be dispensed at a Sweetflow Mobile–-an environmentally-conscious frozen yogurt truck engineered to run without a generator.

The first 50 people on site when the truck makes its stop will receive a complimentary frozen yogurt cone with the choice of one of Sweetgreen’s signature toppings, including strawberries, granola, or organic chocolate chips.

Visitors can also get the “inside scoop” from Kimpton employees on the company’s more than 80 green products and practices, and enter to win a free overnight getaway at the hotel.

For more information on the Sweetflow Mobile’s exact times and locations, locals can visit the individual Facebook page of each hotel, including:

Washington DC:
Hotel George: 15 E Street, NW: facebook.com/TheHotelGeorge
Hotel Rouge: 1315 16th Street, NW: facebook.com/HotelRouge
Hotel Helix: 1430 Rhode Island Ave, NW: facebook.com/HotelHelix
Topaz Hotel: 1733 N Street, NW: facebook.com/TopazHotel
Hotel Madera: 1310 New Hampshire Ave, NW. facebook.com/HotelMadera
Hotel Monaco Washington DC: 700 F Street, NW facebook.com/MonacoDC
Hotel Palomar Washington DC:2121 P Street, NW; facebook.com/HotelPalomar.WashingtonDC

Lorien Hotel & Spa: 1600 King Street, Alexandria, VA. facebook.com/LorienHotelandSpa
Morrison House: 116 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA. facebook.com/MorrisonHouse
Hotel Monaco Alexandria: 480 King Street, Alexandria, VA. facebook.com/MonacoAlexandria
Hotel Palomar Arlington at Waterview: 1121 N. 19th Street, Arlington, VA. facebook.com/Palomar.Arlington

Green Seal certification is an important third-party validation of Kimpton’s more than 80 environmentally responsible operational practices under the company’s EarthCare program, and allows Kimpton to more effectively measure its nationwide reductions in waste, energy, and water consumption.

Home Energy Savings Program Launches in Maryland

Guest post by Brooks Lape of Home Turned Green

A home energy assessment is a great way to identify hundreds of dollars of potential savings in yearly utility costs. The trouble is, it will cost you several hundreds of dollars upfront, not to mention the cost of actually fixing sources of energy loss.

The Home Energy Savings Program, a recent initiative by Pepco for Maryland homeowners, is making energy efficiency investments more affordable for local homeowners.

The Pepco program, which was announced on Earth Day 2010 and began at the end of April, will be subsidizing home energy assessments that are offered by local companies. All Maryland Pepco homeowners can receive a comprehensive energy audit for just $100. Purchased before the Energy Savers Program, this same audit would run anywhere from $300 to $500 dollars.

A home energy assessment, or audit, identifies sources of potential energy savings. All Pepco subsidized audits consist of a blower door test, infrared camera scan, and a discussion with the homeowners about behavioral patterns affecting energy use. This information is then synthesized into a report that prioritizes energy efficiency upgrades by their expected payback period.

ecobeco and greenNEWit are two local companies offering $100 energy audits through Pepco. greenNEWit provides a 350 point inspection and includes many do-it-yourself options with instructions in their audit report. ecobeco offers customers a free second visit after air sealing work is performed to check for safety and performance.

“Pepco’s Home Performance with Energy Star program is designed to empower Maryland consumers to make the right choices to improve the energy efficiency, comfort, and safety of their homes,” says Brian Toll, founder of ecobeco. “The Home Energy Audit is the first step every home owner should take the ensure that the most cost-effective solutions get done first. It’s the best $100 you’ll spend this year.”

According to The National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO), before contracting with any energy auditing company, you should:

  • Get at least five references, and contact all five. Ask if they were satisfied with the work.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau and ask about any complaints against the company.
  • Make sure the auditor uses a calibrated blower door.
  • Make sure they do thermographic inspections or contract another company to conduct one.

In addition to subsidizing the cost of the initial energy audit, Pepco is providing up to $1,200 in rebates for making energy efficiency upgrades. These incentives apply to most energy efficiency improvements, including HVAC equipment and servicing, compact fluorescent bulbs, and insulation.

The Home Energy Savings Program represents a great opportunity for Maryland homeowners to save big when making energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Although the Pepco program is only available to Maryland homeowners, DC residents may qualify for a free energy audit from the DDOE.