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A. Organizational Commitment - Policy

A1. REQUIRED: Develop and display an environmental policy that could include a mission statement, corporate values, and strategic goals that demonstrate a commitment to a green workplace. 

For More Information
See Hallman Orthodontics and Honest Tea for environmental policy examples from Montgomery County Certified Green Businesses. For additional examples from other companies see the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Greening Advisor.

To learn about the principles of sustainability and a scientifically-based framework to fully integrate sustainability into your corporate strategy and day-to-day operations, and to review case studies of path breaking businesses, see The Natural Step.

For cutting edge research on profitable innovations focusing on efficient and restorative use of natural resources, see the Rocky Mountain Institute.

For a comprehensive report on the role of business innovation in mainstreaming sustainable consumption click here. 

 

A. Organizational Commitment - Actions

A2. Incorporate sustainability into job descriptions and/or performance appraisals.

For More Information
To learn about linking compensation to environmental metrics, as well as other environmental innovations in business, see the Environmental Defense Fund.  

See Arizona State University’s performance evaluation template which includes a commitment to sustainability as a core expectation. Click Performance Management Forms.  

A3. Incorporate sustainability into training programs.

For More Information
To conduct your own internal training programs and/or send key staff to any or all of the following courses offered by Montgomery College, click here: 1) Crash Course on How to Become a Green Certified Business, 2) The Business Case for Greening Your Operations, 3) Leading Environmental Change within Your Organization.

A4. Incorporate sustainability into employee orientations. 

A5. Create employee resource guide outlining company policies, employee responsibilities and (if applicable) green building features. 

A6. Incorporate sustainability into staff meeting discussions. 

A7. Offer brown bag lunches, seminars, or workshops with sustainabilty as a focus. 

For More Information
Lead your own brag bag discussions, tapping existing staff or bringing in outside experts, and/or take advantage of ongoing public seminars in the Washington Metropolitan area at: Resources for the Future , Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and others.

Solutions Seminar Series - Watch streaming video for free and hear some of the leading sustainability thinkers discuss topics ranging from greening your supply chain to cap and trade legislation to “smart power” and more. Click here to learn more and watch the seminars.

A8. Elicit staff ideas and input on greening the workplace and operations through surveys or other means.

For More Information
For tips on engaging your employees see NRDC'sGreening Advisor.

For inspiring examples of "intrapreneurs" spearheading environmental initiatives within their companies, see Net Impact's "Making Your Impact at Work: A Practical Guide to Changing the World from Inside Any Company." 

A9. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

A10. Post educational information in your facility about steps you are taking to be a sustainable organization. 

A11. Highlight your sustainability efforts on your website. 

For More Information
While not a requirement for this action, businesses might consider going above and beyond through comprehensive sustainability reporting. For more information, see the Global Reporting Initiative or the Ceres Facility Reporting Project. 

A12. Appoint personnel responsible for green initiatives and organize a "green" steering committee or workgroup. 

A13. Offer tours and/or distribute e-newsletter to customers and other stakeholders highlighting green practices. 

A14. Encourage at least one other business to become a certified green business. 

A15. Provide opportunities for employees to green their personal lives.

For More Information
There are a number of carbon calculators that help households reduce their ecological footprint:

    Cool Capital Challenge
    Berkeley
    My Footprint
    Footprint Network

A16. Offer socially responsible investment options as part of employee retirement benefit programs. 

For More Information
Talk to your fund advisor to see if socially responsible funds are available or could be added to your portfolio. To learn more about socially responsible investing, visit the Social Investment Forum. 

For information on how to become a “B Corporation,” a corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, click here.  

A17. Participate in or sponsor environmental restoration projects and other community efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

For More Information
A number of opportunities are available including the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, Wildlife Habitat Council, and Bayscaping for Wildlife Habitat. 

A18. Offer customers environmentally responsible products and services that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

A19. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

A. Organizational Commitment - Performance

A20. Measure performance of your organizational commitment to sustainability by completing an annual sustainability report. 

For More Information
For sample sustainability reports, click here.

While not a requirement for this action, businesses might consider going "above and beyond" through comprehensive sustainability performance reporting. See the Global Reporting Initiative or the Ceres Facility Reporting Project.

A21. Become "carbon neutral" through the purchase of verified/certified carbon offsets.

For More Information
For more information on carbon offsets and for a list of retailers and projects screened by the Environmental Defense Fund, click here. 

Learn about local clean energy suppliers here. 

A22. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

A. Organizational Commitment - Communication

A23. REQUIRED: Encourage your property manager/owner to adopt green practices for actions that are beyond your control.

For More Information
For a sample letter to your property manager/owner, click here. 

To use California Sustainability Alliance’s Green Leases Toolkit, click here.  

 

B. Waste & Recycling - Policy

B1. REQUIRED: Establish waste reduction and recycling policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies.

For More Information
In crafting your policies, make sure to consider Montgomery County Executive Regulation 15-04AM, which requires all businesses to recycle specific materials and educate their employees about the organization's recycling and waste reduction programs. The law requires all businesses with 100 or more employees to file a business recycling plan, submit annual recycling and waste reduction reports, and maintain documentation of materials recycled and amounts and collection services received. (Businesses with fewer than 100 employees must file such plans and reports upon request by the Division of Solid Waste Services.) It also mandates specific requirements for placement, sizes, types and quantities of recycling containers and for collectors that service commercial properties.

Please review the online brochure for an overview of the County’s business recycling regulation and program and contact the Division of Solid Waste Services at (240) 777-6400 for more information. 

The Division of Solid Waste Services has created and distributes the Business Recycling Regulation Handbook to businesses and organizations. This reference provides guidance on setting up a comprehensive recycling program. It includes a resource list of companies known to provide recycling collection services to businesses in the County. Guidance on negotiating with service providers, and information on waste reduction and buying recycled products, are also included in the Handbook.  You can download the Handbook

For an overview of the steps recommended to contract for recycling collection services, click here.   

For case studies of innovative models of waste free business practices, see GreenBlue.

 

B. Waste & Recycling - Actions

B2. REQUIRED: Educate all employees and customers about the organization's recycling and waste reduction programs, as well as efforts to buy recycled supplies and materials.

For More Information
Montgomery County Executive Regulation 15-04AM requires all businesses to recycle specific materials, file a business recycling plan, submit annual recycling and waste reduction reports, and maintain documentation of materials recycled and amounts and collection services received. It also mandates specific requirements for placement, sizes, types and quantities of recycling containers and for collectors that service commercial properties. Please review the online brochure for an overview of the County’s business recycling regulation and program and contact the Division of Solid Waste Services at (240) 777-6400 for more information.

There are numerous ways to educate employees, vendors, contractors, visitors and customers about your recycling, waste reduction and buying recycled program. Examples include: regular staff meetings, new employee orientation, information in company newsletter, email notifications, brown-bag lunch discussions, etc.

For thought provoking factoids on recycling, click here. For more ideas and educational material click here.

B3. REQUIRED: Provide containers for recyclable materials and collection area(s) for storage of recyclable materials. Provide clear information about what can and cannot be recycled.

For More Information
Larger, central recycling containers can be purchased at office supply or hardware stores. Coordinate efforts with your recycling service provider or property manager. 

