Green Commute Day – UPDATE Tuesday, July 23

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****UPDATE: Green Commute Day is moving to Tuesday, July 23rd due to the extreme heat expected on Friday****

The fun doesn’t have to end in May! In addition to Green Commute Week, the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council (MACC) is announcing various Green Commute Days throughout the year. Unlike Green Commute Week, no registration is required and each person must participate as an individual.

To participate, all you have to do is:  Leave your car at home and choose green transportation for any or all of your trips for the day whether it be to work, the beach, or anywhere else!  Log your miles on the day of the event by 5pm.

Each person who logs their miles will be entered to win a prize. Plus, logging your miles allows MACC to calculate total mileage and air quality benefits!

Log your miles here on July 19 by 5pm.

 

Living Sustainably: Local efforts can address global climate change

By Diane Haworth, local sustainability professional

There is plenty of news related to climate change these days. The planet’s climate has constantly been changing over geological time, but now scientists are concerned that the natural fluctuation is being increased by an upsurge in greenhouse gases from human activities.
The greenhouse effect refers to the way the Earth’s atmosphere traps energy from the sun. Trapped energy that radiates back to the planet heats both the atmosphere and the earth’s surface, keeping the temperature at a level to sustain life.
Scientists believe we are adding to the natural greenhouse effect with gases such as carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use and methane from agricultural sources and landfills. These gases trap more energy and increase the overall temperature of the planet. This effect is commonly referred to as climate change.

The impacts of climate change can be seen around the world with increasing water scarcity in dry areas, torrential downpours in wet regions and more severe heat waves and wildfires. The cost to the United States economy alone could be over $200 billion from heat-related deaths, sea level rise and infrastructure damage by the end of the century.

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy production can contribute to climate change. The city of Holland has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by building a new combined-cycle natural gas power plant to replace the former coal power plant. Burning natural gas significantly reduces emissions versus coal, although natural gas is still a fossil fuel and not a sustainable resource.

Home solar panels are an effective way for an individual homeowner to trim back their carbon fuel use and impact on climate change.

However, lower emission, sustainable options such as wind and solar do not provide continuous power. At the utility level, they require large scale energy storage that is still under development. The Holland Board of Public Works uses a mix of energy sources including wind, biogas and natural gas to keep our energy portfolio diverse and able to respond to changes in fuel availability and pricing. The Board of Public Works will continue to explore more sustainable options as they become viable.
Meanwhile, you can take direct personal action to reduce emissions in simple ways that will save you money. Plug air leaks in your house to reduce heat loss. Consider installing a smart thermostat and switching to more efficient LED light bulbs.

Installing LED bulbs are a simple way to reduce energy use, save money over the long run and trim a person’s impact on climate change problems.

Want to make bigger improvements to your energy use? The Holland On-Bill Loan Program administered by the Board of Public Works provides Holland residents a way to make energy improvements to homes both easy and affordable.
The program provides a home energy assessment that gives you an understanding of your home’s energy efficiency and provides a prescription for the necessary improvements. Find out more about the program at https://hollandenergyfund.com/on-bill-loan-program/

 Diane Haworth is a retired sustainability professional.  After a career in product development, purchasing and marketing, she transitioned to develop and manage the global sustainability program for furniture manufacturer Haworth.  She later helped develop the sustainability program for certification body NSF in Ann Arbor.

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: Bike Holland rides offer fun cycling intro

By Jenny White, Bike Holland
The third annual Bike Holland Series kicked off at the Green Commute Expo back in May, but the rides will continue to roll out from Velo City Cycles every other month through September.

Maybe you want to meet more people in town, or want to get more exercise, or want to lower your carbon footprint, or want to learn more about riding your bike safely around town in the comfort of a group setting?  Whatever your reason, this ride is for you!

The City of Holland created a 40-Year Community Energy Plan with the goal to reduce the city’s per-capita greenhouse gas emissions from the baseline level of 24 metric tons in 2010 down to 10 metric tons by 2050.  One of the target areas of the plan includes reducing fuel used for transportation.

