Working for a More Sustainable Mount Rainier Maryland

Tag: Energy

#GREENisLife – Mount Rainier Corn Coop

Doug talks to Jim Groves about the Mount Rainier Corn Coop, why corn stoves and burning corn for heat is economically beneficial and helpful to the environment. Jim also gives tips on how to go about finding a corn stove for your home.

#GREENisLife – Solar Testimonial #2

Doug talks to Brett Sherman about his experience purchasing solar panels for his Mount Rainier home and discusses the financial benefits of panel installation.  A third great way to learn a little more about going solar before heading out to the Solar Party at Joe’s on 10/18.


#GREENisLife – Solar Testimonial #1

Doug talks to Marek Posard about his experience purchasing solar panels for his Mount Rainier home and gives tips for how to go about owning your own panels.  Another great way to learn a little more about going solar before heading out to the Solar Party at Joe’s on 10/18.


#GREENisLIFE – ABCs of Going Solar

Host Doug Adams talks to Jackson Leas about the basics for going solar for home owners and renters.  Great way to learn a little more about going solar before heading out to the Solar Party at Joe’s on 10/18.

Some of the links Jackson talked about:

Mount Rainier Solar Party

The Green Team is gearing up for a Solar Party and you are invited. The Party will be on Thursday, October 18 from 7-9 PM at Joe’s Movement Emporium.

There were be several solar vendors there to explain what they do and how you can go solar. This event is not just for homeowners with no trees, some of the options are geared towards renters or shaded houses.

Some of the vendors scheduled are:

There will also be music, videos, and refreshments, including solar powered beer from Atlas Brewery.

Who Needs Air Conditioning Anyway?

Many homes in Mount Rainier were built in the early 1900’s before air conditioning really existed. This month we’ll learn how one resident, Jodi-beth, and her family still lives comfortably without the AC – saving money while also being green.

First her family insulated their small attic space, the walls, and the basement and sealed up leaks in the foundation. You want to keep the cool air inside. An energy audit, like we talked about in January, is helpful to figuring out where you need insulation.

Then they make sure to keep the blinds closed on sunny days which limits the sun’s heat. You can even find blinds or curtains designed to reflect the sun’s light in the summer to add the effect.

They also installed a whole house fan in an upstairs window, which they turn on at night once the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature. In the morning they turn it off in the early morning and close all the windows to keep the cooler air in the house through all of the day. You might not have even realized that many houses in town were designed to use a staircase in the center of the house to assist helping the hot air flow through an upstairs window.

Finally, they installed a heat pump water heater in the basement. It heats water year round by taking the heat out of the air to heat water and then blows out cold air. It serves as an air conditioner in the insulated basement – and all for the cost of heating water.

But is it worth it? It indeed is. In the hot of summer they would only have an electric bill of about $75 per month if they didn’t have solar panels lowering their bill even more. And even if you don’t think you can give up the AC cold turkey, you can do all of these things anyway to lower the amount the AC needs to work when it is on.

Street Light Replacement Report

The Green Team examined the environmental and financial benefits of replacing street lights in Mount Rainier with LEDs. You can read the report here – Street Light Replacement Report.

Keep Warm and Spend Less

As temperatures drop over the winter, there is one thing that keeps going up and up and up: heating costs.  Whether you use electric, oil, or gas to heat your home, staying warm over the winter means bills can increase. And with our hundred-plus year homes in Mount Rainier, much of that heat leaks out and goes to waste.

But there are small things each household can do to reduce that waste and save money. The easiest step is is to make sure you have a programmable thermostat.  A basic programmable thermostat allows you to set different temperatures for morning or daytime or evenings. This should save you 10% on your monthly bills and only costs about $50.  That means you’ll save more than the cost of the thermostat in just one winter.

Next up are retrofits. First off you should get an energy audit to learn what weatherization your home could benefit from.  We recommend finding an auditor that does not also retrofit so you get an independent opinion. After you get your audit you will know whether you need insulation, sealing, new windows, etc. and what kind of energy and financial savings you could expect.

Energy retrofits can be pricey up front but you will make the investment back from the savings in your energy bills in 5-10 years.  The upfront costs can be daunting especially if you have a tight budget, but that is all of the more reason to save on heating and there are resources to help.

The City of Mount Rainier participates in Maryland Energy Administration‘s EmPOWER Maryland program (url: through the Prince George’s County Municipal Collaboration. Mount Rainier residents may be eligible for home weatherization and retrofits FREE to them, based on the household income. For more information, contact Alison Miller at (301) 908-4079 or James Flynn at

Another potential resource is the BeSMART program from the Dept. of Housing and Community Development (phone: (301) 429-7402, web:, which provides loan and incentive programs to help homeowners make their homes more efficient.

There and many opportunities for assistance with energy efficiency to help both keep warm and save money this winter.

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