Clean Power John Smith near Capitol Building

Published on June 24th, 2008 | by Rod Adams


Judging by His Campaign Headquarters, Captain John Smith is the Greenest Presidential Candidate

June 24th, 2008 by  

John Smith near Capitol BuildingCaptain John Smith has returned from a 400 year slumber and decided to run for President of the United States. His platform is based on a drive to restore water quality in the nation’s streams, rivers and bays. He does not believe that his issue is getting enough attention in this election season; that is why he has made the trip to his future, our present.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending nearly all of my waking hours at his campaign headquarters, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Merrill Center. It is one of only about 50 Leed Platinum Certified buildings in the world. Unlike certain former presidential candidates who talk green and act a bit differently, Captain Smith apparently practices as well as he preaches.

The Merrill Center’s entrance road is lined with “Vote John Smith for President” signs, there are banners hanging in the soaring lobby, and one of the campaign volunteers offered me brochures, buttons, and a tee shirt. I am wearing the tee shirt as I write, but it is really early in the morning so I am sure I do not want to share that visual with the world.

Of course, the campaign is all in good fun, but the message is important and the Bay Foundation takes its mission of education and environmental leadership very seriously. While at the Merrill Center, I had the good fortune of getting a tour of the building by Kim Coble, the Maryland Executive Director and a 15 year employee at the Foundation. It was fascinating to hear about all of the careful planning that enabled the building, which provides office space for about 90 workers, to use about 10% of the water and 30% of the electricity of the average building of its size.

The building occupies the footprint of the Bay Ridge Hotel, a place that had been a destination resort known as “Queen Resort of the Chesapeake” in the era before the automobile, but which had burned down in 1915. The local residents in Bay Ridge helped the Foundation acquire the property, partly as a way to avoid a more intensive development.

There are many green features in the building including rainwater collection systems, geothermal wells, solar photovoltaic panels, open air flows with high vent windows, lights with motion sensors, and a Clivus composting toilet system. (The Clivus system nearly always generates the most discussion during building tours.)

Aside: At least 10-15% of the 96 solar panels, installed in 2000, were no longer functioning. When viewed from below, you could see the open circuits and discontinuities that would prevent any electricity from flowing. Several of the Foundation employees confided that the panels are not very functional and provide only a small portion of the facility’s electricity. They are looking for improved ways to generate power.End Aside

More than half of the building materials originated less than 300 miles from the center’s Annapolis, Maryland location, many were made from recycled products, and the wood materials were either pressed from chips or harvested in a sustainable manner from sources like cork or bamboo. Kim was obviously very proud of the building and the example that it sets for others who are interested in living and working in a manner that is in harmony with the environment.

From my point of view, it is not hard to understand the passion that people like Kim bring to their work. As she said during the tour, one of the ways that the Foundation gets people to care about the Bay and its restoration is to get them out on the water and get them wet and dirty. She said that people who have been there love the Bay and are more likely to work to make it cleaner.

Bands in the SandI can testify that is true. On the day before my tour, I had spent most of the day as a manual laborer on the Merrill Center beach, helping to set up and assist guests for a Chesapeake Bay Foundation fund raiser, the third annual “Bands in the Sand”. It was one of my many opportunities to get wet, get sweaty, get a bit sunburned and to realize just how important it is to work to balance the needs and desires of humans to live and play near the water with the need to minimize their impact.

Disclosure: I have been a Bay Foundation contributor for a number of years and my wife works for the Foundation.

Photo Credit: Captain John Smith near the Capitol Building – Nikki Davis courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

“Bands in the Sand 2008” Rod Adams under Creative Commons

Related posts

Atlantic City Convention Center Plans Largest Solar Roof in U.S.

Seven Ways to Save Energy by Saving Water

Germany Creates Boom in Geothermal Electricity 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , ,

About the Author

loves and respects our common environment, but he has a fatal flaw in the eyes of many environmentalists -- he's a huge fan of atomic energy. Reduce, reuse, and recycle have been watchwords for Rod since his father taught him that raising rabbits is a great way to turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer for backyard fruit trees and vegetable gardens. They built a compost heap together in about 1967, when he was 8 and when Earth Day was a mere gleam in some people's eye. During his professional career, he has served in several assignments on nuclear submarines, including a 40-month tour as the Engineer Officer of the USS Von Steuben. In 1994, he was awarded US patent number 5309592 for the control system for a closed-cycle gas turbine. He founded Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. in 1993, started Atomic Insights in 1995, and began producing the Atomic Show Podcast in 2006. He is currently an active duty officer (O-5) in the US Navy. He looks forward to many interesting discussions.

  • Kim Ethridge

    Rod –

    Thanks for posting about the campaign and for being such an active member of CBF! Keep up the great articles — this is one of my favorite blogs.


  • Kim Ethridge

    Rod –

    Thanks for posting about the campaign and for being such an active member of CBF! Keep up the great articles — this is one of my favorite blogs.


  • Kim Ethridge

    Rod –

    Thanks for posting about the campaign and for being such an active member of CBF! Keep up the great articles — this is one of my favorite blogs.


Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network