LIVING SUSTAINABLY: Have yourself a merry greener Christmas!

By Anthony Aragon Orozco, Hope College Green Team
The holidays are upon us! Which is also the time we might panic, wondering what am I going to get for who, how will I decorate the house, and what on earth will I make to eat for the holidays this year?
I’m sure we all have our yearly traditions and have grown used to certain ways of doing things, but have you asked yourself if what you are doing is worth the expense of harming this wonderful planet we all know and love?

Maybe we can think about starting new traditions this year that can make the holidays greener – healthier for the planet and for us. Here are some facts to ponder:
 Americans throw away 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
 35 percent of Americans have unused presents sitting in their closets.
 About half of the paper consumed in America is used to wrap presents and consumer products.

In light of that, consider these tips for having a greener holiday:
Holiday cards and gifts
 Consider upgrading your family’s holiday card by sending e-cards this year.
 If you do buy paper cards, consider purchasing one that provides a donation to a favorite charity.
 Buy gifts locally to support your local businesses and the local economy.
 Consider gifting a membership to an organization of the person’s interest or an online magazine.
 When buying electronics, look for energy efficient models, normally tagged with an Energy Star label by the EPA.

Packaging/ Gift Wrapping
 Reuse any boxes or bags that you kept from previous gifts.
 Put gifts in reusable packaging such as bags, baskets, or fabric wrappers.
 Find gift wrap that is made with post-consumer recycled content.

Holiday Decoration
 Consider buying a live tree with a root ball, native to the area, that can be planted in your yard after Christmas.
 If you plan to purchase or already have an artificial tree, be sure to use it for as many years as possible.
 Consider using few or no lights in your decorations.
 Invest in energy efficient LED lights, which can use up to 90 percent less energy and can last up to 100,000 hours.
 Make your own decorations using items at home or purchased from local businesses.

Have a Green Holiday Dinner
 Buy from your local farm market and research healthy recipe alternatives.
 Buy beverages and snacks in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging.
 Serve food in washable/reusable plates and utensils.
 Consider heart healthy dishes.
Have a Merry – and green – Christmas and a sustainable New Year!

 Anthony Aragon Orozco is a first-year engineering major at Hope College and an intern with the Hope College Green Team, which works towards creating a more sustainable community, on and off-campus, through outreach and education.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Recycle, get new Christmas lights and save at Light Exchange

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works
Did you know holiday string lights cannot be recycled in everyday recycling?
Light strings not only contain a large amount of rubber and plastic, and sometimes glass, but also copper. These materials do not biodegrade easily, and copper is a valuable metal.
But by participating in the Holiday Light Exchange hosted by the Holland Board of Public Works, you are helping to reduce landfill waste.
The Holiday Light Exchange is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, in the Holland Board of Public Works Customer Service lobby at 625 Hastings Ave., Holland. BPW customers can come and exchange old incandescent holiday string lights for new Energy Star-certified LED strings of lights.
Old lights will be properly recycled at Padnos Recycling. Each Holland BPW electric customer is eligible for up to two new LED strings, provided that two or more old strings are turned in. These LED strings meet the strict energy efficiency requirements for the Energy Star certification program, set by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, each customer will receive a nightlight and be able to choose a floodlight or a regular light bulb.
Christmas lighting began as candles perched on Christmas tree limbs in 17th  century Germany. Once the light bulb was created in the 19th  century, string lights followed fairly quickly. The tradition of elaborate string light decoration developed throughout the 20th  century.

A 2008 U.S. Department of Energy study found that decorative holiday lighting accounts for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption across the country. This equates to running 14 million refrigerators and exceeds the total electric consumption of many developing countries.
That energy use can be trimmed. In recent years, Americans have switched to LED string lights, which use at least 70 percent less energy than incandescent strings.
In addition, unlike incandescent lights, LED strings do not have filaments, which can heat up and burn out. LED strings of lights last much longer, are sturdier, emit little to no heat, and still have a warm glow.
They also save you energy and, therefore, money, are safer overall, and are better for the environment. The DOE states that a single strand of LED lights can last up to 40 years. And it costs 27 cents to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs versus $10 for incandescent string lights. In addition, up to 25 strings can be connected without shorting a circuit due to their efficiency.
Holland BPW customers recycled 237 pounds of string lights in 2016, and 661 pounds in 2017. Help us make it to 700 pounds recycled this year! See you Nov. 30.
 Morgan Kelley is conservation programs specialist at Holland Board of Public Works and leads the residential energy waste reduction and water conservation programs.

