Five energy-saving tips to gobble up this Thanksgiving

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Have you ever thought about how much power you use during Thanksgiving? There’s the oven. Stove. Microwave. What about the dishwasher? And the refrigerator?  Appliance after appliance, it all adds up very quickly.

The American Farm Bureau Federation reported that the average energy cost of this year’s feast for 10 people is just over $50. Just imagine how much energy you’re spending while cooking for four to six hours without stopping?  According to the Department of Energy, appliances already account for about 13 percent of an average American household’s energy costs. Refrigeration and cooking are at the top of the list.

With the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s easy to forget to be mindful about conserving energy. This week, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can reduce energy consumption and save money this Thanksgiving.

  1. While using the oven, turn on the oven light to check the cooking status. Each time you open the door, the temperature inside drops by as much as 25 degrees Fahrenheit.. This makes the oven work twice as hard, which wastes energy and increases cooking time.
  2. Wash full loads of dishes in the dishwasher. Small loads waste water and energy. Whether it’s half-full or completely full, the dishwasher uses the same amount of water for every use. Also, scrape your plates but don’t pre-rinse. Consumer Reports found that pre-rinsing wastes more than 6,000 gallons of water per household each year.
  3. Cabinet-mounted lights, ceiling-lights and recessed can lights in the kitchen stay on and unnoticed for long periods of time. Replace your light fixtures and bulbs with ENERGY STAR Certified lighting products that use 75 percent less energy and generates 70 percent less heat.
  4. Invest in glass or ceramic cookware to cook your food faster and efficiently. Glass and ceramic pans are highly conductive and heat up faster. Your food still cooks in the same amount of time and you can lower the oven cooking temperature by 25 degrees.
  5. Allow your hot foods to cool before refrigerating, and make sure they are covered or wrapped. Also, adjust your refrigerator thermostat to the recommended temperatures between 35 degrees and 38 degrees.

We hope you apply these simple and low-cost energy tips to your home. You can also learn how to get innovative financing for energy efficiency improvements to your home through our Be SMART Home Loan program. Be SMART offers flexible financing of up to $25,000 for eligible homeowners.

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Wurst Bar in Baltimore: Snake Hill Grill Brings Artisan Sausages and Craft Beer to Revitalizing Highlandtown with Hogan Administration Support

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BALTIMORE – The perfect pairing of sausages and beer comes to Baltimore’s historic Highlandtown community with the debut of Snake Hill Grill. Located across from the building that once housed Haussner’s Restaurant, the renovation of the Snake Hill Grill’s new home was made possible with a $102,000 loan through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks program. The restaurant had its “soft opening” last week.

Governor Hogan is committed to helping hard-working families by supporting job creators such as the owners of Snake Hill.  The Hogan administration continues to encourage potential and current small business owners and their communities to access programs such as Neighborhood BusinessWorks, which help strengthen local economies, attract private investment, create jobs and revitalize traditional Main Streets across the state. To learn more about the Neighborhood BusinessWorks program, visit neighborhoodrevitalization.org.

Snake Hill Grill is the work of Richard Pugh, owner of the successful Johnny Rad’s restaurant in Fells Point. The name “Snake Hill” is a nod to Highlandtown’s former name before it was annexed to Baltimore City in 1870.

Meat-eaters and vegans will happily coexist at the new bar, which will feature an array of artisan sausages from “Alligator Andouille” and “Wild Boar Bratwursts” to “Vegan Mexican Chipotle” and “Vegan Smoked Apple Sage.” Patrons will also enjoy more than 50 craft beers, including varied selections from local Baltimore breweries like the Waverly Brewing Company and Charm City Meadworks.

The new bar features an industrial chic décor, a style of building that is all about reclaimed local materials. Designed using exposed industrial duct work and exposed brick, Snake Hill will seat a total of 52 people in the bar area and in the traditional high and low tables.

Snake Hill’s unique offerings and trendy atmosphere, fits perfectly in Highlandtown’s selection of eclectic restaurants and taverns. With the influx of new comers and Hopkins residents over the past decade, the tightly-knit neighborhood has been growing to become one of the most dynamic communities in Baltimore.

Additional funding for Snake Hill came from Harbor Bank and Baltimore Development Corporation.

Maryland Pathway to Homeownership Program Offers $15,000 Down Payment Assistance to Prospective Buyers in Garrett County

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McHenry, MD – The Hogan administration is making buying a home more affordable in Garrett County.

Through the Maryland Pathway to Homeownership in Garrett County program, families may qualify for a $7,500 loan and a $7,500 grant for down payment and closing cost assistance. They also qualify for a lower interest rate and the department is waiving its fee for a mortgage credit certificate that can save the homebuyer thousands of dollars on their federal taxes.

Continuing the Hogan administration’s commitment to the state’s rural communities, the program is the result of a partnership between the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and Garrett County. This collaboration will deploy $300,000 of grants from the county and $300,000 of loans from the state to potential and existing homeowners for down payment assistance and rehabilitation work. This partnership is a first between the county and the state for current and potential homeowners and will make buying a home easier and more affordable to prospective homebuyers in the county.

