Living Sustainably: Free trees can help cut energy use

A properly planted tree can help a homeowner save up to 20 percent on energy use. And Holland Board of Public Works residential electric customers can reserve a free tree this spring to strategically plant in their yards to save energy and lower utility bills. Image result for arbor day and right tree right place

From the Arbor Day Foundation, the Energy-Saving Trees program began in 2012, and operates in 37 U.S. states. More than 70 organizations have participated, including utility companies, city governments, state governments, corporations, and nonprofits. This is the first time the program has been offered in Michigan.
The Holland BPW and the City of Holland are partnering to provide 300 trees in four species.
Customers may choose from among red maple, river birch, royal star magnolia, or prairie fire crabapple.
These species thrive in our climate and soil conditions, and will help the urban canopy move from 25 percent to the city’s goal of 36 percent. In addition, trees absorb carbon dioxide, and will help drive Holland’s Community Energy Plan goal of cutting per capita greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050.
Developed by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Energy-Saving Trees program educates homeowners about the benefits of strategic tree planting for energy savings using an online mapping tool.

The tool was created by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the USDA Forest Service’s i-Tree software to help participants plant trees in the most strategic location in their yards. The tool calculates the estimated
benefits of the selected tree, including cost savings associated with reduced energy bills, cleaner air, reduced carbon dioxide emissions, and improved storm water management. When planted properly, a single tree can save a homeowner up to 20 percent on energy costs.
While using the tool, customers will see their property and utility lines and will be able to select a species, position it, and learn if it is in an optimal spot. If the tree is positioned in a safe place and submitted, a confirmation email will be sent to the customer once HBPW staff confirm its placement.
Customers will need to call MissDig within the week before receiving their tree, as it is very important to know where to dig to avoid utility conflicts. Customers will be provided with tree care, maintenance, and placement resources upon registering, and at the time of pick up.
Registration is open from Feb. 11 to mid-April, or until supplies last, at www.arborday.org/HBPW.

For people who have a confirmed order from their online registration, the trees will be distributed at a pickup event on Saturday morning, April 27, at the BPW Service Center, 625 Hastings Ave, Holland, from 8 a.m. to noon. At the pickup, participants should be sure to either print their order confirmation or have it readily available on a phone. We hope to see you there!
 Morgan Kelley is conservation programs specialist at Holland Board of Public Works and leads the residential energy waste reduction programs.

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.

Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution – Thursday, February 21

Please join the Macatawa Creation Care Group on Thursday, February 21 in Graves Hall for a film screening of “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution.”

Doors open at 5:45, and the film starts at 6:00. The film will be followed by a panel of representatives from the City Of Holland, Holland Board of Public Works, and West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnership.

View the trailer here: https://happeningthemovie.com/

““I know it’s going to change because when I talk to young people, they are not even questioning that it’s happening, they just understand it.  I feel like it’s just happening.”  Lisa Jackson Vice President Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Apple Inc.”

SYNOPSIS:  Filmmaker James Redford embarks on a colorful personal journey into the dawn of the clean energy era as it creates jobs, turns profits, and makes communities stronger and healthier across the US. Unlikely entrepreneurs in communities from Georgetown, TX to Buffalo, NY reveal pioneering clean energy solutions while James’ discovery of how clean energy works, and what it means at a personal level, becomes the audiences’ discovery too. Reaching well beyond a great story of technology and innovation, “Happening” explores issues of human resilience, social justice, embracing the future, and finding hope for our survival.

Living Sustainably: It’s all about global “weirding”

By Sarah Irvin, Naturalist at DeGraaf Nature Center

Climate change is altering wind patterns, affecting bird migrations and forcing birds, such as this pine siskin, to adapt their behaviors.

Climate is defined as the weather in a particular area over a large time period, which unveils patterns when recorded, allowing us to create models that mimic and make predictions.
Unfortunately, climate trends will become increasingly more challenging to predict as temperatures and precipitation events shift; the phenomenon that we have named “global warming” might more accurately be called “global weirding.”
While it is true that the planet is warming on average, it is the ever-increasing rate of change and values outside of acceptable climate variability that are concerning.

