WMSBF to Honor Holland Board of Public Works with Climate Leadership Award

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will recognize the Holland Board of Public Works with its inaugural Climate Leadership Award on Wednesday, October 25 at the sold-out Triple Bottom Line Bash.

The Climate Leadership Award is one of three new awards WMSBF has created as part of its annual Sustainable Business of the Year Awards. It recognizes an organization that has adopted practices that demonstrate climate leadership locally and within its industry.  The selection committee evaluates criteria such as community leadership, creation of a climate action plan, innovation, and a commitment to both greenhouse gas reduction and climate adaptation strategies.

To read the full press release, please follow this link.

Living Sustainably: Airport supports sustainable local economy

By Aaron Thelenwood, West Michigan Regional Airport Authority
The West Michigan Regional Airport has been serving the Holland area for more than 50 years, and 30 years ago this month it became a public facility. Since then, it’s economic impact has been massive.

According to statistics from the MDOT/Aeronautics Division’s 2017 Michigan Aviation Plan report, an estimated $164 million of economic impact to the Holland/Zeeland area can be attributed to direct airport activities each year. Furthermore, 1,690 local jobs are directly related to airport operations, in
addition to an estimated 3,272 jobs supported through airport-related activities such as visitor spending and general air transport, according to the report.
The airport, located off South Washington Avenue in the City of Holland, has evolved from a grass-strip runway to a state-of- the-art facility serving local, regional, national, and international customers.

The West Michigan Regional Airport has about 34,000 incoming and outgoing flights a year, helping drive the economic sustainability of the community.

The airport celebrated the opening of its new Airport Business Center on Oct. 13, 2016, and it is celebrating its 30th year under public ownership this month. Development of the Business Center was identified by the West Michigan Regional Airport Authority as essential to the long-term economic success and viability of the airport. Making the Holland/Zeeland/Park Township area a community of choice for business growth is a key benchmark of positive economic impact within the scope of sustainability.

The West Michigan Regional Airport has helped that growth. It has an estimated 34,000 incoming and outgoing flights annually, including business, freight, and independent charter operations. An estimated 54,975 tons of cargo passes through the airport annually. Additionally, there were 22 charity flights provided to patients through Wings of Mercy over the last year. Wings of Mercy, an airport partner for many years, provides life-giving transportation to patients in need of treatment who otherwise could not afford to fly. The West Michigan Regional Airport is managed by the West Michigan Regional Airport Authority, which is comprised of representatives from three local municipalities: The cities of Holland and Zeeland as well as Park Township.

The airport is supported through a combination of federal, state, and local funding. The local funding is a 0.1 mill property tax in the three communities. For capital projects, the federal share can amount to up to 90 percent of costs, with state and local shares at 5 percent each. Additional revenue is generated through rents and fees charged to airport customers.

Around 95 percent of airport traffic is business related, allowing job creators in this community to remain competitive in a fast-paced world. The airport provides key infrastructure for companies and organizations to operate nationally and internationally while ensuring jobs remain and grow locally.

 Aaron Thelenwood is the assistant manager for the West Michigan Regional Airport Authority and also is the solid waste, recycling, and sustainability coordinator for the City of Holland.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

Living Sustainably: Three Holland projects are finalists for state energy awards

By Anne Saliers, Holland Board of Public Works

The Holland Energy Fund, a finalist for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Award, is represented by (left to right) Holland BPW Community Energy Services Manager Anne Saliers, City Treasurer and President of Holland Energy Fund Tim Vagle, and Holland Residential Energy Advisor Peter Boogaart.

Holland’s leadership in energy efficiency could produce three winners in the Third Annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards that recognize people and organizations in Michigan that have taken firm, meaningful actions to improve energy efficiency.
Sandra Keirnan is a finalist for Best Residential Project. She had already begun renovating her 1891 home on State Street when she heard about Holland’s 40-year Community Energy Plan.
From that point on, Keirnan was “all in” on energy efficiency, making good use of the programs offered by the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Those included the Home Energy Retrofit Program incentive, rebates through Holland BPW and SEMCO Energy, and being the first to use the new On-Bill Loan Program.

Sandra Keirnan, one of the most active home energy savers in Holland and a finalist for a state energy award, is greeted by Mayor Nancy DeBoer.

