Solar fields, electric vehicle charging stations, a farmers market and conservation district designation helped the town of Emmitsburg and city of Brunswick achieve statewide recognition for sustainability.
Emmitsburg and Brunswick were two of 12 Maryland municipalities honored at the Sustainable Maryland Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Municipal League’s fall conference on Oct. 12, according to a Sustainable Maryland news release.
Sustainable Maryland describes itself as “an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland that is designed to support Maryland’s 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities.”
Twenty-six percent of the state’s municipalities are Sustainable Maryland Certified, the release reads.
“We’re very excited about it. We appreciate all the volunteers that came together,” Brunswick Mayor Nathan Brown told the News-Post. “We think that it really sends strong messaging to the community that Brunswick wants to be sustainable and we care about the environment.”
Brown highlighted the city’s conservation district designation, which set out to protect historical resources. The Conservation District Ordinance encourages renovation over demolition of historic buildings and the reuse of materials, according to Brown.
Among the city’s other sustainability efforts were the creation of a farmers market, community garden and electric vehicle charging stations, according to a 16-page report.
To receive Sustainable Maryland certification, a municipality must form a Green Team of local residents, community leaders, municipal staff and officials. A municipality must also take a variety of sustainability-related actions, which are given a point value, according to the release. Those with at least 150 points (and the proper documentation as evidence) can achieve certification.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Sustainable Maryland program and Emmitsburg’s second time being re-certified. Brunswick was first certified in 2015, according to the release. Other Sustainable Maryland certified municipalities include Frederick, Thurmont and Burkittsville.
“Earning the Sustainable Maryland recertification is a very special honor,” Emmitsburg Mayor Donald Briggs said in the release. “The accomplishment recognizes the many hours of collaborative hard work and dedication by the Emmitsburg town staff, Green Team, and the community. We will pass on to both the many new families moving here, and future generations, that Emmitsburg, nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, will always be special.”
Emmitsburg’s sustainability efforts include two solar fields that generate approximately 250,000 kilowatt hours per month, powering 19 of the town’s largest electrical accounts, plus the local fire department and the town’s wastewater treatment plant, the release reads. Overall, the town’s electricity use is supplied by more than 95 percent renewable energy.
Emmitsburg also boasts an inclusive playground to promote health and wellness. Additionally, the town offers electric vehicle charging stations.
“During the first 10 years of the Sustainable Maryland program, if we have learned anything, it’s that reducing our footprint on where we live, be it a town, a county, a state or the planet, is vital to our continuation as a species,” Mike Hunninghake, program manager for Sustainable Maryland, said in the release.