Changes in temperature patterns are altering when flowers bloom, affecting human allergies and insect behaviors.

The U.S. Global Climate Change Research Program conducted an evaluation and concluded the following about what types of changes to expect in the Midwest over the next century:
 Plants: In the early growing season, agricultural yields will be reduced by rising temperatures, excessive soil moisture, and erosion from increased rain. In the late growing season, invasive species and pests currently stressing our plants will worsen from an increased frequency of drought. Water stress on all plants will eventually lead to a lowered species diversity and productivity in our forests.

Climate changes are altering ice cover on Lake Michigan, which can affect evaporation, water temperatures and health of the water ecosystem.

 Water: Our Great Lakes are not receiving the annual ice cover that we are used to seeing, allowing evaporation to occur year-round (with summer evaporation rates increasing).
Changes in water level and temperature can stress native species, creating opportunities for invasive species and toxic algal blooms.
An Environmental Protection Agency study projects that decline in water quality, along with increased storm impacts, will negatively affect Michigan coastal communities.

 Animals: Migrating birds will fight stronger headwinds on a longer journey south, but return with the push of the wind, allowing them to conserve energy and arrive at their breeding grounds healthier. Biologists’ already are seeing birds adapting their flight paths and have hope that the gradual nature of the change will allow them to continue to adjust.
But they also note that imbalanced adaptations in lifecycles or bloom times could decrease food availability across all animals.
At the same time, ecosystem services such as flood control, water purification, and crop pollination provided by plants and animals will decrease as species diversity declines and habitats degrade.

 People: With warming temperatures, pollen seasons will likely extend, impacting people with seasonal allergies. And within our human infrastructure, we can expect property damage and disrupted transportation from increased heavy rain events, subsequent flooding, and erosion, according to the assessment. Most people will notice these changes slowly, but those already vulnerable will only become more so.
With the vast interconnected nature of our environment, no change can happen in isolation. Change is a natural, unavoidable part of our planet. We just have to do what we can to limit our impact, and thwart the speed and scale of changes occurring now.

 Sarah Irvin holds degrees in geology and terrestrial ecology and is a naturalist at DeGraaf Nature Center. The views expressed here are hers alone and not representative of 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: “Sustainable literacy” is a good goal for 2019

By Michelle Gibbs, Office of Sustainability

Sustainability comes from the intersection of a balanced approach to a healthy environment, vibrant economy and equitable society.

With the recent turning of the new year and a new school semester starting this week, it is a great time to set a personal goal of “sustainable literacy.”
But what does this mean?  The United Nations shares that “sustainability literacy is the knowledge, skills and mindsets that allow individuals to become deeply committed to building a sustainable future and assisting in making informed and effective decisions to this end.”
Sustainability has been described in a number of ways, but the most common definition comes from the United Nations Brundtland Report (1987): “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Another common description comes from an ancient philosophy, The Great Law of the Iroquois, which calls for thinking about the “seventh generation” – a timeframe of approximately 140 years.

With both of these descriptions, thinking about how our choices today will impact the environment and future generations, especially far into the future, is a critical piece of creating a sustainable world.
So how do we do this?  We can implement the “triple bottom line” approach and think not only about the traditional bottom line (or the dollars) impact, but also bring to light the environmental and social impacts.  The triple bottom line encompasses economics, social equity, and the environment, now and into the future.

Starting at an early age, children can learn about the natural world as well as about their community and how they are a part of both of these systems – and start gaining sustainable literacy.

Sustainability is an important concept for everyone to apply and is really “K to gray learning.”
Starting at an early age, children can learn about the natural world as well as their community and how they are a part of both of these systems.  As we get older, we can learn about ways our daily choices have an impact on others and the planet, and we can make more thoughtful choices.

 

“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect,” said the great naturalist Aldo Leopold.