Keirnan also competed in the Holland Energy Prize Biggest Loser Challenge and won “most improved” by doubling her U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score from 4 (out of 10) to 8. Her renovations ranged from replacing inefficient appliances to improving her home’s insulation and windows. She expects to save 802 kilowatt hours of electricity and 417 therms of natural gas annually.
Next, GreenHome Institute is a finalist in Best Communication or Education Program for its Biggest Loser Challenge held in Holland during the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition.
The year-long initiative encouraged Holland residents to reduce their electric, gas, and water usage in 2016 from the previous year. Cash, plus energy- and water-saving prizes, went to the residents who were the biggest overall “losers” in energy use. The program urged residents to become energy efficient at a level that fit their lifestyle and budget. The 118 residents who participated saved 10 percent on energy overall, with the Biggest Loser saving 36 percent.

Representing two of three Holland projects that are finalists for the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards are, in front, homeowner Nancy Kiernan and in back, left to right, Mayor Nancy DeBoer, Holland Residential Energy Advisor Peter Boogaart, City Treasurer and President of Holland Energy Fund Tim Vagle, and Holland BPW Community Energy Services Manager Anne Saliers.

Third, Holland Energy Fund is a finalist for Innovator of the Year. Incorporated as a non-profit in 2015, Holland Energy Fund supports the Holland Community Energy Plan, a 40-year path to the city becoming a world-class leader in energy security, affordability, sustainability, and efficiency.
The Fund offers a 10 percent rebate to city homeowners for investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades. It also offers low, fixed-interest loans that residents can conveniently pay back on their Holland BPW electric bill. It’s the first on-bill financing program for improving home efficiency and comfort in Michigan. To learn more about Holland Energy Fund and its programs, visit hollandenergyfund.com.
“Energy efficiency doesn’t mean doing less; it means doing as much or more, but using less energy to get it done,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in his special message on energy in 2012. “Energy efficiency is the best example of a no-regrets policy Michigan can have.”

The Governor’s Energy Excellence Award Categories:
 Best Residential Project
 Best Industrial/Manufacturing Project
 Best Public Project
 Best Commercial Project
 Best Agricultural Project
 Best Communication of Education Program
 Contractor of the Year
 Innovator of the Year
Learn More: www.mienergyexcellence.org

Award winners will be announced by Snyder in Detroit on Oct. 19.
 Anne Saliers is community energy services manager at Holland Board of Public Works and serves on the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards steering committee.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.


By Lynne Powe ’86

The jubilant “whoop” on the plains of the Serengeti isn’t the call of the African black-bellied bustard. It’s award-winning wildlife photojournalist and field biologist Dr. Tim Laman ’83 celebrating the composition of a special photo. As he reviews the images on the back of his camera, he beams with satisfaction, and a brief nod confirms he’s enjoying his time photographing the national parks of northern Tanzania.

In a nearby Toyota Land Cruiser, Dr. Eldon Greij, professor emeritus of biology and founder of the magazine Birder’s World, focuses his binoculars on a pair of raptors, while calling out identifying characteristics. The local driver/guide joins in. When necessary, they consult, “The Birds of East Africa,” a field guide laying on the dashboard. The energy and enthusiasm is palpable as they confirm another species to add to the checklist that evening.

Photo of Eldon Greij and Tim Laman
The former faculty and student research team takes a break in Arusha National Park as colleagues and trip co-leaders.

An African safari has been my dream trip since I was a Hope sophomore and hoping to photograph wildlife found in that part of the world. When I heard that Eldon Greij and Tim Laman were co-leading a tour with the Hope College Alumni Association, I was the first to pay my deposit. Based on their expertise, I was confident it would be an exceptional experience.

To read the full article, please follow this link.

Hope College Featured in Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges

October 3, 2017 — by Tyler Thayer and The Princeton Review

Hope College is one of the 375 most environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review. The education services company known for its test prep and tutoring services, books, and college rankings features Hope in the 2017 edition of its free book, “The Princeton Review Guide to 375 Green Colleges.”

The ranking can be accessed at princetonreview.com/green-guide (registration on website required).

From recycling to energy conservation efforts on campus made by students, faculty and staff alike, Hope places a high value on modeling sustainability and keeping the West Michigan community beautiful.  In May, Hope received a STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating) Silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, up from the Bronze rating that the college had held since 2012.