“The Maryland Pathway to Homeownership program will not only promote homeownership in Garrett County, it will also help create thriving communities and improve the quality of life for hardworking families in the area,” said housing and community development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We hope to expand this program to other rural communities and continue Governor Hogan’s efforts to change Maryland for the better.”

For additional information on Maryland Mortgage Program products, visit mmp.maryland.gov.

More Than a Pretty Face: Hogan Administration Launches $650,000 Façade Improvement Program in Baltimore

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The transformation through the Neighborhood BusinessWorks program of this abandoned corner store into the Highlandtown Gallery, a place where local artists can show-off their work, demonstrates the impact a new façade can have on the entire neighborhood.

Business and Property Owners Can Receive Up to $10,000 through Effort to Strengthen City’s Commercial Districts

New Carrollton, MD – The Hogan administration is launching a program to help small businesses and other property owners in Baltimore’s commercial districts brighten up and improve their exteriors.

Through the $650,000 façade improvement program, property owners in the city’s commercial districts can receive up to $10,000 for beautification projects such as exterior painting, masonry repairs, restoration of architectural details, replacement of windows and doors, awning and signage installation, exterior lighting, and other approved capital improvements.

The program is the latest in the Hogan administration’s multi-pronged effort to support business recovery and economic development in the city.

The program targets commercial districts, especially those affected by the civil unrest some months ago. However, any business owner, property owner or non-profit organization occupying a commercial space in Baltimore City may apply for assistance to improve their façade through this program.

“Our investment in seemingly surface  items such as a new paint job, awnings or signage can transform how people feel about a commercial district neighborhood, inspiring new patronage, new investment and  new hope,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We also will engage local nonprofit organizations to assist in providing architectural design services and on-the-job training for Baltimore City residents.”

The façade improvement program will:

  • Enhance the visual appeal and marketability of small businesses and commercial districts.
  • Provide access to architectural design assistance that will assist property owners with enhancing historic features and aesthetic appeal of commercial buildings.
  • Offer workforce development opportunities in the construction industry for under-employed Baltimore City residents.

Funding for this program is limited. Properties identified for a façade improvement will be chosen based on revitalization impact. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Non-Profit Partners:

The department will work closely with nonprofit partners to maximize the program’s benefits.

The Neighborhood Design Center has been selected as the nonprofit partner to provide architectural design services.  The center will engage other nonprofit partners, including Baltimore Heritage and the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  These organizations have experience designing unique and transformative façade improvements that support small businesses and preserve historic buildings.

The Living Classrooms Foundation and Civic Works have been selected as the non-profit partners to provide the workforce development and construction services for the initiative.

Both nonprofit organizations have extensive experience in workforce development training in the construction industry and are licensed general contractors.  The organizations will be training and hiring Baltimore City residents who have various barriers to employment, such as lack of work experience, limited education or job training and non-violent criminal records.

“The department is looking forward to creating opportunities for residents to help improve and rebuild their city,” said Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt.  “We also expect the initiative will provide better job opportunities for city residents.”

For more information and to apply for the program, please click here.

Governor Hogan’s Maryland Business Recovery Program Invests Nearly $1.3 Million to Help Baltimore Businesses Recover, Rebuild and Grow

“It was a lifesaver” says one owner about zero-interest loans that helped small business owners remain in business, care for employees

DHCD's John Maneval presents check to business owner Juan C. Nunez.
On June 22, John Maneval, deputy director of multifamily and business lending programs for the department, presented the first check under the Maryland Business Recovery program, to business owner Juan Nunez.

BALTIMORE – Tops in Cellular, a mobile electronics and accessories store in the city’s Highlandtown community, is open for business thanks in part to a Hogan administration program established to help business owners recover from the civil unrest in Baltimore this spring.

Juan Nunez was one of the first business owners to receive financial assistance under the administration’s Maryland Business Recovery program. To date, the program has provided more than $1.28 million in 44 loans. An additional three loans are expected to close in the coming weeks for $105,000.

Those figures provide a snapshot of the Hogan administration’s quick response to the unrest. Governor Hogan put the resources of state government to work to help ensure that Baltimore rebounded better and stronger than ever from the unrest that shook the city.

“When the unrest in Baltimore broke out, my administration worked around the clock to restore calm and to listen to city residents, small business owners and community leaders to gain a better understanding of the issues they face,” Governor Larry Hogan said.  “By harnessing the resources of the state, Baltimore was able to recover more quickly. These loans saved jobs and small businesses.  While there is still much more work to do, my administration will continue to work to change Baltimore, and Maryland, for the better.” Read More »

The Hogan Administration Honors Four Who Helped the Maryland Mortgage Program Enjoy a Banner Year

Ed Haywood for RE/MAX.

Baltimore – RE/MAX was named the top performing real estate agency for the Maryland Mortgage Program in 2015 and Naji Rashid, the owner and CEO of 1st Advantage Real Estate Services, was named the program’s top individual performer at the Commitment to Excellence awards announced Wednesday during the Maryland Housing Conference.