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.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: You Can Stomp out a Smaller Carbon Footprint

By Karey Frink’18, Intern for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

Many factors make up each person’s carbon footprint, as shown in this illustration. Source: Ohio State University Extension

Carbon footprint.  This is term we are hearing used more often, but what really does that mean?
Carbon footprints are often thought about in terms of transportation habits. However, every person’s carbon footprint is comprised of much more.
Here’s a complete definition from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change: A carbon footprint is,“The total amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere each year by a person, family, building, organization, or company. A person’s carbon footprint includes greenhouse gas emissions from fuel that he or she burns directly, such as by heating a home or riding in a car. It also includes greenhouse gases that come from producing the goods or services that the person uses, including emissions from power plants that make electricity, factories that make products, and landfills where trash gets sent.”
Did you know that you can actually estimate your carbon footprint? Calculators can measure a variety of variables to reach a good estimation of your total annual carbon consumption.
To calculate your individual carbon footprint, The Nature Conservatory has a simple to use, free calculator at www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/consider-your-impact/carbon-calculator/. It takes into account travel, home, food, and shopping habits, and will report your carbon footprint in tons of carbon dioxide per year. It also will show how you rank compared to the average consumer.
Once you understand what your impact is, you can consider ways to reduce it. The same Nature Conservatory website has recommendations for reducing your transportation, household and shopping impact.
More locally, the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute website, hope.edu/sustainability-institute, includes resources to help community members reduce their environmental impact. These resources include information about Holland’s Home Retrofit Program, greening your commute, as well as looking local first when buying things.
Ultimately, the quickest and most significant step to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce or eliminate consumption where possible. Purchasing less, changing your diet, unplugging unused electronics, and utilizing natural light can quickly reduce carbon impact.

This chart shows the sources of greenhouse gases in the Holland community’s carbon footprint. The total of 735,200 metric tons in 2015 is down from 795,200 in 2010.
Source: Holland 40-Year Community Energy Plan

The City of Holland is also monitoring the whole community’s impact in terms of greenhouse gases as part of its 40 Year Community Energy Plan efforts. Find out more at https://www.cityofholland.com/sustainability/holland-community-energy-plan. In 2010, Holland’s carbon footprint was 24 metric tons per capita. By 2015, it was down to 22 tons. With the impact of reductions at the Holland Energy Park, that 2017 number is estimated to have gone down to 17 tons.

Information about Hope College’s Carbon Footprint can be found here:  https://hope.edu/offices/sustainability/campus-sustainability/greenhouse-gas-inventory.html

So why should you care?  Monitoring your individual impact will give you power over your consumption habits. It’s easy to think that our individual impacts may seem insignificant. However, collectively as a society, as we make these changes, we will start to see the impact of these changes.
 Karey Frink is an intern for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute and will be graduating from Hope College in December with a degree in communication and a minor in environmental science.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Living Sustainably program will sort out recycling questions

By Michelle Gibbs, Office of Sustainability
Quick quiz: Which of these items can you recycle in Holland’s yellow curbside recycling bags?

