GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (February 2, 2010)—Eden Environments, west Michigan’s sustainable design center, received a 2010 Going Green Award from Corp! Magazine.
Eden Environments’ commitment to environmentally-friendly practices, coupled with its contributions to technologies, products, and services that promote sustainable business strategies led to the company’s recognition as a Green Industry Innovator. Honorees were selected from Michigan-based businesses and nonprofit organizations in one of the three following categories:
· Green Initiative Champion
· Green Industry Innovator
· Green Organization
A licensed architect and a LEED Accredited Professional with two decades of design experience and an entrepreneurial spirit, Denise Hopkins, opened Eden Environments (www.EdenEnvironments.com), west Michigan’s first sustainable design center in 2008.
Eden is the sustainable design resource for businesses and homeowners across Michigan and the United States. Their expertise in architecture, interiors, and landscape design will enhance your physical and emotional well being, improve your indoor air quality, and lower your costs for energy, health care, insurance, and maintenance. In addition to design consultation, clients will find beautiful sustainable choices for insulation, siding, boards, flooring, no-VOC paints, counters, cabinets, and furnishings – virtually everything for the built environment. Eden Environments thoroughly researches their recommended design solutions and products—saving their clients time and effort. Eden Environments was also named Best Small Business in 2008 by the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) Region 7 and received Business Review West Michigan’s Inaugural Green Award for Small Business in 2009. Eden Environments is located at 5747 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546.
Thursday, January 28, 2010 - MiBiz
WEST MICHIGAN — Leaders in the greater Grand Rapids area have long touted the region as a nationwide center of excellence for LEED-certified buildings.
Despite those grand claims, however, there hasn’t been a way for interested people from within or outside the region to see those buildings up close and learn more about the tangible, real world benefits of the LEED certification process.
But that’s about to change. The West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the issuing body of the LEED program, is partnering with local building owners, as well as students at local colleges, to not only showcase the region’s green buildings, but also put some dollar figures behind the LEED program.
The need for a local green building showcase was even suggested by a national representative of the USGBC in town for a local chapter retreat.
“Because we have so many LEED buildings in this area, (the showcase) has been on our minds for a while, and we’ve been wanting to have case studies,” Renae Hesselink, VP of sustainability at Nichols Inc. and chair of the board of directors of the USGBC West Michigan Chapter, told MiBiz.
While numerous case studies have highlighted the benefits of LEED buildings, none of them had been done locally.
“People would pay more attention (to LEED) if people in their own backyard have proven that LEED works better,” she said.
Hesselink connected with local LEED building owners to gauge their interest in being a part of the showcase and in participating in the case study. Local colleges and universities with LEED projects immediately jumped on board, and she’s obtained commitments from Spectrum Health, Steelcase, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Herman Miller, Bazzani Associates, the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Dwelling Place, among others.
The local chapter has also linked with students at the University of Michigan’s MBA program to perform case studies and analyses of what the LEED certification means to those building owners. The aim, Hesselink said, is to come up with real dollar figures that building owners were able to save by following LEED protocols in the buildings. That information could be a powerful persuader for others in the area thinking of building a new building or renovating an existing structure.
Armed with the case study information, the West Michigan chapter plans to publish a book on the region’s green buildings. The book wouldn’t necessarily be limited to the buildings featured on the tour, either, but rather encompass LEED projects out of the city area and into Holland and Muskegon, for example.
One of the challenges in setting up the showcase thus far has been timing. Some building owners — like the public school system — will have to work around the tours. The solution might be to hold a two-day tour on a Friday or Saturday. The group is aiming to hold the event some time in September or October.
Hesselink said while the chapter was initially thinking the tour would be marketed to a broad Midwest or national audience interested in or working with green buildings, the group is also considering opening the tour to the public.
For the inaugural showcase, she’s hoping 200 to 300 professionals will attend.
And while the buildings certainly are the stars of the showcase, the chapter also expects the event could be used as an economic development tool.
“If we prove this is a healthy place to live and work and a good place to send kids to school, why would it not be an economic development tool?” Hesselink asked.
The planning for the showcase kicks off at a time of transition for the local chapter. In 2009, the national USGBC body changed the way it structured its professional accreditation and that impacted a key revenue stream for the local chapters across the country.
From the start of the USGBC program, local chapters like the one in West Michigan had been offering exam preparation classes to would-be LEED APs. Under the restructuring, the national body does not allow the local chapters to hold those courses, choosing instead to provide them through the national organization.
“There was pretty much an uproar across the country,” Hesselink said. “Most of us (at the local chapters) depended on that income.”
In part, revenue from those prep classes supported the hiring of an executive director, Linda Frey, who had been with the organization for the past two and half years. But with the main revenue stream cut off and with memberships down from peak numbers — the organization currently has about 300 members, down from 344 in the middle of 2009 — the local USGBC had to go back to being an all-volunteer organization. It currently has three paid interns from local colleges.