Other Commitment to Excellence honorees include:

  • Keller Williams Realty.
  • Ellsworth Hughes, D.E. Hughes Realty Co.

The honorees were among the many partners whose contributions helped make 2015 a banner year for the state’s flagship homeownership program.

The Maryland Mortgage Program has been the state’s flagship mortgage purchase program for more than 40 years, offering qualified families a variety of fixed-rate mortgage loan options with low interest rates and generous downpayment and settlement cost assistance. Loans are administered by a network of more than 60 private lending institutions across the state and promoted through Maryland’s growing relationship with the state’s real estate community.Read More »

2015 Maryland Housing Conference Will Focus on the Future of Homeownership, Affordable Rental Housing and Redevelopment in Maryland

Conference will recognize Maryland’s Outstanding Realtors and Real Estate Agencies

A stronger housing market encourages families to establish roots in Maryland through homeownership and build a lasting financial legacy for their children.
A stronger housing market encourages families to establish roots in Maryland through homeownership and build a lasting financial legacy for their children.

BALTIMORE – The future of Maryland’s housing industry – and by extension the future of Maryland’s economy – will be the focus on Wednesday when the 2015 Maryland Housing Conference gets underway at the Baltimore Hilton.

Through workshops, seminars and keynote addresses from industry leaders, the one-day conference hosted by the Maryland Building Industry Association will examine financing, development and affordability of single family and multifamily housing. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is lead sponsor.

This year’s theme, “Housing Maryland’s Future,” complements Governor Larry Hogan’s vision of changing Maryland for the better by growing a healthy housing market that invigorates the economy, generate jobs and stabilizes neighborhoods and communities. The conference comes as residential construction continues to lead job creation and economic recovery in Maryland.

Also at the conference, the top producing realtor agencies and individual realtors for the Maryland Mortgage Program for Fiscal Year 2015 will receive the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Commitment to Excellence Award. The awards recognize their commitment and significant contributions to the success of the Maryland Mortgage Program, the state’s flagship homeownership program that in 2015 saw its best performance in many years.
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Fall back efficiently: Five ways homeowners can save on lighting costs as daylight saving time ends

Have a green Halloween! Set the mood for a spooky atmosphere by using LED lightbulbs and candles to decorate your home (Photo by: FreeImages.com/kasiakay).
Have a green Halloween! Set the mood for a spooky atmosphere by using LED lightbulbs and candles to decorate your home (Photo by: FreeImages.com/kasiakay).

This Sunday, Nov. 1 at 2 a.m., officially marks the end of daylight saving time. Sure, we don’t mind the extra hour of sleep. But with a new light-dark cycle and less sunlight to enjoy, we might experience an increased demand for lighting consumption.

An average American household already spends 5 percent of its energy budget on lighting, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. With many ways to lower your electricity bill, upgrading your lighting choice can be one of the quickest ways to achieve this goal.

In fact, replacing 15 inefficient incandescent bulbs in your home with energy-saving bulbs could save about $50 annually. Making simple and small changes like this, can lead to a big collective impact. This week, we’ve put together five ways for using lighting efficiently.Read More »

Hogan Administration Announces $600,000 Partnership with Garrett County for Homeownership

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Some residents drove more than 30 miles on Wednesday to get information about a new homeownership partnership between the Hogan administration and the county.

Initiatives announced for homebuyers and current owners for home improvements

McHenry, MD – The Hogan administration and Garrett County Commissioners on Wednesday announced Maryland Pathway to Homeownership in Garrett County, an upcoming partnership between the administration and the county that will help an estimated three dozen potential homebuyers purchase a home in the county by making down payment and closing costs more affordable.

The department announced programs that offer significant resources for potential homebuyers and current homeowners, including $300,000 of down payment assistance from the county and $300,000 committed from the state for down payment assistance, closing costs, and loans and grants for home repair. This is believed to be the first such partnership between the county and the state to encourage homeownership.

“A healthy housing market is key to a healthy economy,” Governor Larry Hogan said. “We are proud to partner with Garrett County to not only help homeowners improve their aging homes with upgrades and enhanced efficiency but also encourage new homeowners to plant roots in Garrett County for many years to come.”
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GIVE Maryland Gets Face-Lift, New Website Makes Community Investment Tax Credit Program More Accessible to Donors

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GIVE Maryland’s new website incorporates a more vibrant design, and offers a user-friendly format and interactive map for better navigation.

Redesign includes improvements to content and navigation with user-friendly dashboard and interactive map

New Carrollton, MD – A newly designed website now makes the Community Investment Tax Credit program more accessible to individuals and businesses who want to contribute to revitalization projects in Maryland neighborhoods.

Following on Governor Larry Hogan’s commitment to a more customer-oriented government, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has revamped the website for GIVE Maryland. The new site can be found at www.givemaryland.org.

GIVE Maryland gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to search for and donate online to nonprofits that have available tax credits and are working in their own communities.

The newly revamped website incorporates a more vibrant design, and offers a user-friendly format and interactive map for better navigation.  New dashboard features will help donors tailor their contributions based on their interests.

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