  1. Plastic milk carton
  2. Paper milk carton
  3. Paper
  4. Junk mail
  5. Styrofoam cups
  6. Plastic bags
  7. Cereal boxes
    Think you know?
    The answers may surprise you.
    For example, while plastic milk cartons can be recycled at the city of Holland’s waste hauler Republic Services, lids cannot. Neither can paper milk cartons (although third-party recyclers such as TerraCycle can). For the rest of the answers, keep reading.
    Want to know more about what can and cannot be recycled in the City of Holland? “Stump Our Recycling Chumps!” is coming to Herrick District Library – and Facebook Live – in the next Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore presentation. The public is encouraged to bring their toughest recycling questions to see if they can stump Holland’s local experts.
    The recycling initiatives and sorting practices of Republic, the new city-wide waste hauler will also be discussed.
    The evening will kick off with a short presentation on the new waste-hauling contract between the city of Holland and Republic as well as about new international rules and how they impact people locally.
    Then it will be time for members of the in-person and online audiences to “stump our recycling chumps.”
    The panel of “chumps” will be:
    Aaron Thelenwood – City of Holland solid waste/recycling and sustainability coordinator;
    Ken Freestone, Angela Fox and Dan Boersma – co-founders of greenmichigan.org;
    Tom Mahoney – Republic Services general manager.
    And now the answers to the quiz: What can be recycled in the city of Holland’s curbside program?
    Paper, junk mail and cereal boxes are all OK! Styrofoam cups and plastic bags don’t belong in the city’s yellow recycling bags, although many grocery stores accept the grocery bags for recycling.
    Want to know more?
    Stump Our Recycling Chumps!, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, will have all the answers. Participate in person or on Facebook, where the event will live stream over the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Facebook page.
    This event also is part of Holland’s annual participation in the “America Recycles Day.” Go to americarecyclesday.org/ to learn more. And go to www.cityofholland.com/solidwasteandrecycling for more about City of Holland recycling.
     Michelle Gibbs is director of the Office of Sustainability at Hope College and director of Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Less stuff is more sustainable

By Sarah Irvin, DeGraaf Nature Center

This chart gives ideas for sustainable living, by beginning at the bottom of the pyramid when exploring ways to meet needs.

We live in an age of consumption, as evident in our overflowing and expanding homes, garages, and external storage facilities.
Studies have shown this accumulation is not making us any happier and comes with a cost to both people and our environment. So, we need to think about the impact of our purchases. Sustainable consumption supports our economy, provides for the wellbeing of people worldwide, and protects the planet, according to a group called the Global Development Research Center
To live sustainably, we must first confront the notion of “need,” which is drastically different from a “want.” Once an actual need is realized, we can refer to Sarah Lazarovic’s “Buyerarchy of Needs,” which shows ways to meet a need with the least social and environmental impact. The idea is to explore the lowest impact options first, such as using what you have or perhaps borrowing, with buying something new only considered after all other options have been exhausted.
Another consideration is the lifespan impact of a purchase, beginning with the sourcing of materials, to manufacturing, use, and eventual disposal.
This holiday season is a great opportunity to start buying more sustainably. Consider buying gifts that are gentle on the planet, socially responsible, and meet a need of the person you’re buying for. When buying new, look to purchase from companies that are a Certified B Corporation. These are companies that have committed to considering impacts on workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment. Or look to support other companies that prioritize employee’s well-being, minimize packaging, use renewable or recycled materials, or whose products can later be donated, recycled, or composted.
Other ideas for sustainable gifts move away from giving material objects. Scientific studies have found ways of getting more bang – or rather, happiness – for our buck.

One way to reduce the clutter of stuff more sustainable – is to gift people with experiences, such as tickets to a play, an event like Hope Christmas Vespers or science camps for kids.

One idea is to invest in experiences instead of material goods. Examples are tickets for an event or skill-learning class; membership to a museum, park or zoo, or being generous with time, such as offering help with a project or learning a hobby together. Gifting experiences also have the benefit of including a memory to revisit.

Another idea is to use money to benefit others instead of the individual you are gifting. Donate to a cause that a person cares about, use money to create and distribute care packages for disadvantaged persons, or purchase from organizations that use profits to benefit local or global causes.
Our ultimate goal should be to pursue joy and generosity regardless of physical belongings.
Following these guidelines will create more complex decisions, but nothing is more deserving of investment than products that minimally impact people and the Earth.
 Sarah Irvin is an intern naturalist at the City of Hollands DeGraaf Nature Center.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Fall and winter are local food seasons, too