Financial Incentives!
Businesses can request seven-gallon desk-side recycling bins through the Division of Solid Waste Services' online store here.

B4. Discourage the printing of e-mails, and transmit documents electronically through the use of PDFs or hyperlinks. 

B5. Set copier/printer defaults to double-sided. 

B6. Practice efficient printing and copying by using the size reduction feature to enable printing of two pages of a document or book onto one page. 

B7. Eliminate or redesign forms to use less paper; or switch forms (such as invoices) to electronic format. 

B8. Use a bulletin board or routing lists for memos and journals to reduce printed copies. 

B9. Eliminate paper copies of newspapers, journals, phone books, etc. by switching to on-line subscriptions. 

B10. Reduce unwanted mail. 

For More Information
There are a number of actions you can take to reduce unwanted mail. To remove your business from two major mailing list databases, click here. For additional ideas and resources, click here. To reduce catalogs, click here. Use the National Change of Address (NCOA) to eliminate duplicates and outdated addresses in your own mailing lists.  

B11. Design marketing and outreach materials that reduce paper use, such as e-newsletters.

For More Information
Thoroughly evaluate and coordinate communication channels and strategies such as the use of the web, e-mail marketing with PDFs, printing more targeted pieces, etc. to maximize efficiency and reduce the need for extraneous printed information. When printed outreach materials are needed, consider designing them so that envelopes are not required – simply fold and mail.  

B12. Avoid the use of "hard to recycle" materials such as packaging made from Styrofoam™ (polystyrene). 

B13. In the lunch/break room, replace disposables with reusable kitchenware (e.g., mugs, utensils, etc.) and use refillable containers for sugar, salt & pepper, etc. to avoid individual condiment packets. 

B14. For office functions, utilize reusable kitchenware. 

B15. Reduce paper use in the bathroom (toilet paper, paper towels) using informational signage, dispensers that regulate sheet length, air dryers, etc. 

B16. Use optical scanners for inventory management, which give more details about inventory and allow for more precise ordering. 

B17. Lease rather than purchase computers and printers. Alternatively, reuse computers or component parts within your own company.

For More Information
Leasing computers and printers encourages manufacturers to give greater consideration to the opportunities for upgrading, reusing, and recycling the equipment and its component parts.

For more information on what is known as Extended Product Responsibility, which encourages the reuse of equipment, click here and here.  

B18. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

B19. For drafts and internal documents, print on previously printed paper; designate a draft printer tray; and/or reuse office paper as scratch pads. 

B20. Use continuous circulation envelopes to route information to employees. 

B21. Give or sell reusable bags.yes;"> 

B22. Offer a small incentive to customers who bring their own shopping bags, return packaging for reuse, etc.

B23. Reuse paper, cardboard, or plastic packaging materials.

For More Information
Try shredded paper or crumpled newspaper as packing material and make sure to reuse those Styrofoam peanuts! If you have no need for the peanuts, take them to any mail supply store that can reuse them.  

B24. Designate a sharing and reuse area for office supplies such as binders, folders and staplers. 

B25. Donate furniture, supplies, computers, pagers/phones, scrap materials, etc., or use a waste exchange program where businesses can benefit from exchanging unwanted items.

For More Information
For information on reuse opportunities, visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Use It Again Database or check for reuse organizations in the Business Recycling Regulation Handbook.

For additional opportunities and ideas, click here.

B26. Donate unopened cans of paints/solvents or return them to the place of purchase. 

B27. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

B28. REQUIRED: Mixed paper (including cardboard)

For More Information
Includes corrugated cardboard, white and colored office paper, newspaper, magazines, catalogs, unwanted mail, shredded paper, envelopes with or without windows, paperboard boxes (cookie, pasta, snack food boxes), inner rolls from paper towels and toilet tissue rolls and all other clean and dry paper. (Other materials, including wax coated milk/juice/produce boxes and paper coffee/beverage cups, can also be recycled in some cases. Check to make sure that your collector accepts these materials.)

B29. REQUIRED: Commingled materials (cans, bottles, etc.)

For More Information
Includes aluminum cans and foil products, bi-metal steel and tin cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles, containers, jars, tubs, lids, pails, buckets and flower pots. (Other materials, including non-hazardous aerosol cans, and Tupperware™ and Rubbermaid™-type plastic containers and lids, can also be recycled in some cases. Check to make sure that your collector accepts these materials.)

B30. REQUIRED: Scrap metal

For More Information
Metal and predominantly metal items including appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves, ovens; metal office furniture such as metal desks, chairs, filing cabinets and shelves; piping, fencing, etc. 

B31. REQUIRED: Christmas trees

For More Information
Work with your landscape contractor or lawn care service provider to recycle Christmas trees. 

B32. Pallets

For More Information
Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for various materials or click here for additional organizations. 

B33. Construction and demolition material

For More Information
To find out how and where to donate and/or recover construction and demolition materials in the Washington, D.C., area, click here. 

B34. Toner/ink cartridges

For More Information
Seek out vendors that have remanufactured toner cartridge recycling return policies and provide prepaid shipping labels. Save the cartridge box and use for return package.

For a purchasing guide on remanufactured toner cartridges, see the Responsible Purchasing Network.

B35. Electronic and computer equipment

For More Information
Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for various materials or click here for additional organizations. 

B36. Carpeting and carpet padding

For More Information
Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for various materials or click here for additional organizations.

For detailed information on carpet recycling, click here.

B37. Fluorescent light bulbs

For More Information
Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for various materials or click here for additional organizations.

Businesses meeting the definition of a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) may participate in Montgomery County’s ECOWISE Program. For information on this program, click here.

To learn how to properly handle breakage, click here. 

B38. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist. 

 

B. Waste & Recycling - Performance

B39. Complete the Montgomery County Business Recycling and Waste Reduction Plan and the Montgomery County Annual Business Recycling and Waste Reduction Report. (NOTE: This is legal REQUIREMENT for certain businesses.)

For More Information
Montgomery County Executive Regulation 15-04AM requires all businesses with 100 or more employees to file a business recycling plan, submit annual recycling and waste reduction reports, and maintain documentation of materials recycled and amounts and collection services received.  Businesses with fewer than 100 employees must file such plans and reports upon request by the Division of Solid Waste Services. 

Forms can be found at:
Recycling Plan
Annual Recycling Report

Contact the Division of Solid Waste Services at (240) 777-6400 for more information.

B40. Conduct a solid waste assessment to identify ways to reduce waste and increase recycling.

For More Information
The Division of Solid Waste Services has created and distributes the Business Recycling Regulation Handbook to businesses and organizations. This reference provides guidance on setting up a comprehensive recycling program. It includes a resource list of companies known to provide recycling collection services to businesses in the County. Guidance on negotiating with service providers, and information on waste reduction and buying recycled products, are also included in the Handbook.

B41. Measure the environmental benefits associated with your waste reduction and recycling actions.

For More Information
To estimate the environmental benefits from waste reduction and recycling, try the Northeast Recycling Council's Environmental Benefits Calculator.

B42. Quantify the financial and environmental benefits associated with a paper reduction program.

For More Information
For a simple environmental impact calculator that estimates the environmental benefits associated with reduced and environmentally preferable paper use, click here.