To read the full article, please click here.

You can learn more about sustainability at Hope on our new website:  www.hope.edu/sustainability

Living Sustainably: Holland Energy Park – Resource, Destination, Gateway

By Michelle Gibbs, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

Holland’s vision is to be a thriving, world-class energy efficient city that generates energy cleanly, uses it efficiently, and distributes it reliably and affordably.
A cornerstone of that effort is the new Holland Energy Park, and a Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore event offers the first chance for a public visit to the facility on Tuesday, Oct.10. The event is limited to 80 guests, so an RSVP is required at http://bit.ly/visit-holland-energy-park.

The new power plant at the Holland Energy Park is a key part of Holland’s groundbreaking Community Energy Plan. Photo courtesy of the City of Holland.

Holland Board of Public Work (HBPW) General Manager, David Koster, will discuss how the Holland Energy Park is helping the city to meet our goals in becoming a more sustainable community.  After the presentation, guests will have the opportunity to walk around and see the new energy education center on a self-guided tour.  HBPW staff will be stationed around the facility and able to answer questions.  Door prizes will include home energy efficiency resource totes.
The City of Holland’s long-range Community Energy Plan is a 40-year plan to become a world-class leader in energy security, affordability, sustainability, and efficiency.  To see the full report, please visit:  http://www.cityofholland.com/sustainability/holland-community-energy-plan.
The Holland Energy Park fulfills three core functions: to be a world-class resource that provides a sustainable and long-term energy source and is an educational hub; to be a destination that provides activities for the public to
connect the community; and to be a gateway-enhancing eastern access into the City of Holland.
In July 2016, the Holland Energy Park received the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Platinum award recognizing the sustainability of public infrastructure. Holland Energy Park is the first-in- the-country base load power generating plant to receive an Envision rating!
Paved walking trails around the plant are connected to miles of protected Macatawa Greenway space throughout the Holland/Zeeland community.
We look forward to having you join us as we learn more about Holland Energy Park and opportunities that lay ahead for Holland.

If You Go
What: Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore-Holland Energy Park
Where: Holland Energy Park, 1 Energy Park Way, Holland
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday Oct. 10
RSVP: http://bit.ly/visit-holland-energy-park

Please save the date for these other upcoming Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore events.  The November and January events will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Herrick District Library.
 “Community and Neighborhood:  Recycling, It’s not just 3R’s.  Hint: It’s 8R’s,” Tuesday, Nov. 14.
 “Economic Development: Forecasting a Sustainable Government,” Tuesday, Jan. 9.
To see recordings of past events and details about other upcoming community events, visit the “Events” section at www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute or you can follow us on Facebook by searching for “Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore.”

 Michelle Gibbs, is the director of the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.  The vision for the institute is a healthy and economically vibrant community that promotes environmental stewardship and mutual respect for people and the planet. Our mission is to foster collaborative efforts to infuse sustainability into the minds and practices of the greater Holland community.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme:
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.

September 2017 Sustainability News

September 2017 Sustainability News

September 29, 2017 – Part II: Armed with Science, Backed by Law, They are the Voices of the Water

September 29, 2017 – Letter: Elementary conclusions on climate change

September 28, 2017 – Local farmers say apples survived recent heat

September 28, 2017 – Local Favorites: Ah, the crunch of a fresh Michigan apple

September 28, 2017 – Ottawa County works to save monarch butterfly population

September 28, 2017 – Ottawa Food Strategic Plan is now available on the Ottawa Food website

September 28, 2017 – GVSU honey for sale in Holland

September 28, 2017 – Holland Christian crafting diversity and inclusion plan

September 28, 2017 – Palisades Power Plant to continue operations until spring 2022

September 27, 2017 – Water levels coming down in Lake Michigan

September 27, 2017 – Yet another study concludes that global warming is real

September 27, 2017 – Healthcare Wants More Sustainability Strategies, J&J Finds

September 27, 2017 – Seasonal fruit makes for tasty regional cobblers

September 27, 2017 – Four ways to preserve summer tastes from your garden

September 27, 2017 – Nike Introduces Recycled Leather Material for Shoes

September 27, 2017 – Carbon Capture Could Benefit Environment and Boost Industry’s Output, Energy Secretary Says