By Madison Ostrander  ’17
Eating seasonally is one of the best ways to thank your community and environment. Doing so feels especially whimsical and effortless in the spring, summer, and early fall, when the Holland Farmers Market is filled with beautiful flowers, fresh fruits, and a wide variety of vegetables.
But with cold and snow coming, many believe that means the end of eating locally. I’m writing, however, to fill you in on a little secret: The end of the growing season does not signify the end of the abundance of available produce in Holland!
As the temperatures are dropping along with your motivation to leave the house, harvest still happens. That’s whats so great about eating seasonally: The season will change and introduce new goodies which create opportunities to try new recipes.
Are you new to eating seasonally, haven’t started yet, or simply wondering what you can expect to see at the market from now on? How about treats like these:
 Apples
 Squash
 Broccoli
 Cauliflower
 Greens
 Brussel sprouts
 Grapes
 Leeks
 Carrots

This list of late-season items is pulled straight from the Holland Farmers Market website. Anytime you’re seeking up-to-date information about what farmers are offering, visit www.hollandfarmersmarket.com.
Knowing what’s available at the market can inspire seasonal soups, roasts, or enticing side dishes for dinners. Make your own soup stock by freezing your vegetable scraps until that icy cold day leaves you craving hot soup. And if you’re craving something sweet, try your hand at making applesauce, crisps, or pies.
The Michigan Farmers Market Association has an abundance of great recipes for using seasonal and local produce at this page: www.mifma.org/recipes/.
And the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems has put together a guide outlining when different fruits and vegetables are available in our state. Check for the mobile or print-at-home versions at www.canr.msu.edu/foodsystems/resources/.
As a reminder, the Holland market also accepts EBT Bridge Cards and Double Up Food Bucks.  If you have questions about this program, call (616)355-1138.
Although we all might be mourning the loss of those delectable late summer tomatoes, not all is lost.
The Holland Farmers Market continues every Wednesday and Saturday until Dec. 22. You’ll find tasty treats like breads, syrups, potatoes, kale, carrots, and beets.
Earlier this summer I wrote about the health, environmental, and economic benefits of supporting local growers. Now, although the ground will soon be covered in snow, that doesn’t mean we have to stop supporting our local growers.  Visiting the farmers market in the winter is still a fun family activity; you just might need an extra layer on.  See you there!
 Madison Ostrander studied business and English writing at Hope College. After spending a summer interning on a farm in Holland, her love and passion for sustainable and local living has only grown stronger.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Business talent pipeline begins with Ready for School

Employees of Herman Miller and Mead Johnson Nutrition were among those who filled donated backpacks with school supplies for nearly 120 students heading to kindergarten.

By Shandra Martinez, Ready for School
Herman Miller employees were among the volunteers who fanned out to meet soon-to-be kindergarten students on a sunny August morning to personally present each child with a bright green backpack. Inside each was an outfit of pants, shirt, and shoes, plus school supplies, such as a pencil box, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, and a folder.
The backpacks offer a tangible expression of how the local non-profit organization Ready for School helps prepare students by giving them the tools they need for a strong start in school.
“These things help to build that excitement for day one for somebody who might be a little bit nervous about starting this educational journey,” said Alison Freas, a former teacher who now works as the educational lead for the Herman Miller Cares Foundation.

By helping build excitement for the first day of school, donated backpacks with clothing and school supplies are part of the Ready for School mission.

Kindergarten readiness is a community issue. Herman Miller knew from the beginning that Ready for School was a wise long-term investment in solutions to carry children, families and our community forward.
Science tells us that children’s first five years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning. A decade ago, the Zeeland furniture maker recognized the opportunity to level the playing field for children when their potential for brain building moments was at its strongest.