B43. Measure performance of other waste reduction and recycling measures in this section.

 

C. Environmentally Responsible Purchasing - Policy

C1. REQUIRED: Establish environmentally responsible purchasing policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies. 

For More Information
For tips and a template for a sample purchasing policy, click here

For environmentally responsible purchasing guides and useful webinars, see the Responsible Purchasing Network.

 

C. Environmentally Responsible Purchasing - Actions

C2. REQUIRED: Letterhead, envelopes, and copier/printer paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content. 

C3. Copier/printer paper with 100% post-consumer recycled content

For More Information
For FAQs on recycled paper and a simple environmental impact calculator that estimates the environmental benefits associated with the use of environmentally preferable paper, click here.

For additional guidance, strategies and educational material, click here and here 

C4. Copier/printer paper processed chlorine-free (PCF)

For More Information
The use of chlorine in the paper bleaching can generate dioxins and other harmful pollutants that can end up in waterways. To learn more about PCF, click here.  

C5. File folders, note pads, and business cards

C6. Paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper with 100% recycled content and PCF 

For More Information
For more information on the environmental benefits of recycled tissue products, and a tissue product shoppers guide, click here. 

C7. Garbage bags

C8. Boxes and bags for retail use and/or shipping 

C9. Laser printer and copier toner and ink cartridges (remanufactured)

For More Information
Remanufactured cartridges and ink jets have been emptied, cleaned, remanufactured and refilled.  According to the Responsible Purchasing Network, they cost 30% to 60% less than new cartridges and save energy, hazardous substances and natural resources.  Seek out vendors that refurbish and sell remanufactured cartridges and have toner cartridge return policies and provide prepaid shipping labels. Save the cartridge box and use for return package.

For a purchasing guide on toner cartridges, see the Responsible Purchasing Network.  

C10. Carpet, carpet padding, or flooring

For More Information
Consider carpet with recycled content and certified for indoor air quality standards. For information on greener carpets, click here.

To learn about a path-breaking environmental model involving an innovative leasing program whereby the manufacturer leases, then reclaims and reuses worn products as raw material for new ones, click here.

C11. Remodeling/construction materials such as cabinets, fixtures, ceramic and ceiling tiles, drywall, insulation, exterior sheathing, composite lumber/wood, roofing, concrete, plastic "lumber," etc.

For More Information
There are a number of regionally-based businesses that have been screened and recognized by Green America as being environmentally and socially responsible. These businesses are listed in the National Green Pages which can be accessed on line. To search for regionally-based new, surplus, and reusable construction materials, click here.

For a national database for green building suppliers, click here. 

C12. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist. 

C13. Coordinate purchasing in order to eliminate duplicative or excess purchases, and minimize deliveries. 

C14. Create a list of approved vendors based on environmental criteria and use whenever possible.

For More Information
For ideas regarding environmental language that can be incorporated into contracts, click here

There are a number of local businesses that have been screened and recognized by Green America as being environmentally and socially responsible.  These businesses are listed in the National Green Pages which can be accessed on line.  To learn more, see  www.coopamerica.org/cabn/about/whatis.cfm.

C15. Give preference to vendors who offer products that meet high environmental criteria.

For More Information
For tips and a template for a sample purchasing policy, click here.

There are a number of local businesses that have been screened and recognized by Green America as being environmentally and socially responsible. These businesses are listed in the National Green Pages which can be accessed on line. To learn more, click here. 

C16. Participate in cooperative purchasing programs with nearby businesses.

For More Information
To learn more about group purchasing, click here.

Learn more about what is referred to as “local living economies,” by visiting the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). BALLE promotes local purchasing among businesses and by consumers, cooperative business networking and relationships, community-based/independent businesses and protection of the natural environment. See, also, Local First Wheaton (an affiliate of BALLE). 

C17. Give preference to locally produced items. 

For More Information
Buying locally minimizes environmental impacts associated with transportation.  Learn more about what is referred to as “local living economies,” by visiting the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).  BALLE promotes local purchasing among businesses and by consumers, cooperative business networking and relationships, community-based/independent businesses and protection of the natural environment.  See, also, Local First Wheaton (an affiliate of BALLE). 

C18. Prohibit use of bottled water for office functions. 

C19. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

C20. Purchase products that have reusable or returnable containers or packaging. 

C21. Purchase EPEAT registered electronic products.

For More Information
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a system that evaluates electronic products based on 51 environmental criteria. To learn more, click here.

C22. Purchase paper, wood, or other products with a green third-party certification. 

For More Information
To learn more about third-party product certifiers for paper and wood products click here. For cleaning and paint products, click here. For computers and other electronics, click here.

For certification information on a broad range of items click here and here.

If you are a major purchaser of wood and paper based products, consider reviewing a detailed report by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 

C23. Utilize lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, or kenaf. 

For More Information
To learn more about tree-free paper click here. 

C24. Stock bathroom with biodegradable soap without antibacterial agents. 

For More Information
While antibacterial soap may sound innocuous, studies suggest that not all bacteria is killed and those that survive develop a tolerance.

For a detailed study of this subject, see the publication by the Centers for Disease Control. 

C25. Purchase or obtain previously used furniture, supplies, or construction materials.

For More Information
For information on reuse opportunities, visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Use It Again database or check for reuse organizations in the Business Recycling Regulation Handbook.

For a directory specifically focused on the reuse and recycling of construction and demolition materials in the Washington, D.C., area, click here. 

C26. Replace aerosols with pump dispensers.

For More Information
Carbon dioxide, propane and butane are commonly used aerosol propellants that are also greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and smog formation. An additional benefit to using pump dispensers is that they can be re-filled to reduce waste. 

C27. Use low or no VOC products such as paint, paint removal products, cleaning products, etc.

For More Information
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released from readily vaporizable products such as paints, paint removers, solvents, aerosol spray can propellants, and burning fuel. In addition to forming smog, VOCs can cause serious health impacts such as cancer and respiratory diseases, and harm wildlife.

For a quick primer and list of issues, click here.

See EPA website for more information on VOCs and Green Seal for a list of low VOC products. 

C28. When ordering catered food, utilize "green" caterers that provide reusable kitchenware, use locally grown and/or organic food, select sustainably harvested food, etc.

For More Information
For information on the Green Seal Environmental Standard for Restaurants and Food Services, click here

For restaurants certified by the Green Restaurant Association, click here. 

See, also, the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector to make sustainable and healthful seafood choices. 

C29. If tea and coffee are provided, make sure they are Fair Trade certified and have low environmental impact (e.g., organic, shade grown, etc.)

For More Information
Fair Trade is a way of doing business that builds equitable, long-term partnerships between consumers in North America and producers in developing regions. Among other things, it includes paying fair wages and committing to environmental sustainability. For more information, click here. 

C30. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist. 

C. Environmentally Responsible Purchasing - Performance

C31. Measure the waste and cost reduction resulting from the use of remanufactured ink cartridges. 

For More Information
To measure both your financial savings and waste prevented, use New York City's calculator.

C32. Quantify the environmental benefits associated with better paper purchasing choices

For More Information
To calculate the benefits associated with the use of environmentally preferable paper, click here.

