Monday, April 19, 2010

County Selected to Receive Project Sunburst Grant

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has notified the Frederick County Office of Environmental Sustainability that the county has been selected to receive $500,000 to install solar photovoltaic systems on Oakdale and Linganore High Schools. The award was made from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Project Sunburst Initiative.

President Jan Gardner of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners noted, “We are delighted to receive this special award as part of our environmental sustainability program. Project Sunburst makes solar a reality for Frederick County. This is a huge step forward for our schools and our county, and moves us toward a promising future of reliable, affordable, clean energy for our citizens.”

In 2007, the County Commissioners set a strategic plan goal to reduce the county’s use of non-renewable energy in its office buildings, vehicle fleet and facilities by 50% over a 15-year period. Seeing Project Sunburst as an opportunity to meet that goal, the board directed the Office of Environmental Sustainability to assemble the Frederick County Sunburst Partners Team in January 2010. The team was comprised of partners from Frederick County Government, Frederick Community College (FCC), Frederick County Public Schools and the Frederick County Sustainability Commission. In total, eight buildings were forwarded to the Maryland Energy Administration for consideration: Oakdale High School, Linganore High School, FCC’s Advanced Workforce Training Center, the Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management Transfer Station, the Reich’s Ford Road Leachate Waste Water Treatment Plant, the New Design Road Water Treatment Plant, the Ballenger Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Potomac River Pump Station.

Project Sunburst builds on Frederick County Public Schools’ ongoing energy conservation efforts. Recent projects include replacement of inefficient lighting systems and poorly insulated windows and roofs in many buildings, installation of a geothermal heat-pump system at the new Earth Space Science Lab and installation of solar panels to operate a portable classroom at Oakdale Elementary School. The Lincoln Elementary School remodeling and expansion project, currently in the design phase, will be the first U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified elementary school in western Maryland.
"We are pleased to partner with Frederick County Government in realizing energy savings in two of our high schools,” said Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Linda Burgee. “The project will result in unique energy savings plus afford us an excellent opportunity to educate students and the public about alternative energy options and conservation." The high schools were selected due to their large, new roof structures and high demand for electricity. Both schools use approximately 3,750,000 kilowatt hours per year.

To learn more about sustainability programs in Frederick County, contact Director Hilari Varnadore, Office of Environmental Sustainability, at 301-600-7414 or via e-mail at