Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) is an initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland (EFC) 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.
For additional information on the Sustainable Maryland Certified Program please view the website at www.sustainablemaryland.com.
Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) is a great opportunity for Maryland city, county, and local governments to take control of their energy future. By adopting a set of policies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or transportation, a community will be designated a Smart Energy Community and receive grant funding for energy projects.
FY 13 funding saw 34 communities participate with grant awards ranging from $35,000 (for smaller towns) to $500,000 (for large counties). This funding will annually yield 4.1 million kWh in electricity savings, 816,000 kWh in new distributed renewable energy generation, and 55,000 gallons of gasoline equivalent reduced. Through energy cost savings already being realized across Maryland local governments, MSEC FY 13 funding yielded a 4.2 year payback, leveraged approximately $500,000 in outside funding, and will reduce 2,418 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.
The Environmental Finance Center Network is working together on this project to build managerial and financial capacity of small public drinking water systems.
Based on the expressed need from many communities in the Chesapeake Bay that are faced with the challenges of limited capacity and resources for meeting their stormwater management obligations, the EFC has partnered with the Low Impact Development Center to establish the Municipal Online Stormwater Training (MOST) Center. The MOST Center will help communities bridge the gap in needed technical and financial resources through a comprehensive training program to help municipalities within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed access and implement innovative stormwater management techniques to improve water quality in the Bay. For more information about the MOST Center, please visit www.mostcenter.org.
The EFC has launched an interactive green infrastructure financing map that uses infrographics to showcase 20 diverse communities from across the country, with a special emphasis on the innovative financing tools they’ve used to build green communities.
The Chesapeake Trust Fund Financing Task Force is a new University of Maryland collaboration between the Environmental Finance Center and the Center for Social Value Creation, located at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. The two centers will establish a student led Task Force, which will be charged with developing a detailed business plan for establishing a new public-private financing institution in support of the Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection effort. The result of the Task Force’s work will be the development and implementation of one of the most innovative and potentially effective public-private financing partnerships in support of environmental protection.
In short, this effort will result in the potential allocation and investment of billions of dollars in support of watershed restoration across the Chesapeake region. In addition, the processes and models developed by this student-led team will have applicability and impact in watersheds across the region and the country. The project is supported through a grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The University of Maryland EFC is working with several other centers in the EFC Network to deliver capacity building technical assistance to recipients of HUD-EPA-DOT Sustainable Community Partnership Grants. The assistance focuses on water and green infrastructure needs and has taken the form of large-scale workshops, community-specific “office hours” sessions, and development of a clearinghouse of additional outside resources.
The Environmental Finance Center (EFC) works each year with several communities in the region to revitalize their stormwater management and fianancing programs. Below is a list of EFC stormwater projects by state.
| Anne Arundel County Baltimore
Berlin Bowie College Park Calvert County Federalsburg Ocean City Oxford Salisbury
|Lynchburg Shenandoah Valley||Blair County Lancaster County Scranton Warrington Township||Berkeley County|
In order to create a clearer picture of the environmental health related programs, tools, and resources available to Region 3 schools to assist them in becoming green and healthy, the EFC is compiling an inventory of existing K-12 green and healthy schools efforts in Region 3 states and the District of Columbia.
Supported by the US EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, the Watershed Financing Incubator Project is an expansion of the EFC’s Trust Fund work. The goal of the project is to facilitate the use of existing public financing mechanisms as effective incentives for private investment in water quality practices. Specifically, our work is centered on:
- Refocusing existing state-based financing tools towards more performance-based investment and financing goals.
- Establishing public financing mechanisms that have the flexibility and authority to make efficient and effective investments in water quality.
- Incentivizing investments from the private sector, through direct engagement with private firms, both in terms of financing and project implementation.
The project team is facilitating the communication and engagement of public and private financing experts. In addition, we are working to establish relationships with organizations addressing water quality issues in ecosystems other than the Chesapeake Bay, including the Puget Sound in Washington and the Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. The idea is to create an incubator within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that can be informed by the experiences and successes of other communities across the country.
The Environmental Finance Center, through the support of the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently launched the Delaware River Watershed Innovative Financing Strategy Project. The EFC and its project partners will convene an expert environmental financing panel charged with identifying innovative and scalable options for financing Delaware River watershed restoration and protection efforts. The panel’s work will result in a financing strategy that will enable the William Penn Foundation and its funding partners to allocate capital and funding in a way that is catalytic and ultimately successful in protecting water resources across the region.
The Environmental Finance Center and Institute for Governmental Service and Research at UMD collaborated to offer a new, free virtual course, Sustainable Community Development. This five-lesson course is designed for people who want to engage with neighbors and fellow residents through their local government to make their community a more sustainable place. It provides a path for Maryland’s municipalities to become certified as sustainable jurisdictions by emphasizing community-level decisions to solve sustainability problems.
The Environmental Finance Center is working with the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office to expand the capacity of communities to advance their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) through interactive workshops focused on stormwater or agricultural financing. The EFC is working with local and regional planning teams to develop and implement a series of “road shows” throughout the region with a mix of stormwater and agricultural nutrient management and finance content tailored to the needs of the communities involved.
The EFC is working with the City and the Scranton Sewer Authority to assess the City’s current asset management framework in addressing both its combined sewer system and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). The EFC will recommend ways to integrate and enhance water resource infrastructure investments for the City to adequately meet all stormwater regulations.