C33. Calculate the environmental benefits associated with the purchase of EPEAT appliances.

For More Information
To calculate the financial and environmental benefits from purchasing EPEAT registered computers, click here.

C34. Calculate the savings and environmental impacts realized through the elimination of bottled water.

For More Information
To see the Responsible Purchasing Network's bottled water calculator and the Guide to Bottled Water Alternatives, click here.

C35. Measure performance of other environmentally responsible purchasing actions in this section.

  

D. Pollution Prevention - Policy

D1. REQUIRED: Establish pollution prevention policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies.

For More Information
For extensive pollution prevention information and resources, click here.

D. Pollution Prevention - Actions

D2. REQUIRED: Store all chemical, petroleum and other harmful products inside or under cover in their original containers or properly labeled secondary containers with tight fitting lids. 

D3. REQUIRED: Store all chemical, petroleum and other harmful products in secure, controlled areas, away from ignition sources, food storage areas, and sewer and storm drains. 

D4. REQUIRED: Sign up for e-mail notifications from Clean Air Partners regarding air quality and provide information to employees about actions they can take to reduce air pollution.

For More Information
Sign up for the free e-mail notifications and access other educational materials by going to the Clean Air Partners website. 

D5. REQUIRED: If you generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste, utilize the County's Ecowise program to manage it. 

For More Information
Businesses meeting the definition of a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) may participate in Montgomery County’s ECOWISE Program. To find out what constitutes hazardous waste, to see if you qualify as an SQG, and for information on how to manage small amounts of hazardous waste, click here. 

D6. REQUIRED: Ensure proper collection, recycling, and disposal of automotive fluids when performing maintenance on company vehicles. 

For More Information
Motor oil is a major contributor to water pollution. Anti-freeze lowers oxygen levels in water and kills aquatic life. For more information and tips on proper disposal, as well as an oil recycler directory, click here or review the information on the Montgomery County DEP website on pollution prevention.  

D7. Place trash and recycling receptacles at exterior locations such as building entrances/exits, parking lots and other appropriate places, and ensure they are emptied regularly.

D8. Provide or participate in e-cycling events for the collection of electronic waste from the business and/or employees' homes.

For More Information
Recycling electronics helps reduce the amount of toxics entering the waste stream, as well as toxics that would be generated while manufacturing a new product. It also reduces the energy used in new product manufacturing.

Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for various materials. For additional organizations, click here and here.

For more information on e-cycling, see the EPA’s website.  

D9. On Code Orange, Red, or Purple days, prohibit lawn mowing/maintenance and painting, and delay vehicle and equipment fueling and maintenance until late afternoon or until air quality improves.

For More Information
Nitrogen oxides (NOx) from vehicles and other sources, and volatile organic compounds from gasoline and other chemicals, react with heat and sunlight, producing ground level ozone, commonly known as smog. For more information, click here.  

D10. Encourage staff to telecommute or use public transit on Code Orange, Red and Purple Days. 

D11. Arrange for a free pollution prevention site visit and opportunity assessment through the Maryland Department of Environment. 

Financial Incentives!
Learn more about this free service at MDE’s website.  

D12. Store deliveries and supplies inside and/or under cover. 

For More Information
Covered storage will minimize pollutants, trash and hazardous material which, during rainstorms, flow into storm drains and local streams.

To learn more about stormwater management to protect water quality, and download outreach material, click here.  

D13. Restrict use of hazardous products by buying them in small quantities and limiting access to authorized staff. 

For More Information
For information on how to manage small amounts of hazardous waste, click here.  

D14. When replacing standard fluorescent bulbs, use low mercury fluorescent bulbs. 

For More Information
For more information on low-mercury bulbs, click here.  

D15. Use rechargeable batteries in battery operated appliances, flashlights, etc. 

D16. Replace toxic permanent ink markers/pens, correction fluid, etc. with non-toxic (e.g. water-based) alternatives.

D17. Print promotional materials with vegetable or other low-VOC inks. 

For More Information
Traditional printing practices produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released from readily vaporizable products such as paints, paint removers, and solvents. In addition to forming smog, VOCs can cause serious health impacts such as cancer and respiratory diseases, and harm wildlife. However, there are some printers using cleaner and more efficient technologies and processes. For a short article on environmentally preferable printing, click here.

Note that small digital printing jobs that are toner based could have a lower environmental impact than larger offset printing jobs using low-VOC ink.  

D18. Use natural or low emission building/furniture materials and carpets. 

For More Information
For third party certified low-VOC emitting furniture and building material click here and for information on third party certified “Green Label” carpets see the Carpet and Rug Institute.  

D19. Replace harmful cleaning products and practices with safer alternatives, and inform cleaning staff or contractor.

For More Information
Safer alternatives include Green Seal and the EPA’s Design for the Environment certified products.

For a listing of green seal certified cleaning services that use products and equipment that have less impact on the environment, and have adopted procedures that help protect the health of workers and building occupants, click here.  

D20. Use one or a few multipurpose cleaners, rather than many special-purpose cleaners. 

D21. For de-icing sidewalks and parking lots, use less harmful alternatives to salt.

For More Information
Salt used for de-icing gets into groundwater and harms plants and wildlife. For alternatives, click here.  

D22. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

D. Pollution Prevention - Performance

D23. Track volume of e-waste collected for recycling/reuse. 

D24. Measure performance of other pollution prevention actions in this section.

 

E. Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy - Policy

E1. REQUIRED: Establish energy management policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies. 

For More Information
Many general resources are available to help improve the energy efficiency of your business.  The ENERGY STAR for Small Business website has extensive resources.

For information on energy efficient products, click here.

 

E. Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy - Actions

E2. Use ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment and ensure energy saving features are enabled and, where applicable, use network controls to regulate power use.

For More Information
Use of ENERGY STAR rated office equipment is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce energy consumption.

Visit the ENERGY STAR Products Homepage to learn more about available equipment and products. This webpage includes advice on products, savings calculators, and lists of qualified products to help you choose the right equipment for your business.

Visit the ENERGY STAR Procurement Page to learn about options for procuring ENERGY STAR equipment including sample policies and contract language. 

E3. Prohibit personal refrigerators by providing high-efficiency (e.g. ENERGY STAR) refrigerators in common areas.

For More Information
Refrigerators consume large amounts of energy, and increase air conditioning costs due to heat rejection from the coils. As personal refrigerators “multiply” through the office this effect gets progressively worse.

When replacing a refrigerator select only ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators. For information on ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerators and to estimate the energy savings of replacing your old ones, click here.  

E4. Replace refrigerator purchased before 2000 with new ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerator. 

For More Information
ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator models use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001. For a resource listing ENERGY STAR refrigerators with calculators that estimate energy savings, click here.

Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for scrap metal such as refrigerators or click here for additional organizations.

E5. Set refrigerator temperatures between 35 and 38 degrees F and freezer temperatures between 0 and 5 degrees F. 

E6. Prohibit energy-intensive water coolers by using tap water (provide a faucet mounted filter if desired) or cold water from the refrigerator (from containers or an in-door dispenser). 

For More Information
To learn about bottled water alternatives, go to the Responsible Purchasing Network’s bottled water guide.

