The Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning


A monthly eNewsletter from the Baltimore City Department of Planning

November 2015

A Message from the Director…

The trend of sustainable living or “living small” is on the rise, and Baltimore is no stranger to the movement. Tiny homes are popping up all over the country, and Baltimore now boasts the Baltimore Energy Challenge Mobile Energy Education Center, a portable energy efficient home that will provide a way to display the Baltimore Energy Initiative. 

The tiny house contains energy saving features such as solar panels, a tankless water heater, and a cool roof, as well as renewable materials such as a rapidly renewable pine interior siding, cork floors, and counters made from recycled paper.

The house was built by students from several Civic Works programs at the Civic Works Baltimore Center for Green Careers training facility. The tiny house planning, design and development are supported by Baltimore City, Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Baltimore Energy Initiative, Living Design Lab, and Greg Cantori. Join me in congratulating these partners for demonstrating that “living small” can be both a sustainable and affordable option for Baltimore.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director 

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Vacant Lot Transformation

The Department of Planning coordinated an effort with Department of Transportation, Baltimore Housing, Recreation & Parks, The Parks & People Foundation and the Southeast Community Development Corporation (CDC) to transform several vacant lots on the inner block of 200 N Duncan into new public parking with a rain garden and green space for the C.A.R.E. community.

Click on image to enlarge.

This project was part of a larger effort with Southeast CDC to revitalize the block. The Department of Planning hopes that this project can be used as a model to help redevelop other inner block streets within the City of Baltimore.


Vacants to Value Summit and Expo 2015

The 2015 Vacants to Value Summit will take place on November 18th and 19th at the Baltimore Convention Center. Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Vacants to Value, Baltimore Housing is hosting two days of workshops and tours including a dynamic lineup of speakers that will cover topics on housing strategies and more. It will also feature a welcome breakfast with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Bus Tours, and a Trade Expo. 

Learn more and register here.


Baltimore Energy Challenge

Mobile Energy Education Center

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake recently unveiled the Baltimore Energy Challenge Mobile Energy Education Center – “Baltimore’s Tiny House” – and prize jewel of the Baltimore Energy Challenge. The Mobile Energy Education Center is spreading awareness all over Baltimore City around energy efficiency, sustainable living, and affordable housing of the future. 

Designed by Davin Hong of Living Design Lab, and built by Civic Works, this project was used as a job training opportunity for young AmeriCorps volunteers of the YouthBuild program at Civic Works, teaching them construction and sustainable job skills.


The Mobile Energy Education Center is geared toward inspiring Baltimore City residents to become more energy efficient in their own homes. With quick tips on behavior changes to do in their home, such as putting appliances on power strips and shutting them off when not in use; to switching out all light bulbs for more efficient options such as CFLs and LEDs; to using low-flow shower heads – the Mobile Education Center provides real life visuals of these items installed in a home. 


The tiny house is designed to promote energy efficient and sustainable living from quick tips to bigger decisions including choosing renewable resources such as the bamboo cabinets and recycled paper countertops, to the solar tube and backup pedal power. The home is loaded with realistic examples of how one might live more sustainably and energy efficient in their own home.


Click here to view all the energy efficient features of the Tiny House.

Supervised students from several of Civic Works’ programs built this house at Civic Works Baltimore Center for Green Careers training facility. Additionally, Energy Educators from the Baltimore Energy Challenge have been trained on the features of the tiny house to discuss energy efficiency with all of our visitors.

The Baltimore Energy Challenge (BEC) has become Baltimore’s nationally recognized energy efficiency and conservation education program since its launch in 2009. BEC teaches low to no cost ways to save energy to Baltimore City residents, businesses, and nonprofits through a grassroots effort in neighborhoods and schools. The Energy Efficiency Program is a free program to Baltimore City residents to include installation of energy and water conservation equipment (i.e., programmable thermostat, energy-efficient light bulbs, water-saving fixtures, pipe wraps, power strips, CO/smoke detector and more). This program is open to any Baltimore City homeowner or tenant residing in a house or apartment. Call to make your appointment, 443-869-2614.

The Baltimore Energy Initiative (BEI) is a multi-agency, city-wide program to expand and streamline the City's energy conservation programs and education and outreach efforts. Funded by a $52 million grant from the Public Service Commission of Maryland, BEI supports a number of existing City programs and supplements the mayor's efforts to reduce Baltimore City's energy use, while promoting local investment. Under BEI, Baltimore City's Weatherization Assistance Program is able to serve more residents, as well as provide additional services, such as roof repairs and furnace replacements.  

The Baltimore Energy Challenge is a program of the Baltimore Office of Sustainability in partnership with Civic Works and the Baltimore Community Foundation. The Mobile Energy Education Center will be on tour throughout Baltimore City. To request a visit by the tiny house and its team of Energy Educators, call 443-869-2614. 

Click here to read the article in The Baltimore Sun.