Photo courtesy City of Holland

The goal of Bike Holland is to educate community members about the benefits of commuting by bike. Bike commuting is a great way to make our community more sustainable – economically, socially, and environmentally – and empower people to feel safe and comfortable riding around the community.

We want to get community members to unplug, get outdoors, get healthier, and spend time with friends and family by hopping on a bike for their next trip!

Photo courtesy City of Holland

At previous rides, 30 to 80 cyclists have joined in. We estimate that around 150 individual riders have been involved so far.  If the group is large, we split into smaller groups for safety and also to accommodate shorter ride options for children and less experienced riders.  Participant ages have ranged from 6 months to 80 years. We recommend that kids be 7 years or older to ride on their own.

All types of cyclists and bikes are welcome. You must bring your own bike. Helmets are required for this casual and social ride.

“Through attending Bike Holland rides, I not only solved my problem of learning good places and routes to ride, but I also met many local cyclists who I now ride with regularly three years later,” said Martin Harris, a Holland resident, Herman Miller employee and cycling enthusiast.

Before hitting the road, be sure to check out the city’s website at   www.cityofholland.com/bikeholland for videos, tips, rules of the road, and resources for bikers.  For additional information and resources about biking in Holland visit the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council’s website at www.the-macc.org/transportation/nonmotorized/.

The remaining Bike Holland downtown ride dates are the following Mondays:  June 10, Aug. 12, and Sept. 9. Rides start at Velo City, 326 S. River Ave., Holland. Arrive early enough to be ready for roll out at 6:00 p.m.

 Jenny White is co-owner of Velo City Cycles and Bike Holland organizer.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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.

Resources from our Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series

Our friends at Herrick District Library have put together a great listing of additional resources from our Spring 2019 Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series.  Check them out at the links below!

Stay tuned for our announcement later this summer about our Fall 2019 series topics.

Green Commuting

The Affordable Community

Economics of Sustainability

Search results for LSATL lists

Living Sustainably: Green Commute Expo offers info and fun at Holland Energy Park

Information about charging stations and owning and driving electric vehicles will be part of the Community Green Commute Expo set for Tuesday evening.

By Michelle Gibbs, Hope College Office of Sustainability and Colleen Nagel, Holland Sustainability Committee

“Green commuting” might sound complicated to some, but it’s not. In fact, the “why, where and how” will be explained Tuesday evening, along with other fun activities, as part of a free Community Green Commute Expo at Holland Energy Park.  The family-oriented event will focus on green commuting options in the greater Holland area. The expo is the last in the spring 2019 series of Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore events.

At the Expo, people will learn about:
Why we should green commute We will hear about the health, environmental, and economic benefits of green commuting as well as how it relates to Holland’s 40-Year Community Energy Plan.
Where we can green commute The Macatawa Area Coordinating Council will share information about the transportation plan and area bike trails, and the Outdoor Discovery Center will provide information about the Greenway Trails for travel.
How we can green commute Local bike shops and green commute groups will have areas to demo bikes, do fun bike decorating, and offer tips on maintaining your bike for safe riding. MAX Transit will share information about services and routes and will have on hand a bus to let visitors practice putting a bike on and off the bus bike rack. Local residents will attend with their personal electric vehicles (EVs) so you can look under the hood, sit inside, and ask questions about their experiences with EVs. (Sorry, no test drives.) And the Holland Board of Public works will have a station for EV education and charging station rebates for residents and business owners.

Tips and routes for bicycle commuting will be part of the presentation at the Community Green Commute Expo Tuesday evening.

Other Expo activities will include the kickoff of the third annual Bike Holland Series. Those who bring bikes to the Expo can ride the trails of Holland Energy Park or take a fun ride out and around Windmill Island. Go to   https://www.facebook.com/bikehollandmi/ for more information.

And with the weather warming, the Expo will also include the City of Holland’s Operation Polar Patrol offering frozen treats.

This Expo is part of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council’s annual Green Commute Week, beginning today, May 12, through Saturday.  It’s not too late to join in the Green Commute week fun and track your miles! Green Commute Week is all about making transportation decisions that are good for your health and the planet. And since everything is more fun with friends, teaming up is encouraged.  Register today and start tracking your miles at www.the-macc.org. What counts as Green Commuting? Some examples include walking, biking, carpooling, riding the bus, telecommuting, or driving a fully electric car.