E7. If you use water coolers or cold vending machines, use models with sensors that adjust operation consistent with their use and place machines away from direct sunlight. 

For More Information
Studies indicate that sensors and controls can reduce energy costs from vending machines by 24 to 76% (www.aceee.org/ogeece/ch5_vendors.htm).

For existing water coolers and cold product vending machines, use a control or “miser” product that controls temperature based on use, traffic, and other functions.

For new vending machines select ENERGY STAR qualified machines.

For vending services contracts, specify vending miser or ENERGY STAR qualified machines.  

E8. After brewing coffee or tea, turn off appliance. Rewarm liquid by using a microwave or keep warm by using a thermos or pump pot. 

E9. Lower hot water heater thermostats to achieve 120 degrees F at all faucets. 

E10. Install power strips to allow employees to easily control "phantom" power loads from equipment.

For More Information
Computers and other appliances use electricity when they are plugged in, even when they’re turned off. This is known as a “phantom” load. For example, a computer or television is in “stand-by” mode until it is turned on. Provide “one switch” convenience for employees by providing power strips and educating employees on their use.  

E11. Replace cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors with liquid crystal displays (flat panel monitors).

For More Information
To learn about ENERGY STAR qualified liquid crystal displays, click here.  

E12. Put up signs at elevators to encourage the use of stairs. 

For More Information
For factoids related to the environmental and health benefits associated with taking the stairs instead of the elevator, check out New York City’s campaign and signs. Click here.  

E13. Develop contract language for cleaning service requiring lights to be turned off after areas are cleaned and/or schedule daytime cleaning. 

E14. Where available, participate in commercial "demand response" programs offered by utilities or "demand response service providers." 

For More Information
Demand response programs offer incentives to businesses that voluntarily curtail electricity usage during times of peak demand. Currently, the utilities serving the County are seeking approval from the Maryland Public Service Commission to launch demand response programs. Check with your utilities for updates and progress on the approval process. In addition, several companies serve as independent “demand response service providers,” serving as intermediaries between the customer and utility company to provide demand capacity. For more information on demand response, click here.  

E15. Tighten the building envelope to seal air gaps around doors and windows.

For More Information
Uncontrolled exchange of conditioned air between the inside and outside of your building envelope can waste significant amounts of energy. Eliminating this infiltration by sealing air gaps around doors and windows can help save you money while keeping building occupants comfortable.

Visit the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program’s Website for more information on the commercial building envelope.

E16. Insulate all accessible hot water pipes. 

E17. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

E18. REQUIRED: Turn off all lighting and electronic devices when not in use. Use signage at light switches reminding staff to turn off lights. 

E19. REQUIRED: Replace all T12 fluorescent lamps with energy efficient T8 or T5 lamps with electronic ballasts, or lighting with equivalent performance.

For More Information
Visit Chapter 6 of the ENERGY STAR Building Manual.

See Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive list of energy saving lighting options.

Visit the New Building Institute to download information on the Advanced Lighting Guidelines for new and existing buildings.  

Financial Incentives!
Click here to learn about tax deductions for lighting and other energy efficiency projects or by contacting your utility company. Some incentive programs are already in place while others are being considered fro approval by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

E20. REQUIRED: Replace any incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFLs) or other high efficiency lamps where appropriate. 

For More Information
CFLs are a cost-effective alternative to energy intensive incandescent lighting. CFLs can provide high-quality ambient lighting and use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. They can also reduce air-conditioning costs because they do not emit heat. Because CFLs last 8-10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they save you money over their lifetime.

To use this online guide to find the right CFL for your light fixture, click here.

What about Mercury? Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and should be recycled or disposed of in the same manner as other fluorescent lighting waste from your business. To learn more about mercury in CFLs, click here.

Visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ Business Recycling Regulation Handbook for a listing of companies providing recycling collection service for CFLs and other fluorescent lamps or click here for additional organizations.

Businesses meeting the definition of a Small Quantity Generator (SQG) may participate in Montgomery County’s ECOWISE Program, which includes the disposal of fluorescent lamps. For more information, click here. 

E21. REQUIRED: Use LED, electroluminescent, or photoluminescent exit signs.

For More Information
Illuminated exit signs are an important and legally required safety feature of most buildings. Replace all incandescent and fluorescent exit signs, which are typically illuminated 24 hours per day, with energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED), photoluminescent or electroluminescent signs. These signs will last 10+ years, and reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs. LED and other energy efficient exit signs are now “standard” for new installations. To learn more about their benefits, click here. 

E22. Arrange workspace to take advantage of areas with natural light, or provide task lighting. 

E23. Where appropriate, install energy saving lower wattage fluorescent lamp replacements for 32 watt T8 lamps.

For More Information
Office spaces tend to be over lit, so it is possible to lower energy consumption through a modest reduction in the quantity of light by installing low-wattage lamp replacements in fixtures that have already been retrofitted with T8 fluorescent lamps. The type of replacement you specify depends on your existing equipment, so talk to your lighting supplier or professional about appropriate options. 

E24. Use and regularly maintain lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, bypass/delay timers, photocells, or time clocks, especially in low occupancy areas such as closets and restrooms. 

For More Information
Visit Chapter 6 of the ENERGY STAR Building Manual for more information.

See also the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive list of energy-saving lighting options, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Guide to Lighting Controls, and the New Building Institute to download information including the Advanced Lighting Guidelines for new and existing buildings.

E25. Use daylight dimming systems in spaces near windows or skylights to maximize daylight harvesting.

For More Information
Visit Chapter 6 of the ENERGY STAR Building Manual for more information.

See also the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive list of energy-saving lighting options, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) Guide to Lighting Controls, and the New Building Institute to download information including the Advanced Lighting Guidelines for new and existing buildings.

E26. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

E27. REQUIRED: Complete regularly scheduled maintenance on your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) and refrigeration systems at least once a year or per manufacturer's specifications.

For More Information
Maintenance is essential to ensuring the longevity and energy efficiency of your HVAC systems. Regular maintenance for commercial HVAC systems can include but is not limited to coil cleaning, refrigerant top-off, lubrication, belt tensioning, combustion efficiency tests and other simple efforts that can help ensure that HVAC equipment has a long life and performs as efficiently as possible.

Talk to your HVAC supplier or maintenance company about maintaining and tuning up your equipment.

Consider a Maintenance and Service Contract that includes annual tune-ups. For detailed information on operations and maintenance contracts visit the PECI O&M Best Practices Operation and Maintenance Service Contracts Guide.

See the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive set of recommendations for HVAC maintenance options. 

E28. Use programmable thermostats to automatically regulate thermostat settings and set-backs.

For More Information
For quick tips on thermostat settings, click here

E29. Set thermostat between 66 and 70 degrees F in winter (and lower when building is unoccupied) and between 74 and 78 degrees F in summer (and higher when building is unoccupied). 

For More Information
During summer months, adjusting your thermostat setting up one degree typically can save 2-3% on cooling costs. Consider installing locking devices on thermostats to maintain desired temperature settings.

E30. Install and use ceiling fans for air circulation. 

E31. Use natural ventilation instead of air conditioning. Where possible, open windows at opposite ends of space (and turn off cooling system) to facilitate cross breezes. 