September 26, 2017 – Holland Christian fourth-graders learn energy efficiency

September 26, 2017 – Smart, kid-friendly options for after-school snacking

September 26, 2017 – 500 gallons of sewer discharged at BPW lift station

September 25, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Fixing four problems at a zero-waste business

September 25, 2017 – We Have Time to Meet Climate Goals, Study Says – but Not for the Reason You Might Think

September 25, 2017 – Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

September 24, 2017 – Get ready for pea milk. It doesn’t taste like peas and it’s not even green

September 22, 2017 – Plastics Shortages, Price Increases Result from Harvey’s Aftermath

September 24, 2017 – Michigan House bill package would address environmental curriculum, issues in schools

September 23, 2017 – What will be cut next in the over-budgeted Civic Center project?

September 21, 2017 – West Michigan’s new education buildings: student-inspired technology, aesthetic, and sustainability

September 20, 2017 – ROE (Return on Environment) is the new ROI: how sustainability drives business success

September 20, 2017 – Why 2 degrees Celsius more warming limit so important

September 20, 2017 – Climate change puts fish in hot water

September 20, 2017 – Linking the generations with Grandparents Day

September 19, 2017 – Mapping-out climate change impacts on real life

September 19, 2017 – How warm oceans can turn coral reefs into graveyards

September 19, 2017 – Sustainability Gets Greater Focus From US Cotton Industry

September 19, 2017 – EPA May Reconsider Rules for Disposing of Coal Ash, Used in Everyday Products

September 19, 2017 – Holland wins international floral competition

September 18, 2017 – Little Hawks Preschool cuts ribbon on school expansion

September 18, 2017 – LED technology offers bright ideas for saving money

September 18, 2017 – Michigan Small Businesses Save $21 Million Yearly Through Efficiencies

September 17, 2017 – Michigan Trails Week: discover your next outdoor adventure

September 17, 2017 – Holland-area schools see big gains, losses from school choice

September 17, 2017 – Michigan SAT scores slightly increase in second year

September 16, 2017 – Holland Wins in International Competition!

September 15, 2017 – Socially Responsible Investing Takes Clearing a Few Hurdles

September 15, 2017 – Weaver House deck reconstruction begins, legal action may follow

September 15, 2017 – As the climate warms, snakes could slither north

September 13, 2017 – 3 easy DIY STEM projects for kids

September 13, 2017 – How to Quantify Sustainability’s Impact on Your Bottom Line

September 12, 2017 – 5 food trends impacting what, and how, we eat

September 12, 2017 – Bringing sustainability home is as easy as ABC

September 11, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Water conservation is vital

September 11, 2017 – Organic Agriculture Builds Healthy Soil, Stores More Carbon, Study Says

September 11, 2017 – Trump’s Pick for Ag Department Post Pushes for Sustainable Farming Incentives

September 11, 2017 – In the Wake of Harvey, EPA Critiqued After Decision to Delay Risk Management Plan

September 10, 2017 – With season wrapping up, Lake Michigan waters are testing clean

September 10, 2017 – Lost in Suburbia: Here’s some organic food for thought

September 10, 2017 – Michigan Bookshelf: ‘The Living Great Lakes’

September 10, 2017 – Minority, low-income students struggle on M-STEP

September 10, 2017 – Local businesses prepare for winter months

September 9, 2017 – ‘Booming’ building industry caused Civic Center budget shortfall: consultant

September 8, 2017 – Hope to hold forum on plastic debris in water

September 8, 2017 – Yes: Harvey shows climate change is real

September 8, 2017 – Hope student wins national chemistry award

September 8, 2017 – Even kids can have a role in helping after natural disasters


September 7, 2017 – League of women voters takes stand on DACA repeal, kicks off new season

September 7, 2017 – Colombia Embracing Sustainable Design at Universidad EAN

September 6, 2017 – Plastic Fibers Are Found in 83% of the World’s Tap Water, a New Study Reveals

September 6, 2017 – New teacher resources aim to help students understand religion’s role in world affairs

September 6, 2017 – Hurricane Harvey Left Massive Amounts of Industrial Pollution in its Wake

September 4, 2017 – Living Sustainably: Workshop focuses on watershed and quality of life

September 3, 2017 – Holland continues to get less funding for low-income programs

September 1, 2017 – DOE Releases 1 Million Barrels of Crude Oil From Emergency Reserve