Brookside Gardens
1800 Glenallan Ave
Wheaton, MD 20902
Capital Region
Through all the Brookside Gardens' offerings, we motivate our visitors to take action in their own lives and landscapes to appreciate and care for the plants around them.
Management and Leadership
We use the following best management practices:
bullet Environment Policy Statement:
bulletEnvironmental Team: Brookside Gardens' Green Committee is composed of twelve members, representing every area of the organization. The mission of the Committee is to establish and promote sustainable practices and coordinate green initiatives throughout the Gardens, while educating our visiting public on sustainability. The Committee meets quarterly.
bulletSet Annual Goals: Brookside Gardens' Strategic Plan, adopted in September 2011, devotes an entire section to Sustainability. It is through this document that we have set goals and created an action plan for becoming a greener organization.
bulletWe have a purchasing policy to encourage the purchase of environmentally-friendly products and services
bulletList of our environmentally friendly products and services: Flor Recyled/Recyclable Carpet; all green cleaning products; induction lighting in Conservatory; conversion to CFL and LED lighting; highly efficient Dyson hand driers; low VOC paints; window shades that do not off-gas; cistern to collect rainwater; water bottle filler to discourage use of plastic water bottles; compostable tableware; multiple classes taught on rain gardens, rain barrels, conservation landscaping.
bulletEnvironmental Restoration or Community Environmental Projects: Brookside Gardens hosts multiple invasive plant removal efforts throughout the year, removing invasive plants from the natural areas located on the Gardens' property. We also offer school programs focusing on a variety of nature-related topics, teaching children how to be good environmental stewards. Each spring, the Gardens hosts an Earth Day Event, consisting of of lectures, activities for children, green vendor fair and garden planting project.
Waste Reduction
We use the following best management practices:
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property waste
Kitchen and Prep / Dining / Catering / Meetings and Events / Campground Snack Bar
bulletDonate excess food from events
bulletCompost food waste and other compostables
bulletPurchase locally grown produce and other foods
bulletPurchase organic foods
bulletPurchase sustainably grown foods
bulletDo not use polystyrene coffee cups
bulletDo not use any disposable containers, dishware, cutlery or cups
bulletUse disposable food service items are eco-friendly - polystyrene is avoided
bulletIf disposable containers are used, they are made from - bio-based materials, recycled content, and/or compostable material
bulletUse cloth napkins and tablecloths
bulletUse reusable dishware and glassware and minimize use of disposables
bulletUse non-bleached napkins and coffee filters
bulletUse water pitchers and filtered water to minimize the use of single-use bottles
bulletProvide organic, local or sustainable food choices
bulletUse bulk soap dispensers in public restrooms
bulletUse high-efficiency hand-dryers
bulletPurchase recycled-content paper towels and toilet paper
Registration / Office
bulletUse electronic, paperless registration
bulletUse electronic correspondence and forms
bulletPurchase from vendors and service providers with a commitment to the environment
bulletPurchase recycled paper with a high percentage recycled content
bulletMake 2-sided copies / printed materials and avoid making extra copies
bulletUse recycled content paper for copies / printed materials
bulletUse vegetable based inks for copies / printed materials
bulletUse refillable pens and toner cartridges
bulletRemove facility and staff names from junk mail lists when possible
bulletReuse scrap paper for notes
bulletReuse or donate shipping and packing supplies (peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.)
bulletOffer Leave No Trace tips and green travel education to guests
bulletPromote other green attractions, activities and Maryland Green Travel facilities
bulletSell organic cotton shirts
bulletSell environmentally friendly products
bulletSell sustainable, organic or local products
Buildings and Grounds
bulletUse green cleaning chemicals
bulletDispense cleaning agents in bulk to reduce quantities used
bulletPurchase durable equipment and furniture
bulletPurchase low-VOC carpets and fabrics
bulletInstall carpet with sustainable or recycled content
bulletUse low VOC adhesives
bulletUse reused building materials or those from sustainable sources
bulletUse latex paints that are low or no-VOC
bulletPerform preventative maintenance on all appliances, HVAC systems, plumbing and vehicles
bulletUse less toxic materials
bulletUse Organic Farming Principals
bulletUse integrated pest management - IPM
bulletMinimize the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers in landscaping
bulletTrain staff effectively to use agrochemicals correctly and in proper applications
bulletUse a nutrient management plan that minimizes the use of fertilizers
bulletUse composted production materials for fertilizer
Recycling bins are easily accessible and visible for use by visitors to our public facilities. Staff in the gift shop recycle shipping containers and packing supplies for customer purchases. Gardens staff composts most organic waste from the gardens, incorporating the resulting compost in horticultural display beds to enrich the soil. Food waste from garden-sponsored events is composted on-site.