E32. Prohibit personal space heaters. 

E33. Install variable frequency drives (VFDs) on pumps and motors.

For More Information
Talk to your HVAC contractor to see if opportunities exist in your facility. See the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive list of energy efficient heating and cooling options. 

E34. Use economizers on air conditioning systems to increase air circulation.

For More Information
Talk to your HVAC contractor to see if opportunities exist in your facility. See the Department of Energy’s Building Technology Program for a comprehensive list of energy efficient heating and cooling options.

E35. Use controls that regulate ventilation based on occupancy. 

For More Information
Controls that regulate ventilation based on occupancy save energy by reducing the amount of air exchange necessary. These sophisticated systems typically use sensors that regulate the rate of air exchange in a building based on CO2 levels or other data, ensuring that comfortable and adequate ventilation is available when needed during periods of high occupancy. Talk to your HVAC provider or service company regarding opportunities for demand ventilation in your business. 

E36. Select ENERGY STAR qualified units when replacing or installing light (under 200,000 BTU/hour) commercial packaged HVAC equipment.

For More Information
Visit ENERGY STAR’s product webpage for information on qualified small commercial units and lists of products.  

E37. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

E38. Purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs).

For More Information
To learn about Renewable Energy Credits, click here

E39. Purchase clean, renewable energy through a competitive supplier.  

For More Information
Learn about local clean energy suppliers here.
 

E40. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

E. Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy - Performance

E41. Track monthly energy use. 

For More Information
Tracking your monthly energy usage and costs is an essential part of maintaining a sound financial bottom line and evaluating environmental performance. The resources, tools, and tips below will help you track energy costs in your business.

At a minimum, use a simple spreadsheet to track utility costs and consumption for all major fuels including electricity, natural gas, propane and fuel oil.

Contact your energy suppliers to see if they have any tools to help you track your energy consumption and costs. For example, for larger accounts PEPCO offers CEO Online, which enables you to download information on energy consumption. Utilities may have services for smaller commercial account holders as well.

Property owners and managers can use tools such as ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager to rate building energy performance, track costs, identify trends, and outline financial priorities.

E42. Develop a carbon reduction plan. 

For More Information
Carbon reduction plans do not have to be a massive undertaking and can be “sized” to meet the needs of all organizations. Importantly, they should be living documents subject to change over time to accommodate advances in technological and organizational thinking. To learn more about energy management plans and climate policies visit the EPA’s Guidelines for Energy Management Overview.

For ideas on how to build your energy team, see Teaming up to Save Energy.

E43. Estimate the energy and financial savings from converting to more efficient fluorescent lamps or other efficient lighting fixtures. 

E44. Obtain a "walk through" energy audit that identifies basic and low-cost energy saving opportunities.

For More Information
For information on energy audits, click here.

E45. Conduct retro-commissioning or obtain an "investment grade" audit that focuses on capital intensive opportunities and provides a high degree of engineering and data analysis.

For More Information
For information on retro-commissioning, click here.

Financial Incentives!
Check with your utility company about incentives for energy audits and retro-commissioning.  The three utilities that currently serve Montgomery County are BGE, Pepco, and Allegheny Power.

E46. Complete a CO2 or eco-footprint calculator to determine your organization's greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. 

For More Information
For offices interested in creating a greenhouse gas inventory for reporting purposes, use the tools from EPA’s Climate Leaders program and get recognized nationally for your commitment to GHG reduction.  (Note that inventorying and reporting your GHG reductions is particularly important if you are a Federal contractor, see Executive Order 13514, particularly Section #13, and the General Services Administration’s Recommendations for Vendor and Contractor Emissions.)  For a tool designed to assist you in making decisions on how to reduce the GHG emissions associated with your activities, see the EPA's Office Carbon Footprint Tool.

E47. Measure performance of other energy efficiency and renewable energy actions in this section.

 

F. Stormwater Management - Policy

F1. REQUIRED: Establish stormwater management and water conservation policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies. 

For More Information
For extensive and up-to-date information on water quality issues see EPA’s website.

For information on efficient water use practices and products, see the EPA Watersense site.

F. Stormwater Management - Actions

F2. REQUIRED: Use a broom when cleaning outdoor areas. Alternatively, use equipment that collects dirty water (and dispose water through the sanitary sewer system and not through storm drains). 

For More Information
It is critical to understand the difference between the sanitary sewer system and storm drains to prevent environmental damage. The sanitary sewer system is comprised of underground pipes that carry wastewater from bathrooms, sinks, etc. to wastewater treatment plants in the region.

Storm drains carry rainfall runoff and other surface drainage but not wastewater. The runoff is carried in closed systems (pipes) or open systems (concrete or vegetated swales) and is discharged untreated into streams or other water ways. The inlets to this system may be found in curbs and low-lying outdoor areas. Some older buildings have floor drains or wash sinks that connect to the storm drain system, which is illegal under modern plumbing codes.

Washing sidewalks, parking lots, or other outdoor areas with a hose is considered an uncontrolled discharge and violates the County's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and is subject to the County's water quality discharge law. 

F3. REQUIRED: Keep trash cans, dumpsters, and recycling containers covered and ensure tight fitting lids. 

F4. REQUIRED: Keep a spill kit handy to catch/collect spills from leaking company or employee vehicles, or for any accidental liquid material spills. 

For More Information
All commercial vehicles larger than a standard passenger van must carry spill containment and cleanup materials, and employers are responsible for training all drivers in spill containment and cleanup methods. For businesses that have six or more passenger cars, there should be one spill kit at the office (primarily for oil leaks identified in the parking lot). If your business has less than six cars, a spill kit is not required although still desirable.

Information on spill prevention, preparedness and cleanup can be found on the Department of Environmental Protection website and EPA.  

F5. REQUIRED: Do not wash cars, equipment, or other items outside where run-off water flows straight to the storm drain; direct wash water to landscaped areas or a sanitary sewer. 

F6. Set up an annual program to educate staff and relevant contractors about the benefits of reducing runoff from your site.

For More Information
For an overview on stormwater run-off with links to educational material outlining the benefits of stormwater management, click here. 

F7. Keep company vehicles well maintained to prevent leaks and minimize emissions.

For More Information
Review the information on the Montgomery County DEP website on pollution prevention.

To go above and beyond, see Green Seal Fleet Maintenance certification. 

F8. Establish "ground staining" inspection routine in parking lots for oil and chemical leaks from vehicles (and encourage employees to do the same). 

For More Information
Encourage employees to look for and report any oil, chemical or other visible spotting or stains on pavement.  

F9. Keep receiving/loading docks, dumpsters, and parking areas free of litter, debris, oil, chemicals, and other contaminants. 

F10. Post signs at key areas (e.g., loading docks, dumpster areas, outside spigots) describing proper practices to prevent pollutants from reaching storm drains.

For More Information
For ideas and outreach materials that can be customized, click here.

F11. Provide an outdoor ashtray or cigarette butt can for smokers. 

F12. Adopt a road near your business and sponsor a litter cleaning program with employees to routinely clean the roadside.

