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Helping Maryland municipalities go green to save: New UMD initiative
Date:6/27/2011

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland and the Maryland Municipal League are teaming up to help communities plan and implement green, sustainable practices that may help them cope with tight budgets.

Based on a successful model in New Jersey, the free, voluntary program will guide communities through a series of steps that will ultimately earn them a "certificate of sustainability."

The program - Sustainable Maryland Certified - is expected to be attractive to smaller communities, and may eventually earn participating municipalities preferences in competition for state and federal grants, the organizers say.

"Planning for and adopting green, sustainable practices can be intimidating at first, so our idea is to create a menu of options that will help and encourage local officials to get on the path," says Joanne Throwe, director of the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center. "Municipal leaders tell us they'd like to green their communities, especially because they think it will cut their long-run costs. Our goal is to give them a free, voluntary entry point to help them begin, and then guide them through the process."

Throwe and her team unveiled the program and began recruiting communities to get involved at yesterday's annual meeting of the Maryland Municipal League. Local officials can now register online at the program's new interactive website: http://www.sustainablemaryland.com/index.php .

An advisory panel of about a dozen mayors in the league has been guiding Throwe's team as they put Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) together over the past several months.

"Maryland cities and towns have long searched for a systematic approach for accessing existing sustainability tools and resources available in our state," says Scott A. Hancock, the Maryland Municipal League's executive director. "Sustainable Maryland Certified is the right solution providing the proper incentives an
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Contact: Neil Tickner
ntickner@umd.edu
301-405-4622
University of Maryland
Source:Eurekalert  

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