Bethesda Green, Bethesda Magazine Name Green Award Winners

Bethesda Green named the 2012 Bethesda Magazine Green Award winners on Thursday night at its 3rd Annual Gala, a group that included tech companies, educational initiatives, a local municipality and a local private school.

Solar energy software company Geostellar, the Audobon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program, the JBS International IT firm, the Calleva outdoor adventure camp, the City of Rockville, the Landon School and building designer John Spears of the Sustainable Design Group all won awards and will be featured as Green Champions in Bethesda Magazine.

Bethesda Green is an environmental nonprofit that promotes sustainability projects and education in Bethesda and includes a green business incubator.

Details on the winners, from the press release, are after the jump:


Bethesda-based Geostellar provides an instant, free and independent analysis of your solar energy potential. Through predictive algorithms, Geostellar analyzes properties for rooftop solar by computing the site’s shading, slope and orientation. Combining this pixel-by-pixel breakdown with information on electricity rates, usage and applicable incentives, Geostellar’s online platform enables property owners to quickly assess the value of their rooftop for solar, select an installer, arrange financing and start saving money while reducing carbon pollution.

Audobon Naturalist Society

Under the direction of Diane Lill, the Audubon Naturalist Society’s GreenKids program has produced a green culture change throughout Montgomery County Public Schools. GreenKids has brought free, hands-on environmental lessons to one-fifth of all MCPS schools, reaching more than 25,000 students and 1,000 teachers. Since 2005, GreenKids has helped 40 MCPS schools become certified Maryland Green Schools, including every school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster—the first and only allgreen cluster in the county.

GreenKids helps students to connect with nature at their schools by growing their own salads, composting with worms, creating habitat for butterflies, monitoring the health of local streams, becoming top-notch recyclers, and discovering new ways to save energy—from shutting down computers at the end of each day to turning out the lights when the sun shines brightly in their classrooms.

JBS International

JBS International, a woman-owned management and IT services firm, launched its formal environmental sustainability efforts in 2008. Under the leadership of Chair Diane Harder, the JBS Green Team has partnered with Whole Foods to bring composting to the firm. Jerri Shaw, JBS coCEO, notes, “Thanks to members of the Green Team, we will be taking tons of recyclable and reusable materials out of the waste stream from our offices in North Bethesda.”

Employee educational sessions and signs explain what is compostable and recyclable. Regular trash bins were replaced with bins that have three options: compost, recycle, and waste. Last year, JBS International diverted 12 tons of compostable waste from landfills. For corporate meetings and events, the firm replaced paper products and plastic-ware with reusable and recyclable cups and uses a greencertified catering company. Cleaning supplies are nontoxic and purchased for their environmental safety.


Offering a unique mix of outdoor education and adventure programming, Calleva combines lessons on water conservation, erosion and runoff control and farming with group recreational activities on the Potomac River, demonstrating the importance of sustainable farming to the health of our local ecosystem. Calleva experiences take place on its working farm near Poolesville as well as on rivers, trails and forests all over our region.

Each year, Calleva works with more than 70 schools and countless families (over 3,000 students and summer campers) in the area with experiences designed to teach the interconnectedness of local farms, forests, rivers and streams. Calleva’s annual Earth Day clean-ups demonstrate its commitment to bringing community groups together for good works. In 2012, Calleva coordinated a clean-up that removed garbage from the Potomac River and creek banks, including assorted tires, chairs, barrels and other large items.  They also repaired park benches and removed invasive species that are choking out native plants along the Potomac River. These kinds of events help to promote cooperation, awareness and stewardship among outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, schools and other community groups.

City of Rockville

Rockville adopted a comprehensive sustainability strategy in 2007, one of the first communities in the nation to do so. Under that strategy, Rockville has greened up its zoning and building codes; moved to acquire 60 percent of its electricity from wind generation; and adopted ordinances on green purchasing, water pollution and tree protection. Rockville has also adopted a model local storm-water management program, restoring several miles of damaged streams.

Rockville has also launched a single stream (no sorting) recycling program offering residents one of the most extensive programs in the State, including curb-side collection of scrap metal, electronics, and household hazardous waste, most of which are reused or recycled.

Landon School

Adopting an Environmental Values Statement in 2010, Landon has made a number of meaningful changes. Environmental studies are part of the overall experience at Landon, and every freshman takes a course in Environmental Stewardship.

Landon has made significant progress in reducing its energy output, using conservation measures that have saved the equivalent of almost 6 weeks of energy usage. Changes in the dining hall have reduced roughly 14 tons of trash hauled away for the year.

With the help of a Landon family, the school installed a state-of-the-art energy monitoring system that provides real time energy usage information for all five major buildings on campus. Guided by this information, Landon has implemented a multi-step program of energy conservation measures that saves the school nearly $50,000 a year.

John Spears, Sustainable Design Group

For the last 35 years, home designer John Spears has pursued a singular purpose, working toward the goal of perfecting zero energy and self-sufficient buildings. He has built zero energy homes on 5 continents for private clients and multinational organizations.

In a time when people are pushing solutions and the public is confused by competing claims, Spears represents the quiet practical professional looking for the best solutions and the correct materials for each project. Innovative materials are chosen based on their appropriateness, and gadgetry that cannot contribute to the system performance is rejected. Each system is evaluated on cost, performance, sustainability and durability, allowing quantifiable justification for each material choice.

Validating that business approach, Spears and his partners recently received national recognition for building affordable zero energy housing in Frederick.

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Green, via Twitter

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