For More Information
Trash is a significant problem in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and its major tributaries. When it rains, trash flows from our streets into storm drains directly into local streams.  Trash sometimes contains leaking toxic chemicals, which adversely impacts aquatic life through ingestion and entanglement, and is visually unappealing.  

For information on Montgomery County’s Adopt a Road program click here. 

F13. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

F14. REQUIRED: Regularly check for and repair all water leaks in your facility.

For More Information
Consult the EPA WaterSense page for their Fix a Leak guidance.

F15. Post signs in restrooms and kitchen to encourage water conservation and reporting of leaks. 

F16. Use dishwasher only when full and post signage to remind employees. 

F17. Replace toilets which use three or more gallons per flush with toilets using 1.6 gallons per flush or less, or dual flush toilets.

For More Information
For information on and a listing of EPA’s WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets click here. 

F18. Install toilet retrofit kits that reduce water usage. 

F19. Replace urinals with efficient 1.0 gallons or less per flush or waterless models.

For More Information
For information on and a listing of EPA’s WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets click here. 

F20. Use water efficient showerheads and faucets.

For More Information
For background information on both efficient showerheads and faucets, click here.

For information on and a listing of EPA’s WaterSense labeled high efficiency faucets click here.

For more information on and a listing of EPA’s WaterSense labeled high efficiency showerheads, click here. 

F21. Adjust boiler and cooling tower blowdown rate to maintain total dissolved solids at levels recommended by manufacturer's specifications. 

For More Information
For information on cooling tower management, click here and for boiler/steam systems click here. 

F22. Replace single-pass, water-cooled equipment such as air conditioning units, with air-cooled equipment.

For More Information
For information on retrofit options, click here  

F23. Use positive shut off nozzles on all hoses. 

F24. Include moisture retentive additives in ornamental planters to reduce watering requirements. 

For More Information
For information on the use of hydrogels (i.e. water absorbing polymers) in planters click here.

F25. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

F. Stormwater Management - Performance

F26. Track water use.

For More Information
For tips on detecting water leaks, click here.  For assistance in reading or testing your water meter, contact the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission at: (301) 206 - 4001.

F27. Estimate the volume of stormwater managed through best practices (e.g., permeable pavers, rain gardens, cisterns, conservation landscaping, etc.). 

For More Information
Use the Center for Neighborhood Technology's Green Values Calculator (click on the "Green Improvements" tab) to compare the performance, costs, and benefits of green infrastructure to conventional stormwater practices.  

F28. Measure performance of other stormwater management and/or water conservation actions in this section.

 

G. Transportation & Travel - Policy

G1. REQUIRED: Establish transportation and travel policies. Use the actions in this section to guide the development of these policies.

 

G. Transportation & Travel - Actions

G2. REQUIRED: Regularly distribute, and provide a display for, information on transit, car/van pooling, and other commute alternatives.

Financial Incentives!
Contact Montgomery County Commuter Services (CCS) to find Better Ways to Work! Call 240-773-BWTW (2989) or e-mail mcdot.CommuterServices@montgomerycountymd.gov to get started. Tell CCS where your business is located and their marketing specialists will arrange to visit your office – free of charge – to help you set up a commuting benefits program that is tailored to your company’s needs. Ask for free maps, brochures, and tips to streamline the commute between home and work. It's that easy! For more information, click here. 

G3. REQUIRED: Promote the County's Guaranteed Ride Home and Regional Ride-Sharing programs.

Financial Incentives!
The Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program provides commuters who regularly (at least twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a FREE and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise.

The Regional Ride-Sharing Program provides car/van pool matching and transit assistance. To register and learn more about car/van pooling or GRH, click here. 

G4. Appoint a transportation benefits coordinator to interact with Montgomery County Commuter Services and periodically distribute information about commuting alternatives and transit services.

For More Information
Your coordinator can serve as an important conduit for transportation information of interest to your business and employees. Commuter Services will supply updates to transit schedules and other information approximately three times per year, and – if you opt to receive them – will e-mail key updates on other transportation issues periodically.  

G5. Provide incentive for employees to live near where they work by participating in the State of Maryland’s Smart Keys 4 Employees program. 

Financial Incentives!
Smart Keys 4 Employees is a new Smart Growth enhancement to Maryland’s House Keys 4 Employees Program that provides eligible homebuyers receiving downpayment and closing cost assistance from their employer with matching funds of up to $10,000 from State’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The home must be within 10 miles of the borrower’s place of employment or within the boundaries of the County and be located in a Priority Funding Area. For more information go to the Maryland Mortgage Program website.

G6. Offer employer-paid transit benefits and receive a 50% tax credit through the Maryland Commuter Tax Credit program 

Financial Incentives!
Any level or combination of expenses related to commuter benefits including transit, vanpool programs, Guaranteed Ride Home, even cash in lieu of parking subsidies can be used, and employers can take this credit against the State Income Tax, the Financial Institution Tax, or the Insurance premium Tax. It’s your choice. For more information and to enroll in the program, click here.  

G7. Enable your employees to set aside up to $230 a month of their pre-tax salary for transit and vanpooling. 

Financial Incentives!
Employers can participate in a commuter benefits program through Smart Benefits, allowing employees to use pretax dollars to pay for their commutes. Now employees can deduct up to $230 per month for transit commuting and up to $230 per month for commuter parking.

Your business can also save money – by providing these benefits you can reduce your payroll taxes and save hundreds of dollars a year for each employee who takes advantage of the program. Additionally, by improving overall benefits packages, you can enhance staff retention.

To learn more, click here and scroll down to Tax Advantages for example benefit calculations. You can also find information on the Commuter Services website and access the Internal Revenue Service’s Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits. 

G8. When recruiting and training personnel, highlight company benefits that encourage non-single occupancy vehicle travel. 

G9. Schedule Commuter Information Days and offer special incentives to employees who take positive actions toward adopting non-single occupancy vehicle travel. 

G10. Obtain at least a 25 percent employee registration rate in the Regional Ride-Sharing program. 

Financial Incentives!
The Ride-Sharing program provides pool matching and transit assistance. To register and learn more, click here. 

G11. Obtain 50 percent or greater employee registration rate in the Regional Ride-Sharing program. 

Financial Incentives!
The Ride-Sharing program provides pool matching and transit assistance. To register and learn more, click here.

(If you achieve this level, make sure you also check item #10!) 

G12. Obtain at least a 25 percent employee registration rate in the Guaranteed Ride Home program.

Financial Incentives!
The Guaranteed Ride Home program provides commuters who regularly (twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a FREE and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. To register and learn more, click here. 

G13. Obtain 50 percent or greater employee registration rate in the Guaranteed Ride Home program.

Financial Incentives!
The Guaranteed Ride Home program provides commuters who regularly (twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a FREE and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. To register and learn more, click here.

(If you achieve this level, make sure you also check item #12!) 

G14. Offer telecommuting opportunities and/or flexible schedules, job sharing, and compressed work weeks. 

For More Information
To learn about telecommuting resources and case studies, click here. 

G15. Offer on-site lockers and showers, or make arrangements for the use of nearby facilities, to encourage walking, jogging, or bicycling to work.

G16. Provide bicycle racks.

For More Information
For bike routes and tips on bike commuting, see the Washington Area Bicyclist Association website. 