Several local foundations also contribute to the chapter’s funding, and none of them have dropped off since the downturn in the economy, Hesselink said.
However, “new opportunities dried up” once the downturn really started to hit last year.
Going forward, Hesselink said the local chapter has several options for revenue, including offering study groups for LEED Associate certification as well as continuing education programs for LEED APs, all of whom need to get continuing credits to recertify. She said the chapter is also considering charging for courses to professionals in facilities management and other building-related fields.
“We want to have another director, and we hope within a year to have someone back at least part-time that would have strong fundraising skills, too,” she said. “We’ve always thought of ourselves as a trade association, and we’re not. We’re a nonprofit here to serve our members and in part to move this mission forward.”
"We are proud to announce our certification to the FSC standards. We are now able to meet that increasing market demand and ensure our products come from responsibly managed forests." says Zeeland's FSC Program Administrator Greg Jacques.
The FSC Certification process requires system-wide changes, including isolating the certified products, using special labels and diligently maintaining the chain of custody for each piece of wood that they purchase and sell.
To qualify for FSC Certification, Zeeland Lumber Company was independently verified by Scientific Certification Systems, an FSC-accredited certification company. SCS examined Zeeland's record-keeping and systems, certifying Zeeland to work within the FSC system and label its products with the FSC logo.
For more information go to www.zeelandlumber.com
Monday, January 18, 2010 - MiBiz
A number of USGBC West Michigan Chapter members recently attended Greenbuild, our national organ-ization’s annual conference, held this year in Phoenix. In addition to enjoying a break from the autumn chill, we had the chance to catch up on rends in green building. Contemplating these trends as we look ahead to 2010, several of us have contributed our thoughts:
Greening our schools
With more than 20 percent of Americans now attending school as students, faculty or staff, momentum is building to “green” our schools in 2010. However, since new construction of K-12 schools is down due to the current economy, the focus is shifting to existing school buildings.
For every newly constructed school there are approximately 27 existing schools, adding up to over 128,000 school buildings nationwide. USGBC will soon have available a LEED for Existing Schools toolkit to help administrators and other stakeholders understand the health, efficiency, energy-saving and environmental benefits of green schools.
Meanwhile, USGBC’s green school advocacy efforts are underway with the federal government, simultaneous with relationship-building among national organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the National Association of School Board Members and others. Locally, our green school advocacy initiatives remain strong. We are working closely with the USGBC Detroit Regional Chapter to ensure we are bringing the same message to the entire state.
— Renae Hesselink, LEED AP, Vice President of Sustainability, Nichols
New model energy code
During Greenbuild, the USGBC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) presented an update on a new high performance model building code called ASHRAE/IESNA/USGBC 189.1. This code has been through several public comment periods and is currently in the final stages of editing before being released early in 2010. The objective is an incremental step toward achieving a net zero carbon building by 2030, a goal agreed to by the American Institute of Architects and the USGBC.
The new standard is being tested in simulations by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is expected to provide energy savings an average 21 percent higher than current energy codes.
International growth of the green building movement
The USGBC has become a world leader in green building because of two key differences from similar organizations:
1. We have developed sustainable design and construction best practices with the consent of our membership.
2. We are the only green building organization that requires third party validation.
A number of other countries have begun to adopt our standards. The World Green Building Council was launched to host this new marketplace with 14 fully functioning Green Building Councils, and 36 other nations are on a path toward establishing theirs.
Each country must create its own standards, as customs and codes vary so much regionally. It’s essential that each region institute the efficiencies, customs, and best practices that are most effective for its climate and culture.
Our visit to the Arizona desert reminded us that in many places, water is increasingly scarce. Touring a local wastewater treatment plant illustrated some of the water resource issues Southwesterners face. Although they’ve made progress in conservation measure, their sustainability footprint for water resources is based on antiquated models of water supply. The water conservation challenges Arizonans face are enormous, and revolve significantly around shifting public opinion. Today water supply is still very cheap in the desert, although costs are expected to increase significantly over the next few years.
— Samuel Pobst, Principal, LEED AP, Eco Metrics LLC
The architects, engineers, builders, marketers, educators and others who filled the Phoenix Convention Center came to connect, to test the waters, to expand their green building IQ, and/or to pitch a product. Their presence made it clear the green building sector represents a steadily growing bright spot in today’s economy.
This year’s theme, “Main Street Green,” placed the emphasis where it belongs, because Main Street ultimately will drive the demand for energy savings, resource conservation and a healthier, more sustainable quality of life throughout 2010 and beyond.
January 18, 2010
University has unveiled a
plan that will help it reduce carbon emissions with the hopes of becoming
carbon-neutral by the year 2037.
