Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Registry Annual Leadership Awards

Applications for Maryland Green Registry Annual Leadership Awards due tomorrow
It's time to apply for the 2011 Maryland Green Registry Leadership Awards. Applications are due tomorrow.               

The Maryland Green Registry website includes information on the awards and how to apply.

The Registry promotes and recognizes sustainable practices at organizations of all types and sizes. It is a part of Smart, Green & Growing, an initiative introduced by Governor Martin O'Malley in 2008 to foster a smarter, greener, more sustainable future for Maryland families.
To apply for the 2011 Leadership Awards, an organization must be a member of the Maryland Green Registry -- but you can join now and apply for the awards. Your organization can become a member of the Registry for free by going to the Maryland Green Registry website 
Applicants for the Leadership Awards are asked to submit a brief statement highlighting one or more of the environmental projects or practices described in their Maryland Green Registry profile. 

Awards statements should be submitted to by tomorrow, Friday, April 29.  Maryland Green Registry Leadership Award winners will be recognized at a Membership and Awards event on June 7, featured on the Maryland Green Registry website, and promoted throughout the year.

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 1800 Washington Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21230
1-800-633-6101  |

Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Things That Can't Be Trashed or Recycled by Home Hints ENews

Courtesy of Home Hints ENews

Wondering what to do with the cans of unneeded paint or your stash of old batteries taking up space in your house and garage? You know you shouldn't throw them out, but it really is time to get rid of them. Resist the temptation to toss them in the trash anyway. The reason: They (and everything on the list below) contain toxic chemicals capable of contaminating the environment if not disposed of properly.

Unlike items that are picked up at the curb, you'll have to make a special effort to unload these ones responsibly. But, with a little advance planning and some good info, you'll see that it's really quite simple to dispose of these seemingly mysterious items. Here's how:

    * Batteries. Recycling rechargeable batteries is fairly easy. Home Depot, Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy, and other retailers take them back free of charge. There are fewer options for single-use batteries, but look for bins at your local Whole Foods Market, Ikea, or library. Otherwise, your best bet is the local household hazardous waste drop-off site. Where is it and what are your closest drop-off options? Search here
 for answers.

    * CFLs. These energy-efficient bulbs are becoming easier to get rid of. Just drop old bulbs off at any Home Depot or Ikea for free recycling. Or ask about CFL recycling at your local Ace Hardware or home improvement store. You can search locally for other nearby solutions.

    * Electronics. Every retailer that takes back rechargeable batteries also accepts mobile phones, as do most wireless providers. For computers, cameras, televisions and others, it's worthwhile to do a little homework because some stores charge fees depending on item and brand. Check out Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot to see what's the best fit. Some places, like Radio Shack, have trade-in programs where you can receive store credit for your old gadgets.

    * Motor Oil. In case you need some motivation, consider this: Every gallon of used motor oil that's improperly disposed of can contaminate one million gallons of drinking water. Bring it to Wal-Mart, Autozone, Jiffy Lube, or search online for more convenient choices.

    * Paint. It's among the harder items in this group to dispose of, but it's worth it and totally doable. Remember, with proper planning and application, paint disposal is usually unnecessary. Buy the right amount for your project.  Apply a second coat and touch up areas that need improvement. If the paint is still in good shape, consider donating it. Liquid wastes are restricted from municipal solid waste landfills – never throw away leftover liquid paints in your trash. The National Paint and Coatings Association suggests:

Latex Paint Disposal Steps

   1. Unused latex paint should be poured into an absorbent material such as a cat box filler, shredded newspaper or sawdust.
   2. Let it dry completely and dispose of the dried material in your regular trash.
   3. In areas where recycling programs exist, save the dry, empty containers with the lids off for a steel can recycling program. Small amounts of dried residue will not hinder steel can recycling.
   4. Wash your paint brushes and painting tools in the sink. Never clean your paint brushes near a storm sewer drain.

Solvent-Based Paint Disposal

Solvent-based or alkyd paints require special disposal practices. Solvent-based paints are ignitable and present particular hazards. These products should not be emptied into storm sewers, household drains (especially if you have a septic tank) or on the ground.

