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Report: Hyattsville Green, Could be Greener

Hyattsville has a good start when it comes to sustainable city policies and programs, but more should be done, according to Sustainable Maryland Certified analysis.

When it comes to going green, Hyattsville earns high marks but leaves plenty of room for improvement. This according to the results of a recently released study which analyzed the city's ongoing efforts to make its operations more sustainable.

It's a part of Hyattsville's efforts to become an official Sustainable Maryland Certified municipality. Last September, the city council approved a measure authorizing city officials to pursue registering Hyattsville with the University of Maryland's Environmental Finance Center's Susptainable  Maryland Certified designation program.

Designed for state municipalities interested in greening their operations, the Sustainable Maryland Certification attempts to provide a policy framework for cities looking to be more environmentally friendly. It's modeled off of a similar program originally developed in New Jersey. 

The certification process analyzes a city on a number of criteria, from stewardship of water resources, energy consumption, and economic factors, assigning point values for sustainable programs and tools already in use by the city. In order to qualify as a Sustainible Maryland Certified municipality, the city must have scored at least 150 points. 

Since the city council voted to seek the certification, Jim Chandler, Hyattsville's director of Community and Economic Development, has been working with University of Maryland Graduate Student Trent Wells to quantify the city's ongoing efforts to operate in a more sustainable manner.

According to Wells' analysis, Hyattsville would well exceed the 150 point minimum needed for the certificaion, earning a projected 225 points on the sustainable scale. Helping Hyattsville earn that score were the existence of the city's Environmental Committee, the local farmer's market and community garden, and a municipal energy audit, among others. The full report can be read in this week's city council agenda packet. 

While Hyattsville would easily qualify for the certification, next year the Sustainable Maryland Certified program will be expanded into a three tiered–bronze, silver and gold–certification program. Hyattsville's projected score would only earn it a bronze level certification. 

Wells' report suggests that the city pursue future silver level certification by expanding environmentally friendly programs. That's no small feat, requiring a score of 350 points. Wells suggests that the city consider expanding community based food programs, establishing and promoting a buy local campaign, and the creation of new staff to oversee the city's sustainability efforts. 

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