Operational Sustainability Initiatives

Office of Environmental Sustainability
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) in 2008, effective January 2009. Since that time the office has been moving forward with sustainable practices, policies and partnerships in Frederick County government. This office merged with the Watershed Management Section to become the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources (OSER) in 2011. OES developed “A Framework for Sustainability” that guides County efforts.

On March 10, 2009, the BOCC endorsed a Sustainability Framework that provided the Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) direction to organize and facilitate a team of employees focused on internal sustainability planning. The BOCC adopted a Sustainable Action Plan (SAP) for County Operations on Thursday, August 26, 2010 for County Operations for Fiscal Year 2011-2015 that provides a coordinated, 5-year strategy for the integration of sustainable practices into Frederick County Government Operations and decision-making processes. A 32-member team of Frederick County government employees produced the SAP. The plan aims to integrate sustainable practices into county operations and decision-making processes.

Frederick County Sustainability Commission

The BOCC passed Resolution 09-02 on March 26, 2009 to create the 13-member Frederick County Sustainability Commission to advise the Board in the areas of community sustainability and environmental leadership. The SC Work Plan, approved April 20, 2010, includes strategies for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation. The SC has also developed a set of community Sustainability Indicators.

Organizational Commitment to Sustainability
On August 26, 2010, the BOCC passed Resolution 10-24 to provide an “Organizational Commitment to Sustainability”, a resolution of the Board of County Commissioners which demonstrates a significant commitment on the part of Frederick County Government to establish and implement policies, guidelines, goals and strategic actions to promote sustainability.”

Comprehensive Energy Plan

On September 16, 2010, the BOCC adopted a The Comprehensive Energy Plan is available from Comprehensive Energy Plan for 2010-2024 as guidance to operating divisions of county government. The CEP establishes definitive goals (annual) for reducing the county's use of non-renewable energy over a 15 year period in its office buildings, vehicle fleet and facilities by 50% or more. Frederick County government is saving over $585,000 each year in on-going savings attributed to fuel and energy conservation initiatives with savings by 2010 of over $1.5 million.

Energy Conservation Committee
The Energy Conservation Committee is comprised of a cross-section of county employees and meets to discuss current conservation and energy efficiency initiatives, learn about new conservation technologies, and share future plans for energy conservation. The committee reviews and encourages conservation initiatives throughout the County. Since the committee was formed in 2005, it has made annual presentations to the County Commissioners on conservation efforts which now provide ongoing operating savings of over $150,000 annually.

Frederick County inputs its building energy use into EPA Portfolio Manager with 1 building achieving ENERGY STAR status, the Health Department. Frederic County’s traffic signals have also reached ENERGY STAR status.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Frederick County has initiatives in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On April 9, 2007, the BOCC passed Resolution 07-14: Endorsement of the U.S. Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA). The Frederick County SAP includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2025. This reduction strategy is based on a baseline inventory year of 2007.

On August 24, 2010, staff from the Sustainability Office presented a report to the Board of County Commissioners on the Frederick County Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. The report addresses emissions attributed to county government operations as well as the community-at-large. The report and inventory were supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy-Related Grants
OSER has experience managing energy-related grants.  Award Number DE-SC0002637 was made in the amount of $659,800 and covered the time period from September 2009 - September 2012. OSER is an EPA Climate Showcase Community grantee. Through this grant, it has developed the Green Homes Challenge, which includes residential sustainability challenges to reduce electricity and other fuel consumption in the Power Saver and Green Leader Challenges, and to implement renewable energy projects in the Renewable Star Challenge.

This grant also includes Solarize Frederick County – a county-wide volume purchasing initiative for solar electric and solar thermal systems that includes local incentive grants with a goal of 60 renewable energy systems by December 2013. OSER is a DHCD Be Smart grantee with residential energy audit and retrofit program, contractor registry, and online Green Homes Challenge projects. OSER also worked with Frederick County Public Schools to install a solar photovoltaic energy system at Oakdale High School as part of MEA’s Project Sunburst.

Energy Efficient Practices

Frederick County is committed to implementing energy efficient practices in its own properties. It invested in USGBC LEED certification for the Brunswick Library, a 15,400 square-foot branch which opened in spring 2011. Frederick County has performed over 29 energy audits of its owned and occupied buildings and recently completed an Energy Efficiency Retrofits - County Buildings Project; that included HVAC efficiency upgrades at Rose Hill Maintenance Shop, Senior Center, and Pinecliff Park A-frame building; LED lighting retrofits in courthouse courtrooms and lobby; and a heat reflecting roof at the Emmitsburg Community Center. Traffic and signal lights have been upgraded to LEDs.

Energy Efficient Private Sector

Frederick County is committed to energy efficiency in the private sector. In July 2012, Frederick County adopted the 2012 ICC International Building Code and the 2012 International Residential Code as required by Maryland law. OSER is working with graduate students from George Washington University to evaluate and improve incentives for green building in Frederick County. 5 county staff were LEED GA certified and 1 LEED AP certified.

Other Initiatives
  • Maryland Green Registry participant
  • OSER conducted an assessment of Power Management for Computers and Peripherals as part of an Urban Sustainability Director's Network initiative in 2012.
  • OSER publishes a quarterly newsletter. Archived newsletters are available.
  • OSER supports the Green section in the Frederick News-Post by sponsoring the feature and providing content. OSER is also a sponsor of the Frederick County Solar Homes Tour.
  • The BOCC and OSER have issued yearly “Frederick County Leadership in Energy and Sustainability Awards since 2011.
  • OSER participated in an assessment of potential solar photovoltaic installation at the Health Department, Adult Detention Center, and Catoctin Creek Nature Center in conjunction with a Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and EPA Clean Energy Collaborative Procurement Initiative.