Skip to main content

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. Montgomery County looks to third party certifications and resources to inform which green products to purchase, including Green Seal, Cradle-to-Cradle, ENERGY STAR, Forest Stewardship Council, WaterSense, and Green-e.

Appliances & Electronics

Electronics throughout County government facilities, including all printers and copiers, PCs, laptops, and tablets are independently verified as energy efficient with ENERGY STAR qualification and Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certification. ENERGY STAR qualification means that the equipment is among the most energy efficient options available, and EPEAT certification addresses environmental sustainability throughout a product’s lifecycle. The Department of Technology Services (DTS) also ensures that all computers are purchased from manufacturers that demonstrate eco-friendly manufacturing practices including reduced electromagnetic emissions and low use of sensitive materials. DTS purchases green computers which feature low power consumption, and fewer and smaller component parts packaged with recyclable materials. The monitors deployed by DTS contain 85% recycled plastic material in mechanical parts and over 25% post-consumer recycled content plastics by weight of the total plastics.

Additionally, the approximately 200 vending machines in County government buildings are energy efficient including motion sensors to trigger lighting and highly efficient cooling. 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.

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. In addition, the Print Shop uses a highly efficient digital press. Eighty percent of the waste the printer produces can be reused and the digital press itself can be recycled at end of life. We also use remanufactured toner cartridges that cost less than new cartridges and save energy and natural resources. Used toner cartridges and end-of-life equipment are recycled. In addition, the County has eliminated the use of Styrofoam from all County food service contracts.

Montgomery County purchased more than $6 million worth of products containing recycled materials in FY2018. Recycled materials purchased included almost $400,000 worth of recycled office supplies through a contract with a small business based in Montgomery County. The County also executed a contract for athletic resurfacing systems maintenance and construction using recycled materials.

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 construction of Gaithersburg Library used 92% recycled wood for the shelves and over 75% of steel used was made from post-consumer recycled materials. Between 2012 and 2018, Montgomery County’s building construction used an average of 20% recycled materials, 43% certified sustainably harvested wood, and 26% locally sourced or manufactured 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.

Go Top