And we’ll see you Tuesday as we have fun learning about all the benefits of green commuting!

Community Green Commute Expo
When: 6 to 7:30 Tuesday, May 14
Who: The whole family is invited
Where: Holland Energy Park
Cost: Free

 Michelle Gibbs is director for the Hope College Office of Sustainability and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute. Colleen Nagel is a member of the City of Holland Sustainability Committee.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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: Rethink, Reuse, Recycle with Holland BPW during Tulip Time

By Morgan Kelley, Holland Board of Public Works

The Holland Board of Public Works is excited to be the official Tulip Time Conservation Partner for the seventh year in a row and, as such, to help the community “rethink, reuse and recycle” to help boost sustainable practices in our community.

Along those lines, consider these opportunities:

Rethink your transportation choice for navigating Tulip Time by taking the MAX Tulip Time shuttle. The shuttle offers optimal convenience for getting around the festival, and it’s also better for the environment. You’ll save time by avoiding heavy traffic and limited parking; you’ll also reduce your carbon emissions. Check the interactive map for details and routes at www.tuliptime.com/visit/transportation.

Reuse a refillable water bottle. Bring your own bottle, and as you explore the festival, you will find free water bottle filling stations. There is no need to buy disposable bottles of water when you can conveniently refill!

Recycle acceptable materials. You will find recycling bins around the festival, promoting stewardship of our resources.
Meanwhile, the Holland Board of Public Works will be helping Tulip Time paint the town orange.

The Holland Board of Public Works will help “paint the town orange” for Tulip Time by handing out orange hard hats for kids before the Kinderparade Thursday.

Before the Kinderparade on Thursday, May 9, we’ll be passing out orange hard hats for kids and other conservation tips. The West Ottawa Robotics team (WOBOTS) and their robots will be assisting us.
In addition, partially guided tours of the Holland Energy Park will be held during Tulip Time. Tours are on a first-come first-served basis and will be held Monday through Thursday mornings from 10 to 11:30 a.m., as well as Monday through Wednesday afternoons from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Participants need to arrive no later than 10 minutes after the tour start time. More information can be found at www.hollandenergypark.com/events/ or by contacting the HBPW visitor programs specialist at (616) 355-1213.
The Board of Public Works has been a community-owned resource since 1893 and strives to be environmentally responsible while providing reliable and economical electricity, water and wastewater treatment, and fiber services to the Holland community. Find more details about the Board of Public Work’s role as conservation partner at www.tuliptime.com/green.

Remember to Rethink, Reuse, Recycle: See you at Tulip Time!

 Morgan Kelley is the conservation programs specialist at the Holland Board of Public Works where she tracks and administers residential energy efficiency programs and represents HBPW at community events.

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.

Living Sustainably, Get Ready to Roll in Green Commute Week

Join the Hope College Green Team by emailing “sustainability@hope.edu.”

By Carolyn Ulstad, Macatawa Area Coordinating Council
Spring is a time to reinvent, refresh and reflect on how we want to proceed through the warm months ahead. For most of us, after enduring the long winter, spring means spending as much time outside as possible.
My own warm weather goals involve promises to myself to see the beach at least once a week no matter how busy life may get, spend less time on the couch, take more walks during lunch, ride my bike to work more frequently, and spend more time with friends and family.
If you have similar goals, you can get started on them during the annual Green Commute Week taking place May 12-18.
Green Commute is all about making transportation decisions that are good for our health and the health of our planet. And since everything is more fun with friends, teaming up is encouraged! What counts as Green Commuting? Some examples include walking, biking, carpooling, riding the bus, telecommuting, or driving a fully electric car!
Here’s how it works: During the week, individuals and teams in the Holland/Zeeland area compete by choosing “green” transportation options when commuting to work, school, running errands, and so on.
Miles are logged on the MACC’s website Monday through Friday. Those with the highest participation within their category will be declared the winner! This year, the winners will receive a trophy crafted by Cento Anni Custom Woodworking and an outdoor bike rack to keep or donate to a location of their choosing.
This event is for everyone, whether you’re a year-round green commuter or first-timer interested in trying something new.
Here’s the process for joining the fun of Green Commute week:
1. Register as an individual or form a team with your friends, family, co-workers, church, neighbors, club, sports team, classmates, or any other group of people you’d like to compete with. Register at www.the-macc.org.
2. Track your commutes and miles Monday through Friday on the MACC website.  Total commute miles will be used to determine air quality benefits and may be used as a tie-breaker.
3. Visit the Recharging Stations! At those spots, Green Commute participants will receive discounts on things like food, coffee, bike tune-ups – and also get free rides on MAX Transit!
4. Share your progress with us and keep up to date with the week’s events on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @GreenCommuteHZ.

