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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Green Purchasing

Montgomery County uses eco-friendly products and services whenever possible, including energy star office equipment and appliances, recycled and sustainably sourced products, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

About Green Purchasing

Green purchasing or environmentally preferable purchasing is the purchase of goods and services that minimize impacts on the environment and human health. Green products often are energy efficient, made with recycled content, durable, recyclable or compostable, made from renewable resources, less toxic than conventional goods, manufactured locally and responsible, fairly traded, and safely managed at the end of product life.

Montgomery County prioritizes purchasing green products and services. The Office of Procurement, in partnership with the Montgomery County Interagency Purchasing Committee, developed a comprehensive web tool to help County staff select green products and services. Staff also can use the Office of Procurement database to search for businesses certified by the Montgomery County Green Business Program. The Office of Procurement also offers employee training in green purchasing.

Appliances & Electronics

We use ENERGY STAR qualified printers and copiers in all County facilities, including the printers and copiers for public use at libraries. We recently upgraded to energy saving vending machines County-wide. In addition, we use energy efficient electronics and appliances wherever possible, including computer equipment for employees and the public, commercial kitchens in recreation centers, police and fire stations, and other facilities with 24-7 operations. In FY2016, Montgomery County purchased 2,533 computers – all of them ENERGY STAR qualified and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) gold certified, the highest certification addressing environmental sustainability throughout a product’s life cycle.

Cleaning Products & Services

Montgomery County is committed to green cleaning. This includes purchasing green soaps and cleansers, training cleaning staff in environmentally friendly cleaning techniques, using green cleaning equipment, and properly storing and managing hazardous materials. At maintenance facilities for buses and other County vehicles, we use eco-friendly auto parts washers. These washers use natural enzymes and bacteria to convert oil and other harmful materials into safe substances, like carbon dioxide and water.

Everyday Supplies & Materials

Montgomery County currently purchases 30% or higher post-consumer recycled content paper. Most of the paper used also is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, meaning the wood is harvested in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. We also use remanufactured toner cartridges that cost less than new cartridges and save energy and natural resources. We recycled our used cartridges as well. In addition, the County has eliminated the use of Styrofoam from all County food service contracts. We also use recycled materials in construction and renovation projects.

Montgomery County purchased $4.3 million of products containing recycled materials in FY2016. For example, the County increased the recycled content of its plastic recycling bins from 25% to 50%.

Construction & Renovation Materials

Gaithersburg Library Recycled Construction Materials

When we build or renovate a library, recreation center, or other facility, we use recycled, locally-sourced, sustainably harvested, and non-toxic materials. For example, the shelves at Gaithersburg Library are made from 92% recycled wood. More than 75% of the steel used in the library’s construction is made from post-consumer recycled materials. Between FY2012 and FY2016, Montgomery County’s new building construction used an average of 21% recycled materials.

Renovation

Montgomery County renovates and refreshes buildings to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their impact on the environment. Renovation often includes replacing old, inefficient chillers and boilers with highly energy efficient heating and cooling systems. These projects also include upgrading to highly efficient LED lighting and water-saving fixtures in bathrooms and showers.

Carpet installation

Durable products are long-lasting, meaning fewer replacements and less material used over time. We choose flooring in a way that allows us to replace damaged tile and carpet one square at a time. We also choose non-toxic adhesives, paints, and sealants to improve air quality and protect the health of County residents, employees, and visitors.

What You Can Do

You can protect the environment and make your surroundings healthier by choosing green products and services. Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greener Products Portal and look for Energy Star and WaterSense labels when you shop. Don’t forget to support Montgomery County’s green businesses. Buying local reduces the amount of fuel needed to get items to you and strengthens the economy in your community.

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