Financial Incentives!
The County provides, on a limited basis, standard bicycle racks for use at worksites. Click here for the Department of Transportation website and access the Bike Rack Request Form.

G17. Offer secure bicycle storage for staff and customers.

For More Information
For information on secure racks, shells and lockers, click here.

For bike routes and tips on bike commuting, see the Washington Area Bicyclist Association website. 

G18. Provide incentives for alternative mode commuting that are greater than for solo driving. 

G19. Offer incentives such as rebates on bicycles bought for commuting, bicycle accessories and maintenance, walking shoes, etc.

Financial Incentives!
Beginning in 2009, the Internal Revenue Service includes “qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement” under its qualified transportation fringe benefits. “Qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement” means any employer reimbursement of up to $20 per month for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage if the bicycle is regularly used for travel between the employee's residence and place of employment. The $20 amount is not indexed for inflation as are the other qualified transportation fringe benefits.

For more information see the 2009 Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits, page 19.

G20. Set up car and van pools and take advantage of discounted parking rates in County parking garages. Offer employees incentives for car or van pooling.

For More Information
One simple step is to set aside car/van pool parking spaces in highly convenient locations. 

Financial Incentives!
Discounted parking rates for car and van poolers are available in Silver Spring and Bethesda Montgomery County Parking facilities. For more information and to apply for the permit, click here.

For assistance in setting up a car or van pool, call 240-773-TRIPS (8747). To learn about vanpool providers and leasing options click here. 

G21. Offer a shuttle service to and from bus, train, and/or Metrorail stops. 

G22. Provide an employer-owned van for employee vanpooling. 

G23. Organize "pool parties" to enable employees to meet other prospective carpoolers and vanpoolers at their work site. 

Financial Incentives!
Montgomery County participates in a Regional Ride-Sharing program to help commuters find other individuals who share similar commute routes and work hours. For more information on and registration for regional ridesharing click here.  

G24. Obtain 80 percent or greater participation in the County's Annual Commuter Survey, and meet with the County to plan ways to increase non-single vehicle occupancy commuting. 

For More Information
The County conducts a commuter survey each year to determine the percentage of employees at work sites who are commuting using various modes of travel, including driving alone, car/van pooling, transit, walking, biking or teleworking. This data helps the County determine the success of its commuter programs and efforts to reduce congestion. By participating in the Annual Commuter Survey and maximizing the response rate among your employees, you are helping provide information to improve transportation programs throughout the County. Contact Commuter Services at 240-773-8747 for survey information.  

G25. Pay employees for a portion of their commuting time on transit if they document their work during that period of time.

For More Information
Such a policy will encourage employees to use transit even if it lengthens their commute time.  

G26. Establish no-idling procedures that require fleet and personal vehicles to be turned off when loading and unloading.

Financial Incentives!
For a sample no-idling policy, tips, and an idling calculator that estimates savings, click here.  

G27. Reduce vehicle miles traveled by patronizing local businesses.

For More Information
Learn more about what is referred to as "local living economies" by visiting the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). BALLE promotes local purchasing among businesses and by consumers, cooperative business networking and relationships, community-based/independent businesses, and protection of the natural environment. See also, Local First Wheaton (an affiliate of BALLE).

G28. Coordinate delivery routes to minimize/eliminate unnecessary trips. 

G29. Establish a procedure that includes regular tire pressure checks on company vehicles.

For More Information
Maximize your fuel efficiency by keeping your tires properly inflated. To learn more, click here.  

G30. Provide access to a tire air compressor on the premises for company and employee vehicles. 

G31. Convert company vehicles to low emission vehicles (electric, hybrid, natural gas or alternative fuels from waste oils).

For More Information
For advice on how to green your fleet, click one of the following:
Environmental Defense Fund – Innovation Exchange
Responsible Purchasing Network
Environmental Protection Agency
Greener Cars

G32. Replace company fleet vehicles with car sharing membership program. 

For More Information
Car rental and car sharing companies can tailor programs to accommodate the specific needs of companies, including parking cars on company premises. 

G33. Provide car sharing membership to all employees as a benefit for their use outside of work to encourage reduced private vehicle ownership. 

For More Information
Provide car sharing memberships to employees with benefits that extend outside of work to reduce private vehicle ownership.  

G34. While on business travel, encourage employees to take the train, bus, or subway when feasible instead of a rental car. If a rental car is necessary, use fuel efficient vehicles. 

G35. Utilize videoconferencing and other technological solutions that reduce employee travel. 

G36. Patronize hotels that are certified by an environmentally preferable hotel program. 

For More Information
For a list of environmentally preferable hotels, see Green Seal.

To proactively survey hotels to assess their environmental commitment, see checklist available at CERES.  

G37. Discourage flying when other options such as rail travel or videoconferencing are readily available. 

G38. Offset company's vehicle travel CO2 emissions through certified/verified carbon offsets. 

For More Information
For more information on offsets and for a list of retailers and projects screened by the Environmental Defense Fund, click here.  

G39. Offset company's air travel CO2 emissions through certified/verified carbon offsets.

For More Information
For more information on offsets and for a list of retailers and projects screened by the Environmental Defense Fund, click here.  

G40. Other

In this space, you are encouraged to include innovative actions not listed in the checklist.

 

G. Transportation & Travel - Performance

G41. Complete a Traffic Mitigation Plan and annually report your progress. (NOTE: This is a legal REQUIREMENT for certain businesses.)

For More Information
If you are required to do this, chances are you know this already! The County's Transportation Demand Management (TDM) law applies to employers with 25 or more employees in downtown Bethesda, North Bethesda, downtown Silver Spring, and Friendship Heights. To learn more about TMDs, click here. If you are not sure whether you meet the criteria, please contact the County’s Commuter Services office.

Requirements for completing the Traffic Mitigation Plan (TMP) include the following:

Provide a permanent and attractive display for transit and commuting information.
Promote the regional Guaranteed Ride Home program.
Obtain 80% participation from your employees in the County’s annual commuter survey.
Designate a contact person to receive and distribute information.
Distribute and regularly post information on transit/pooling/other commute alternatives furnished by TMD)
Facilitate TMD staff presentations to employees and HR/Administrative staff on commute information/alternatives on periodic basis.
Provide ADA information.
Compile information on yearly TMP activities and submit Annual Report.

NOTE: Businesses required to complete these eight actions will not receive additional credit for the identical actions included in the checklist – those actions are intended for businesses not subject to the TDM law.

To fill out your Traffic Mitigation Plan and submit your annual report, click here.

For those companies that implement high impact transportation policies and benefits, consider seeking local and national recognition. To learn more, click here. 

G42. Determine greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from reduced car and airplane travel. 

For More Information
There are a number of calculators available for free. Check out The Green Office or the EPA.

Become a Climate Leader and earn recognition by the EPA by setting a greenhouse gas reduction goal and working with EPA to measure your progress. For more information, click here. 

G43. Estimate the financial savings from no-idling measures and/or technology enhancements to your vehicle fleet.

For More Information
Calculate savings from idling reduction measures and technology retrofits bu using the EPA's SmartWay Technology Package Savings Calculator for Fleets.

G44. Measure performance of other transportation and travel actions in this section.