Green Commute Dates to Remember
May 1: Green Commute Poster Contest entries deadline. Learn more and see prizes at www.the-
macc.org. All ages welcome!
May 14: LSAL Green Commute Expo and Bike Ride. See more at
facebook.com/events/328775747612644/
May 16: Transportation Open House from 12 to 2 and 4 to 6 p.m. at the MACC office to see
transportation projects planned for our area over the next four years.
May 17: All Green Commute miles reports due to the MACC by noon.
May 21: Green Commute Awards Banquet at Brew Merchant, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 Carolyn Ulstad is transportation planner at the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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: MAX Transit again offers efficient access for Tulip Time

By Shelby Pedersen, Max Transit
There’s no need to tiptoe to the tulips this year – or walk or drive downtown, for that matter.

For a one-time fee for the whole festival, Max Transit will again provide easy Tulip Time access to downtown from outlying parking lots.

The Macatawa Area Express (MAX) is again pairing with Tulip Time to offer an inexpensive way to avoid parking and traffic problems during the festival that begins May 4.
To avoid traffic and congestion, local residents and visitors alike are encouraged to leave their vehicles in MAX’s designated Park & Ride lots and hop on the shuttle into downtown Holland.
This year’s Park & Ride lots will be located at D&W off of Douglas Avenue, Dutch Village on the corner of James and U.S. 31, and at Ditto, near the corner of Clover and Eighth Street.

No need to tiptoe through the tulips to get to Tulip Time. Max Transit will again provide easy access from outlying parking lots.

The shuttle’s main transfer point in downtown Holland will be at Windmill Island, with other stops downtown at City Flats Hotel (Seventh Street and College Avenue) and the Holland Rescue Mission Men’s Mission (Seventh Street and South River Avenue).
In keeping with this year’s Tulip Time theme of “Paint the Town Orange,” the shuttles will be identified by orange window clings to show pride in 90 years of celebrating this traditional festival.
The Park & Ride shuttle will arrive at stops every 15 to 20 minutes to make pick-ups and drop-offs.
The shuttle runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day during Tulip Time. The last shuttle of the day will arrive at each stop between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

To take advantage of this sustainable and efficient travel option, festival-goers must purchase a $5 wristband. The wristband gives riders unlimited rides for the entire festival on the Park & Ride shuttle as well as on MAX’s fixed bus routes. Wristbands are non-transferrable and non-refundable.
Riders can purchase wristbands online at tuliptime.com, catchamax.org, or during the festival week at Ditto, D&W, Nelis’ Dutch Village, the MAX Transit depot office, and the Tulip Time office.
An additional sustainable transportation option for festival goers is the opportunity to ride a bike part way and use the MAX bus to complete a trip. All of MAX fixed route buses can accommodate three bikes on a bike rack; the spaces are first-come, first-served. Using a personal bike, riders will be able to reach locations that fixed routes may not meet.
MAX’s fixed route buses operate 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The fixed bus routes do not operate on Sundays, although the Park & Ride Shuttle will.
For more information on the shuttle or fixed bus routes, visit www.catchamax.org or
www.tuliptime.com/transportation or call MAX Customer Service at (616) 355-1010.
 As Shelby Pedersen grew up in Holland, she and her sister would ride the MAX bus all over Holland. Two years ago, aware of the importance of public transportation, Shelby joined MAX Transit as an information specialist. She is now marketing and customer service managers assistant.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area is an evolving system that links us to our regional, national and global networks.

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.