University of Maryland Extension

Alternative Energy and Labor Saving Field Day

As part of our work with the commercial ornamental horticulture industry, we have been organizing alternative energy field days since 2005 in cooperation with MNLA, LCA and MGGA. We conducted a tour of several locations that have implemented energy saving methods on October 20, 2011.


Brent Rutley, owner of Capitol City Contractors, did a wonderful job of hosting the morning session of the field day at his farm in Woodbine. He led an excellent tour of a wind turbine, solar arrays and a high efficiency wood stove used to heat office space. Brent shared what each alternative energy source costs to obtain and maintain. We had a lively discussion, led by Chuck Schuster, on where hybrid trucks are headed and what is happening with the new low sulfur diesel fuels that will be coming onto the market in 2012.


Brent Rutley, Capitol City LLC, shows off the wood
stove he uses to heat the office space

Brent Rutley (left) talks about installing the solar
panels on the building in the background

Steve Black, Raemelton Farm, discussed his labor saving techniques, but one of the best ideas he mentioned was a new device called a weed seeker. The weed seeker can be run over nursery planting rows and when it detects green weed plants, it triggers an application of herbicide to just the green weeds. This device avoids spraying a lot of bare soil area in the nursery row.


At MacBride and Gill Falcon Ridge Farm, we had a great demonstration of a new geothermalĀ  heating system. Chris Cymek, BGE, discussed how an horizontal loop system works. You get some of the biggest bang for your buck with geothermal systems. Also at the farm, Jonathan Kays, UME, covered more details of using wood burning systems.


It makes sense for you as a business owner to look into these systems for heating and cooling your offices. We encourage each of you to attend future alternative energy field days.

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