The plan was created over two years after the university signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in October 2007. The plan was submitted to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education on January 15.
"When we signed the Climate Commitment, we made a pledge to reduce Grand Valley's carbon footprint by as much as possible as quickly as possible," said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. "This plan offers a map for the university to reach carbon neutrality by setting interim targets that we will hold ourselves accountable for reaching."
The plan has three phases. The first phase, which runs from 2010-20, focuses on conservation and reduction. The second, spanning 2020-2030 will shift the focus to bringing more renewable energy to campus, while a third phase from 2030-2050 will tap into efficiencies created through innovation — technologies we may not even know about yet.
Grand Valley is increasingly known as a national leader in sustainability. Peterson's "Green Jobs for a New Economy: The Career Guide to Emerging Opportunities" listed Grand Valley among the "top 50 four-year schools with great green programs." Grand Valley offers some 200 individual sustainability-themed courses, as well as natural resource management, environmental studies, earth and environmental theme, liberal studies sustainability major, and new courses like green chemistry. Grand Valley was one of the top 25 cutting-edge green and environmentally responsible colleges in the United States as listed in the 2009 Kaplan College Guide. It also received the highest "green" rating among Michigan’s colleges and universities, according to an annual report by the Princeton Review.
See the full document:
January 12, 2010
Dining has implemented a composting project to help the campus community reduce
Two of Grand Valley's dining locations -- Fuel, inside the Commons building, and Kleiner Commons -- now offer guests the opportunity to compost food waste, serviceware and packaging. Fresh Food Co. also composts pre- and post-consumer waste but due to the style of service and use of china and silverware, does not offer guest composting. Thanks to the initiative, pre-consumer waste (from cooking and preparation) and post-consumer waste are both composted and diverted from landfills.
Posters hang above receptacles at Fuel and Kleiner to indicate items that can be placed into "landfill" and "composting" bins. The collection receptacles are lined with biodegradable bags. Bags are transferred to separate collection points for recycling, composting and landfill.
"More than half of the items we use for service and packaging can be composted, so this project is a natural fit," said Penny Ibarra, Kleiner manager. "Changing student habits is the hardest part of composting. A lot of students are already on board and hopefully more will participate when they see how easy it is."
Campus Dining employees are trained to explain the composting project and can offer help understanding the process.
According to the U.S. EPA, food is the No. 1 least-recycled material. To enhance Grand Valley's sustainability efforts Campus Dining has kicked off a composting project that will help recycle food and other items. Composting is the most efficient type of recycling because it breaks waste down into the soil; there aren't chemicals or large amounts of power used.
Grand Valley State University is nationally recognized as a leader in sustainability and has made a commitment to foster economic, social, and environmental sustainability both inside and outside the classroom. The university received the highest green rating in Michigan in an annual report by the Princeton Review and is the only Michigan school cited in Kaplan College Guide 2009's list of "cutting-edge green" colleges and universities.
From: ECOHOME 2010 Posted on: January 14, 2010 2:38:00 PM
Building certified homes since 2007, the organization has turned its attention to renovating abandoned properties using efficient, eco-friendly products and techniques.
Kent County Habitat for Humanity's LEED-certified gut rehabs include this home in Grand Rapids completed last fall in partnership with Aquinas College and funded by Neighborhood Stabilization Program stimulus dollars. The project provided a new home for a Sudanese refugee couple about to have their first child.
The Kent County, Mich., chapter of Habitat for Humanity is showing the industry that green, high-performance homes don’t have to come with exorbitant price tags. The Grand Rapids-area organization has been building to LEED for Homes standards for two years, and is now focusing its efforts on transforming foreclosed properties into energy-efficient, healthy dwellings for families in need.
Since committing to LEED standards in 2007, Kent County Habitat has built 60 homes to the standard. This year, it will undertake 34 gut rehabs that will meet a minimum of LEED-Silver, as well as Energy Star.
The whole metaphor of recycling a home fits into our commitment of sustainability,” Kent County Habitat’s director of construction Chris Hall says of the group’s motivation to tackle rehabs.
Perhaps even more important is preserving the communities where other Habitat homes have been built. “We have a commitment that they are successful homeowners,” notes Hall. “If they’re in a neighborhood that’s dying around them, it makes sense to transform these homes. We’re taking what was once an eyesore off the street … the transformation has been amazing.”
Habitat acquires the abandoned properties from banks and holding companies at prices averaging around $20,000. That upfront cost, a bargain for sure but still much heftier than what Habitat typically pays for a vacant lot, is partially offset by federal stabilization funds.
Meeting the needs of a LEED-Silver home while staying on a $110,000 budget (including the cost of the original home) starts in the planning stage, two months prior to the four-month buildout. Because each property is different, each project begins with team collaboration to design an efficient space and pinpoint potential challenges. Planning contributions come from staffers as well as outside designers, energy experts, and other pros who discount or donate services; local college students also contribute through energy testing or home design.
