Today, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced that Constellation is investing an additional $450,000 in the Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) and City Schools Sustainability Challenge (CSSC) programs bringing the company’s total contribution to $650,000. These innovative and proven programs are designed to motivate schools, households, businesses and religious institutions to reduce their energy use, and increase sustainability awareness. Since the launch of the Sustainability Plan in 2009, Baltimore has become a national sustainability leader, implementing best practices to grow a green, healthy and prosperous city. Since 2009, more than 80 schools have participated in energy and sustainability projects. “The Baltimore Energy Challenge is an innovative and successful program, and we’re proud to support sustainable practices in the communities we serve,” said John Quinn, director, performance and policy, environmental strategy at Exelon, Constellation’s parent company. “This grant will help to address important energy reduction goals outlined by the state of Maryland and the Baltimore Sustainability Commission and aligns with the commitment Exelon and Constellation have made to invest in Maryland’s clean energy future.” “The Baltimore Energy Challenge encourages students and residents to make simple behavior changes and home improvements that conserve their energy use and reduces their energy bills. And the City Schools Sustainability Challenge has played a key role in making our schools greener,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “The participating communities along with their schools have engaged, educated and motivated residents to reduce energy use and implement sustainability practices such as recycling, composting and gardening.” “We believe that engagement in the City Schools Sustainability Challenge can be transformational for our students, both academically and personally, while also making positive contributions to our schools, our communities, and the city of Baltimore. The challenge demonstrates to our students that they have the power to initiate change and the ability to make things better for themselves and others,” said Superintendent Dr. Andres A. Alonso.
For three consecutive years, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability and the Baltimore Community Foundation have successfully partnered to create and administer these two programs that help to advance the goals of the City of Baltimore’s Sustainability Plan. The Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) helps city residents reduce their energy usage and provides resources to communities to spread messages about energy conservation; the City Schools Sustainability Challenge (CSSC) helps schools achieve certification with the state-wide Maryland Green School Awards program and provides resources for student-led environmental leadership projects to schools by awarding $1,000 grants.In 2009, the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Baltimore Community Foundation, launched BEC as a nine-month pilot program in eight Baltimore communities and has since become Baltimore’s trusted resource center for energy efficiency information and education. In 2009, Constellation Energy invested $200,000 toward the implementation of BEC, and that support has been critical to the success of the program. In 2010, BEC unveiled the energy savings results from the pilot: an average of 6.6%. The neighborhood of Park Heights achieved a 12.8% savings. As a result, 12 additional neighborhoods were added and a new model of establishing school “Energy Hubs” was implemented, where thousands of Energy Challenge Pledges have been signed and free energy kits distributed. Since 2010, participation in CSSC has grown dramatically as outreach efforts have increased and as City Schools has adopted a greater focus on sustainability. More than a third of all city public schools have now formed Green Teams and implemented environmental projects with their students through the CSSC program. Highlights include Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School’s composting initiative which reduced landfill material by 2.5 yards weekly; Guilford Elementary School collected 84 gallons of recycling in one week; and Maritime Industries Academy High School recycled 1 ton of paper. The announcement was made at the John Eager Howard Elementary School in Reservoir Hill, one of seven schools which designed and completed both energy focused, and sustainability focused projects with $2,000 in funds provided by BEC and CSSC. The wind turbine students built was on display.
Beth Strommen, Director, Baltimore Office of Sustainability and Cheryl Casciani, Director of Neighborhood Sustainability for the Baltimore Community Foundation thanked Constellation for its ongoing investment in Baltimore’s and Maryland’s clean energy future.For more information visit www.baltimoresustainability.org