We are recycling:
bulletAluminium Cans
bulletElectronics equipment
bulletFood Composting
bulletFood Wastes
bulletFluorescent Lamps
bulletOffice Paper
bulletPacking Supplies
bulletPrinter and copy machine toner cartridges
bulletSteel Cans
bulletOther: Plant Production Containers
bulletAllied Waste is Brookside Gardens' recycling vendor. Recycling containers are easily accessible in all of our facilities, both for staff and the visiting public. Custodians are well-versed in recycling procedures, making certain that all recyclable items are separated in preparation for our vendor's pick-up. Items that are not collected by the vendor are taken by staff to the County Transfer Station. Bay Associates Environmental is our vendor for battery recycling.
Water Conservation
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property water usage
bulletTrack water bills and established baseline data on water usage and wastewater generation
bulletPerform preventative maintenance to stop drips and leaks
bulletUse water-flow metering to discover leaks and areas of high use
bulletDiscourage water-based cleanup, ie. sweep first
Have an effective landscape management plan which utilizes:
bulletnative species
bulletdrought tolerant species
bulletrain gauges
bulletminimizes lawn areas
Have an effective storm water plan management including:
bulletRain gardens
bulletPervious pavement, and/or minimization of impervious areas like paving, concrete, etc
bulletUse cisterns
bulletUse drip line irrigation
bulletMaintain vegetative buffers around streams and ponds
bulletCollection of storm water runoff for irrigational use
Energy Efficiency
We use the following best management practices:
bulletHave a plan in place to reduce property energy usage
bulletTrack overall energy bills and establish baseline energy usage
bulletHave had an energy audit to identify efficiency opportunities
bulletUse occupancy sensors to turn on/off lights
bulletTurn off lights in unoccupied rooms
bulletUse of directional, downward-facing, lighting in parking areas and other outdoor areas
bulletUse high efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs in rooms, canned lighting or wherever possible
bulletUse high efficiency fluorescent ballasts and lamps - T-5's & T-8's
bulletUse LED Exit Signs
bulletUse LED lighting for:Garden of Lights exhibit; some indoor lighting
Heating and Cooling
bulletHave programmable thermostats for each room and ensure they are properly adjusted
bulletKeep office doors and windows closed if HVAC system is on
Energy Efficiency:
bulletENERGY STAR computers, appliances, office equipments etc.
bulletTurn off all electrical items in unoccupied rooms when not in use or at the end of the day
bulletPurchase Green Power from utility
Minimize Disposable Food Service Items
We use the following best management practices:
bulletUse compostable foodservice items and collect such items for composting or direct this material to available composting operations in your area
Our Innovative Ideas and Specifics in Minimizing Disposable Foodservice Items:
bulletAt our green events, we ask staff and volunteers to act as "waste watchers" to help our visitors understand what should and should not be placed in containers specified for compostables or recyclables. These volunteers are posted near waste receptacles during all breaks when visitors might be disposing of various items. We invested in washable table cloths, which are washed on-site, to eliminate the use of disposable tablecloths at garden-sponsored events.
Green Events
We use the following best management practices:
bulletSupport event planners who want to hold green events
bulletInclude information on Green Events / Weddings / Meetings / Conferences in our marketing materials
bulletProvide visible recycling at all green events
bulletMinimize the use of disposable food service items
bulletUse electronic registration, correspondence and forms
bulletUse double-sided printing and copying
bulletUse recycled content paper and soy based ink
bulletUse green signage at the event
bulletActivities we undertake to make our events green are:Brookside Gardens hosts zero-waste events, most notably the annual Green Matters Symposium. All food service items are compostable. At the end of the event, all waste generated from the day is bagged in compostable trash bags and run through our chipper onto a compost pile. We've found that compostable tableware completely composts within six months.
Other Green Practices
We use the following best management practices:
bulletAddressing Efficient Business Travel-Our agency has invested in teleconferencing technology to enable staff to meet remotely, rather than traveling to our geographically dispersed facilities throughout Montgomery County. This reduces vehicle emissions, staff travel time and travel costs.
bulletIncreasing the Fuel Efficiency of our Fleet-Brookside Gardens uses a biofuel mix for all fleet vehicles. Within the gardens, we have converted to several electric-powered garden carts for our staff's use. This not only reduces the amount of fuel used, but also enhances our visitors' garden visits by reducing noise and noxious fumes within the Gardens.
Green Building:
bulletSustainable Building Materials:Working with our Facilities Management division, we try to source sustainable building materials for all renovations and repairs.
bulletPrograms:Maryland Green Registry
bulletAwards:2010 Outstanding Achievement in Recycling Award, Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services; 2011 Bethesda Magazine Green Award; 2011 Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Award of Excellence in Environmental/Ecological Plantings.
Measurable Results
Recycled 1,400 pounds of incandescent holiday lights in 2011 as we converted to LEDs; recycled 41 pounds of used batteries in 2012.