So Herman Miller was among the first of a dozen companies to begin supporting the community-led initiative that aimed to make sure more local children entered kindergarten prepared for success in school and life.
By expanding access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities, companies were closing the achievement gap and supporting the earliest stage of the talent pipeline.
“This was consistent with our belief that if we’re really going to create the workforce of the future, and we’re really going to take care of communities, it had to start with opportunities for the littlest of the little,” says Michael Ramirez, Herman Miller’s longtime executive vice president of people, places, and administration.
Ramirez feels a personal commitment to the organization’s mission. He remained on the Ready for School board of directors even after stepping down from Herman Miller’s leadership team in early 2018.
While volunteers were distributing backpacks, he and his wife Molly were busy setting up to grill and serve hotdogs for lunch.  “We all know the studies say if kids aren’t taken care of wholistically by third grade, the chance of them being successful going forward is pretty tough,” Ramirez said.
Image result for ready for schoolThis summer, Herman Miller Cares and Zeeland neighbor Mead Johnson Nutrition each rallied their employees to fill donated backpacks with school supplies for nearly 120 Start School Ready students heading to kindergarten.
A signature program of Ready for School, Start School Ready is a four-week “kindergarten bootcamp” that boosts children’s early literacy and social-emotional skills that equate to kindergarten readiness and sustained school success – aligning the pre-K and K-12 system.
 Shandra Martinez serves on Ready for School’s Communications Committee. Shandra has been covering West Michigan since 1993 as a business reporter and writer.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge and energy of the community is an incredible resource that must be channeled to where it is needed.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Energy seminar focuses on comfort, health, savings

By Andrea Goodell, Herrick District Library
Image result for lower the thermostatMaking your home more comfortable, healthy and cost-effective doesn’t have to break the bank.  Everyone knows the No. 1 tip: Lower your thermostat a couple of degrees in winter and raise it a couple of degrees in summer. (You won’t notice the difference, but you’ll notice the savings.)
There are dozens of no- or low-cost ways to save energy and money. Here are a few:
 Foam gaskets for electrical outlets can lower your energy bill quickly, Holland Residential Energy Advisor Ken Freestone said. Seal leaks around doors and windows, too.
 Fans are an economical way of cooling off or circulating air, but they don’t make the room itself cooler, so they should be turned off when no one is there to enjoy them. Ceiling fans should blow down in the summer to cool and up in the winter to circulate air.
 Holland Board of Public Works customers can receive free LED bulbs at one of its giveaways. The next one is Oct. 12; check the BPW’s Facebook page for details. The BPWalso offers rebates for LEDs, energy efficient appliances and other energy-saving purchases (hollandbpw.com/my-home/energy-efficiency-programs-and-rebates).
 Spending a little more for a programmable or smart thermostat will help control energy use.
 Change furnace filters every month and get a tune-up at least once a year. Preventative maintenance is much cheaper than repairs. It also keeps your furnace running efficiently, lowering monthly heating bills. SEMCO offers a $50 rebate for boiler or furnace tune-ups.
 Check out a free energy evaluation kit from Herrick District Library or Van Wylen Library. Each kit contains simple technology and instructions to measure your home’s humidity and energy usage and an infrared thermometer to find energy leaks.
However, these efforts are about more than just saving energy, Freestone said. “It is about making homes healthier, safer and more comfortable – and about saving energy, too.”
Learn more about doing all that at Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore’s next event, “Comfort, Health, and Savings: Smart Energy at Home.” It begins 6 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Holland Energy Park with an expo, with the program at 6:30.
Space is limited so registration at http://bit.ly/LSATLenergyevent is required.
Also at the event, Freestone will outline a grant program and financing options from the city and BPW for help with bigger energy retrofit projects, as well as low-interest financing available to anyone in Michigan.
Self-guided tours of the Energy Education Center will be available, too.
Homeowner Roy Cole, who has gone through the city’s Home Energy Retrofit program, will also speak.
“The Home Energy Retrofit program helped us cut our electricity usage by more than half,” Cole said. “The solar panels and insulation will pay for themselves in around five years. … As for the house, no more drafts, icicles on the roof, excessive humidity or dryness, or noise from the street.”
 Andrea Goodell is community relations associate at Herrick District Library.  Herrick is one of the founding members of the series.

