Our Sustainability Efforts

Project Background sustainability color logotype

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, has a mission to conserve and protect the natural spaces and species that call our county home. The Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to making the best efforts to uphold sustainable practices.  

There are three pillars of sustainability society, nature, and economy. Through the Department’s creation of new parks, local jobs, and access to green spaces, we are already contributing to the three pillars of sustainability. Through these efforts, the people within our community have access to health and wellness opportunities.  

What we are trying to achieve? 

The Department of Parks and Recreation aims to lessen the environmental impact on our planet by implementing more sustainable efforts and initiatives. The goal is to preserve, protect, and improve the quality of our programs and resources so that future generations will be able to enjoy them as well.

Our Sustainable Efforts

Here at the Department we are still discovering new sustainability initiatives. We have also undertaken some large-scale projects such as: 

  • Increased hybrid and electric vehicles to more than 18 percent of total fleet inventory and launched pilot program to convert lawn mowers from gas to propane.
  • Discontinued use of Styrofoam from all Commission operations and launched employee self-service to enroll online during open enrollment.
  • Launched recycling campaign, 1 Million More, and diverted one million pounds of waste from landfills to recycling centers and Hundreds of items (furniture, equipment) have been reused using email distribution strategy
  • 5 facilities designed to meet LEED Silver certification standards and expanded removal of invasive plants to include more than 15 sites.
  • Expanded wild rice program along the Patuxent River and launched innovative tracking system of the Sora Rail determining migration patterns and Launched Pollinator Project to include 15 acres of meadow on 10 sites and creation of Bee Keeper Collective.
  • Expanded Park-Rx Program and Launched Wellness in the Woods, a first-of-its kind program that displays the wealth of activities that take place in our parks and open space.
  • The LED light program is helping facilities to change over from incandescent and fluorescent bulbs to the more sustainable and less energy dependent LED bulbs.
  • We are in the process of launching a 2.5 MWh solar field to help us meet our energy needs in an earth conscious way.

What We Plan to Do 

The Department of Parks and Recreation is actively researching energy usage, waste management, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The Department’s sustainable research goals include: 

  • Waste Reduction and Recycling: Recycle Appropriate Solid Waste and Compost Appropriate Organic Solid waste targeting 4500 Metric Tons CO2 Reduction By 2040
  • Reduction of Carbon Footprint preventing 2 Million MTCO2e from entering the atmosphere between 2020 and 2040 by implementing several strategies
  • Establishing Baselines: 60% reduction in carbon emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2025
  • Carbon neutrality (net-zero carbon emissions) by 2040
  • Reduce total electricity consumption by 30% by 2025 through infrastructure upgrades and behavior change initiatives.
  • Improve the fuel efficiency of all fleet through vehicle selection and proper maintenance.
  • Reduce purchased potable water use 20% by 2025.
  • Capture the first one-inch of rainfall from 50% of all impervious surface area
  • Divert 95% of total solid waste from landfills and seek opportunities to further reduce waste generation by 2040.

About our PEPCO EV Charging initiative

Just what is EV charging and why is it a big deal? With the conversion from fossil fuels making headlines around the world, the future looks electric. M-NCPPC is entering into a joint master agreement with PEPCO to develop pay for charge EV charging infrastructure on park property. This exciting program will help our region and our county to scale up to meet the future demand at no cost to the Department. Over the next three to five years, PEPCO will be installing EV charging ports of both fast charge and regular charger varieties at 18 sites Department-wide. We strived to create an even spread within PEPCO territory across councilmanic districts and support our rural, suburban, and urban tiers. In addition to having a parking lot that has potential, each facility likely has deep ties to the surrounding community, supports a variety of activities that the public can engage in while charging their car, and matches the open hour requirements set forth by PEPCO. Our first charger locations are expected to be installed in the spring/summer of 2022. In addition to PEPCO, the Department is working with other area providers BGE and SMECO to explore options for installing chargers at locations within these territories. We hope to have agreements in place with them over the course of the next budget year.