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Green Fest Sparks Mount Washington Energy Co-Op

Earlier this year, on February 2nd, Retrofit Baltimore hosted the first Baltimore Green Fest at the Mount Washington Elementary School.  It was a very labor-intensive organizing effort and we were joined by numerous other environmentally-friendly businesses and organizations from the Baltimore community.  The event raised awareness of “green” issues and the steps that people could take to reduce their carbon footprint and stimulate the emerging green economy in their neighborhood.

Our event was a great success! Well over 100 people showed up to learn more about the efforts to make Baltimore a more environmentally sustainable city.   In fact, the level of enthusiasm and participation by Mount Washington residents was so inspirational that Retrofit Baltimore has established the Mount Washington Energy Cooperative (MWEC).  By joining the MWEC, not only can homeowners save up to 50% off a home energy retrofit through rebates offered through the state, but they can also reduce the expense by an additional 15% because of the combined purchasing power of their Mount Washington neighbors.  That’s almost a 2/3rds  reduction in the cost of reducing residential energy needs (and utility expenses as well).

If you would like more information about the MWEC, Retrofit Baltimore, or any of the participating organizations, please contact Whitney Graham at 410-929-6172 or wgraham@retrofitbaltimore.org and be sure to check out Retrofit Baltimore’s website for pictures of the Green Fest!  www.retrofitbaltimore.org

All of the workshops were well attended and included a presentation on native plants for residential landscaping from Mount Washington’s own Rick Kingsbury, a home energy efficiency presentation from Retrofit Baltimore and Baltimore Heritage, a storm-water management workshop by Dundalk Renaissance Corp. & Backriver Restoration Committee, and a safety commuter workshop from Bikemore. There was also a panel discussion on green schools with Mount Washington School parent Lee Dix, Renee Goodenow from the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Allyson Bloom from the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education, and other panelists.

We wish to thank all of the participating organizations which included Blue Water Baltimore, Neighborhood Design Center, Power in Dirt, and Baltimore Backyard Beekeepers Network.  Delicious, environmentally-friendly lunch options were provided by Clementine and Land of Kush, and Thread Coffee was on hand to warm people up with a steaming cup of their fresh, fair-trade coffee.  Environmental engineer Ed VandenBosche even played the cello in between talking with people at his table and generous raffle prize donations from participating vendors helped raise some money for the Mount Washington School PTO.  The gym was filled decorations made by students in the after-school art program and one student even showed up to showcase his artwork! Kristie Winther, a graduate student from MICA’s Community Arts Collaborative, helped kids draw native animals at the arts and crafts table. Julie Lin from Creative City Public Charter School painted the faces of little ones at her table.

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