If You Go
What: “Comfort, Health, and Savings: Smart Energy at Home.”
When: 6 p.m. Oct. 9
Where: The Holland Energy Park, 1 Energy Park Way, Holland.
Register: Required at http://bit.ly/LSATLenergyevent

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.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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: Harvest Festival Saturday Celebrates Hope and Inclusion

By Sara Hogan, Benjamin’s Hope

Harvest Festival at Benjamin’s Hope has become a much-anticipated annual event that inspires hope for hundreds of families in West Michigan impacted by disability. The entire community is welcome for this annual family-friendly evening of fun.
Families will enjoy pony cart rides, hayrides, roasting marshmallows around a campfire, games, and more at the Harvest Festival, 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at Benjamin’s Hope. Also on tap will be live music with Left Hand Link and hands-on fun with the animals in the barn.
Benjamin’s Hope is a unique inclusive community at 15468 Riley St. on Holland’s north side. It also is an excellent example of how sustainability is enhanced by vital and effective communities.
For Benjamin’s Hope founder, Krista Mason, Harvest Festival is the fullest expression of the vision for an inclusive community where all every people are valued and celebrated.
Krista and her husband, Dave, understand how hard it can be for parents to imagine what the adult life might look like for a child with autism. Their youngest son, Ben, now 22, is profoundly affected by autism. Today autism affects one in 59 children, according to government statistics.
Benjamin's Hope“Ben had a very intensive early intervention,” said Krista Mason, now executive director of Benjamin’s Hope. “As we moved through years of specialized programming, Ben made progress. Yet, he did not develop the ability to speak or function independently.”
Dave and Krista began to think about his future less in terms of independence and more in terms of interdependence. And the vision was born for Benjamin’s Hope, a “live, work, play, worship” community for people with autism.
The non-profit now serves 30 adults in six farm-style semi-independent homes with big front porches and individual apartments. The Church of Ben’s Hope is flourishing, and attended by over 150 people from across the county and beyond every Sunday at 6 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.
The debt-free organization serves as a thriving example of public-private partnership, all of which is celebrated with the community each year at Harvest Festival. Come visit and learn more!
 Sara Hogan is director of ministry support at Benjamin’s Hope. To learn more about Benjamin’s Hope and how you can connect, visit www.benjaminshope.net and follow Benjamin’s Hope on Facebook.

If You Go:
Benjamin’s Hope Harvest Festival
Free to any families in the community
5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29
15468 Riley St., Holland
More at: facebook.com/events/688379761502096/

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme:
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.

ABOUT THIS SERIES
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.

JIM AND MARTIE BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER EARNS LEED GOLD CERTIFICATION

JIM AND MARTIE BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER EARNS LEED GOLD CERTIFICATION; WOOD FROM STORM-FELLED TREES LINKS PAST AND PRESENT

September 17, 2018 — by Greg Olgers

Organizations seeking LEED certification for their construction projects have many ways to earn it, including by using regional materials. In developing the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center, which recently received LEED Gold certification, Hope College integrated a meaningful resource from mere yards away: wood saved from venerable campus elms that were felled by a storm.

The trees were lost in a thunderstorm that caused damage throughout the Holland area in June 2011.  Hope saved the trunks and turned them into boards to be used some day in a way that commemorated the trees’ long tenure at the college.

The student center, which is in the central campus, provided the opportunity, with construction beginning in 2015 for a fall 2017 opening.  Boards from an elm estimated to have been 164 years old (older than Hope, chartered in 1866) panel the east wall of the building’s chapel.  A wall in a large, multi-use room and the wall and bench work surrounding the main lounge’s fireplace also feature wood from campus.

“The trees were present for generations as students attended Hope,” said Dr. Richard Frost, who is vice president for student development and dean of students at the college.  “The boards made from them provide a connection between the past, present and future.  Just as importantly, the wood has become a significant element in the student center being designated as a LEED Gold building.”

Image result for leed goldThe center is the second newly constructed building in a row at the college to earn LEED certification, with plans underway for a hat trick.  The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts that opened in August 2015 holds LEED Silver certification, and Hope will also be seeking certification for the new Campus Ministries building that is under construction and scheduled to be completed next fall.

“Sustainability is an ongoing commitment for us, and constructing buildings with concern for the environment is an important part of that commitment,” said Kara Slater, who is director of operations at the college and is a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP).  “In the same way, the college is dedicated to exercising good stewardship in its day-to-day operations, whether it’s the water-efficient irrigation that we use across campus, installing LED lighting or through the cleaning materials that we use.”

Read the full press release here:

https://hope.edu/news/2018/campus-life/jim-and-martie-bultman-student-center-earns-leed-gold-certification-wood-from-storm-felled-trees-links-past-and-present.html