Disposal Steps

   1. Save solvent-based paints for a household hazardous waste collection program or contact your local/state government environmental protection agency for guidance on reuse or disposal of unwanted solvent-based paint products.
   2. In areas where recycling programs exist, save the dry, empty containers with the lids off for a steel can recycling program. Small amounts of dried residue will not hinder steel can recycling.
   3. Clean paint brushes and painting tools with paint thinner or turpentine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Tax Incentives Assistance Program by

The Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP), sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field, is designed to give consumers and businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies passed by Congress as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and subsequently amended several times.

Update as of 1/10/11 -

Congress passed, and the President signed, the tax legislation described below in mid-December. To find out more about the changes, see individual pages in the left sidebar. TIAP has also compiled a fact sheet with information about the relevant energy efficiency tax incentives for 2010 and 2011.

Update as of 12/16/10 – Congress About to Extend And Modify Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives for Appliances, New Homes and Retrofits to Existing Homes

Today, or shortly thereafter, Congress is likely to complete action on tax legislation that modifies and extends three energy efficiency tax incentives, as a part of a much larger tax package. These tax incentives will continue to help raise the market share of efficient appliances, HVAC and insulation products, and new homes.
The legislation extends the new homes tax credit to cover 2010 and 2011 – this $2000 credit goes to the home builders and is for homes that use no more than half the energy of homes that just meet the 2003 national model energy code. The credit expired at the end of 2009 but the new bill extends this to cover new homes that are built in 2010 and 2011.
The bill also extends and updates manufacturer appliance tax credits for 2011 – the credit, which goes to manufacturers directly, is extended for one year, and the following criteria now apply:
  • Dishwashers –
    • $25  - models using no more than 307 kilowatt hours/year and 5.0 gallons of water/cycle (this is the ENERGY STAR level effective July 1, 2011)
    • $50 - models using no more than 295 kilowatt hours/year and 4.25 gallons of water/cycle
    • $75 - models using no more than 280 kWh kilowatt hours/year and 4 gallons of water/cycle
  • Clothes Washers –
    • $175 – top-loading models that meet/exceed 2.2 MEF, and does not exceed 4.5 WCF
    • $225 – top-loading models that meet/exceed 2.4 MEF, and does not exceed 4.2 WCF, or front-loading models that meet/exceed 2.8 MEF and do not exceed a 3.5 WCF
  • Refrigerators –
    • $150 – models that use 30% less energy relative to federal standard
    • $200 – models that use 35% less energy relative to federal standard
The legislation extends the 25C heating and cooling equipment and building envelope tax incentives for another year but at reduced levels. The new bill extends eligibility to the end of 2011, but reduces the incentive to the original 10% up to $500.  Included are provisions which:
  • limit window incentives to $200;
  • limit oil and gas furnace and boiler incentives to $150, plus an additional $50 for efficient furnace fans;
  • limit water heater and wood heating system incentives to $300;
  • loosen the qualification for window incentives (ENERGY STAR windows now qualify);
  • and tighten the specifications for oil furnaces and boilers and gas boilers to 95% efficiency, up from the 90% efficiency in current law.
Congress is likely to consider further extensions of these incentives into 2012 and beyond next year, and TIAP will provide updates as they become available.  The existing homes incentives are likely to receive a major overhaul, and there are also likely to be discussions about improving incentives for energy-efficiency investments in commercial buildings, incentives which under current law continue until the end of 2013.
While Congress extended most of the expiring federal energy efficiency tax incentives, they did not extend the incentive for hybrid trucks and buses.

IRS Forms

  • Residential Energy Efficient Property: Form 5695
  • New Homes: Form 8908
  • Vehicle Incentives: Form 8910
  • Commercial Solar Incentives: Form 3468 (Investment Credit)
    Note: The links above go to the IRS web site. TIAP makes every effort to keep these links up to date. IRS often does not publish new versions of forms until the beginning of the following tax year.

Additional Resources

TIAP Flyers for Residential and Commercial Incentives - Add your organization's logo and distribute at your next event to spread the word about energy efficiency incentives.
Some additional information on tax incentives can be found HERE!
Extension Service Home Energy Community of Practice Webinar - Presentation by Jen Amann, ACEEE(4/10/2009)
RESNET has completed a survey of rating providers regarding the number of homes that their raters certified for the federal tax credit (2007 only). 23,702 homes were certified by RESNET during 2007, which is triple the number of homes certified in 2006. For more information, click here.