Kids and adults can plug into sustainable literacy in Holland in many ways, including:
 Get outside and take classes at one of our amazing local parks or nature centers.
 Kiddos can participate in summer camps offered by Hope College’s ExploreHope Program.
 Participate in local, state, and national government decisions.
 Head to Herrick District Library or one of our great local bookstores to find reading materials.
 Learn more about Holland’s Sustainability Framework at
www.cityofholland.com/sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs.

 Attend the monthly “Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore” events. Save the date for the following spring events:

o Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick District Library — Environment (stormwater,
climate change, and resilient communities)
o March 5, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick — Quality of Life (affordable housing in Ottawa
County)
o April 23, 6:30 p.m. at Herrick — Economics (sustainable businesses in the
greater Holland area)
o May 14, 6 p.m. at Holland Energy Park — Transportation (green commuting in
Holland including a mini green vehicle car show and bike ride)

The bottom line of sustainable literacy is, then: Get to know the natural world and your personal impacts on it, get involved in your community, and together we will create a better world.

 Michelle Gibbs is the director for the Office of Sustainability at Hope College and the director for the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a partnership between Hope, the City of Holland, and Holland Board of Public Works.

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: We can resolve to be greener in 2019

By Karen Frink ’17, Holland Hope College Sustainability Institute
As we celebrate the end of 2018 and the start of 2019, many of us list resolutions to improve our lifestyle in the coming year. What if your resolutions could help not only you but the earth and your local community, as well?
Your friends at the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute challenge you to consider adding green resolutions to your list.
Some green resolutions are easy to think of:
 Turn off lights when you aren’t in the room or when natural light is bright.
 Divert as much as possible of your household waste from the landfill by using recycling and composting.
 Unplug electronics that aren’t in use.
 Eliminate your use of single-use plastics such as water bottles, plastic bags, and plastic silverware.

If you need more inspiration, Holland’s seven sustainability framework categories are an excellent place to start. Below are the seven categories and some ideas in each area to consider for your resolutions:

Environmental Awareness/Action:
 Check local dashboards that report on the status of Holland’s sustainability efforts and Project Clarity’s environmental cleanup. Check out
https://hollandsustainabilityreport.org/ or http://www.macatawaclarity.org/monitoring/

Economic Development:
 Shop small local businesses to support the local economy.
 If you own a business, take the Quick Impact Assessment to see how you can save energy and otherwise be sustainable in 2019. Find it here: https://goodfor.org/about/how-to

Transportation:
 Travel on a bike. Become familiar with bike paths during Bike Holland events, which kick off at the May Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore program.
 Walk, carpool, or use public transportation whenever possible.

Smart Energy:
 Switch your lights to LED bulbs.
 Delay switching on heat or air conditioning when not essential.
 Invest in renewable energy options – solar for your home, or electric for your car.
 Take part in Holland’s Home Energy Retrofit program. Look for “Rehabilitation Programs” under “Housing,” in the “Residents” pulldown on the city webpage:
www.cityofhollandcom .

Quality of Life:
 Transition to more clean and green food and body products. Eat fresh, organic, local, and in-season produce and eliminate products with ingredient names that you cannot read.
 If fitness is a resolution, consider a gym close to home so you can walk, run, or bike there and begin your workout before you step foot in the door.

Community knowledge:
 Regularly attend the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series to learn from local experts about sustainability topics. Check out
https://facebook.com/LivingSustainablyAlongtheLakeshore/

Community and Neighborhood:
 Volunteer for nonprofits, homeless shelters, food pantries, and beach/neighborhood clean ups.

Wishing you success in creating a green 2019!
 Karen Frink is an intern with the Holland Hope College Sustainability Institute.

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: Recycle and reuse at the ReStore

By Stacey Korecki, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity
Have you heard about the Holland ReStore and how it is a center of recycle and reuse activity?
The Holland ReStore is a donation center that sells materials used in home improvement projects.
Items such as new and used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more can be found in store.
The great thing is, when used building materials or household products are donated to the ReStore and then sold, that item is recycled and kept out of the landfill. For every $1 in ReStore sales, 1.3 pounds of material is kept out of your local landfill.
Habitat ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
The proceeds from ReStore sales are used locally to support affordable housing. The Holland ReStore supports the work of Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity which serves Ottawa and Allegan counties.
The Holland ReStore, located at 12727 Riley St., kept approximately 742,725 pounds of material out of the landfill last year, and is on pace for that same amount this year.
This ReStore is known particularly for kitchen materials sales, and has sold 35 to 40 kitchen cabinet sets! Part of the reason that kitchens are a big part of Holland ReStore’s sales is because of the deconstruction services that the store offers. Donors within the greater Holland area can call the ReStore to schedule a product pick up. The ReStore deconstruction team will come to a home and take out the items that the donor no longer needs and bring them back to the ReStore for sale. It doesn’t get much easier to donate that that.
You can support your local ReStore by shopping, donating, or even volunteering. The Holland ReStore is always looking for volunteers to help with organizing, taking in product, cleaning, customer support, merchandising, and creating new products out of items that come into the store. Some of our most popular products have been made by volunteers using donated items.
Don’t throw out that old desk! Donate it to the Holland ReStore. A volunteer may just fix it up, and someone will find that your old desk is just want they have been looking for at just the right price. You kept the desk out of the landfill and helped someone in your community.
The Holland ReStore is a great place to recycle and reuse to make Holland a more sustainable community.
 Stacey Korecki is the development coordinator for Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity in charge of events and marketing communications.  Stacey also supervises the marketing internship program which accepts two college interns each semester.

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: 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 Decorations

  • 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 a 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: HBPW wants to snuff out vampire power

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works
Being smart about your energy use is not only easy, but saves you money.
The Energy Waste Reduction programs offered by Holland Board of Public Works seek to meet goals in the City of Holland’s Community Energy Plan and Sustainability Framework by promoting affordability, sustainability, and energy efficiency for residents and businesses.
One simple step is snuffing out phantom power. Many appliances use energy when plugged in, even while they are turned off. In fact, that phantom power, also known as vampire or standby power, costs the average U.S. household $100 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Smart power strips are intelligent surge protectors that sense usage and automatically shut off electricity to devices that are not being used. For example, if a TV is plugged in to the master outlet, and the DVD player, gaming system, and sound system are plugged into strip outlets controlled by the master outlet, the flow of electricity will be cut to all devices when the TV is turned off. Older, traditional power strip outlets are either all on or all off. (Smart power strips also have always-on outlets for devices that must always be on, such as an air purifier or dehumidifier.)
The Holland Board of Public Works is promoting wise use of energy this month with a fun, festive Halloween giveaway at its Service Center, 625 Hastings Ave, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22.  While the supply lasts, each HBPW residential electric customer is eligible for one smart power strip.
To reduce your phantom load, help the environment and save money, come claim your smart power strip. We also will have candy, stickers, coloring pages, and a surprise guest, so be sure to stop by!
Also, until the end of the year, Holland BPW is doubling – to $50 – the rebate on Energy Star air purifiers. Air purifiers help keep your home air free of harmful pollutants as you close up your home for colder weather. In fact, indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than outdoor air pollution. Air purifiers provide the most effective health benefits when constantly turned on, so it is important to select a product that is energy efficient. The offer is valid on air purifiers purchased between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. Visit https://goo.gl/SeKK1x for more information.
HBPW’s other, year-round residential energy saving programs include Appliance Rebates, Appliance Recycling, Energy Star New Home Rebates, Free Home Energy Check-Ups, and an Income Qualified Refrigerator Replacement Program. And product giveaways provide energy efficient products for customers to try.
Stay up-to-date on our giveaway events by following us on social media. For more information visit: https://www.hollandbpw.com/my-home/energy-efficiency-programs-and-rebates .

 Morgan Kelley is conservation programs specialist at Holland Board of Public Works and leads the residential energy waste reduction and water conservation programs.

If You Go
What: Holland Board of Public Works Halloween Giveaway
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22
Where: HBPW Service Center, 625 Hastings Ave., Holland
Who: Any HBPW residential electric customer.

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.