“If you start from scratch and look at your footprint, maximize space, and utilize advanced framing, you can actually save money,” Hall says, noting, for example, that fitting more bedrooms into a smaller square footage helps earn LEED credits from the start.
And the LEED certification isn’t just about feeling good. Building the homes tight and with healthy indoor air is essential to Habitat’s mission of fostering successful and affordable residency, particularly since most new residents are first-time homeowners.
It also doesn’t mean cheap materials, but rather smart decisions. In fact, the most expensive change for these homes is the upgrade from spot ventilation to a RenewAire energy recovery ventilator, which adds about $1,200 to the typical cost of a Habitat house. Hall says the expense is worth it: “When they move into our homes, you see it—health is improved. I haven’t built a home here that I wouldn’t move into.”
Low-VOC paints and carpets also contribute to healthier IAQ. Other product selections include donated Dow rigid foam insulation on the exterior, Whirlpool Energy Star appliances (also donated), and WaterSense-labeled fixtures. “We seek out third-party certification as much as possible,” Hall explains, an effort that further pays off in garnering financial support by individuals and groups that are drawn to sustainability issues.
In addition to Energy Star and LEED certification, the costs of which are covered by The Home Depot Foundation for the first 50 homes, the structures meet the standards of “0 step” accessibility, including having a main-floor bedroom and bathroom and 5-foot turning radiuses.
The transition from building new homes to mostly remodels has required Habitat staff and volunteers to transform their operational processes and learn new roles. But the payoff is worth it as they funnel spending back into local companies while fulfilling the dream of homeownership in a state devastated by the recession.
Even experienced green pros are learning new tricks from navigating the unique challenges of LEED-certified remodeling. “You have to be creative to do green building with no budget,” says veteran green architect Eric Hughes, owner of Image Design in Grand Rapids, who is slated to design 30 of the gut rehabs. This includes maximizing the space and improving the flow of 60-plus-year-old homes composed of tiny rooms.
Hughes notes a particular cost-saver Habitat employs on all its homes: training volunteers to caulk every joint, which allows for the use of batt (i.e., less expensive) insulation while still maximizing envelope performance.
“Whenever I hear that it costs more or that the market doesn’t want it, … I tell them to come out to our site and see what we’re doing” Hall says. “ If we can do this for $110,000 and volunteer labor, any builder can do it.”
connects with community on a daily basis through the patient-centered,
award-winning health care offered at
and 10 neighborhood outpatient centers. Donations to the Metro Health Hospital
Foundation are also improving the health and well-being of our community by
supporting life-saving education and prevention programs, enhanced patient
services and medical education.
Metro Health's new state-of-the-art hospital is now open in Wyoming. Conveniently located just north of M-6 at the Byron Center exit, the new Metro Health Hospital is the focal point of Metro Health Village...a unique development offering a comprehensive mix of services.
The hospital has curved corridors, spaces bathed in natural light, healing gardens, a "green roof" of living plants, and many other features designed to improve safety and create a more therapeutic environment. Patient rooms are all private with new technology that will keep patients and visitors comfortable and connected.
A strong focus on storm water management, recycling and energy conservation will earn Metro Health Hospital LEED certification, making it one of only a handful of hospitals in the nation to receive the designation, which recognizes Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Even more impressive...every building in the Village will be LEED certified.
Metro Health is thrilled to transform the health care experience in West Michigan. The new facility means changes for the better, while the heart of Metro Health remains the same...compassionate employees delivering care that is truly "All About You. All Around You."
Metro Health Marketing
2122 Health Dr. SW, Ste. 230
Wyoming, MI 49519
Follow the link for Wood TV coverage: http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/community/partners/MetroHealth_Hospital
Posted on MiBiz
December 22, 2009
HOLLAND – Haworth, Inc. announced that all U.S., Shanghai and Pune manufacturing facilities, as well as the company’s global headquarters, have achieved zero waste to landfill status. Preliminary results show that Haworth’s U.S. manufacturing facilities have gone from 4.6 million pounds of landfill waste in 2008 to zero in 2009.
“ Haworth is extremely proud of this accomplishment but we also recognize that this is a sustainable journey,” said John Mooney, Haworth Chief Financial Officer and executive sponsor of sustainability. “Zero waste to landfill is a bold step toward our zero waste goals – a concept that affects all aspects of our business.”
Haworth U.S. facilities still generate approximately .93 million pounds of waste that is turned into waste-to-energy. Global Haworth facilities that are not yet at zero waste to landfill status will do so by 2011. Additional information on Haworth’s sustainability initiatives can found in the company’s sustainability report.
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Mission: To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, in a way that improves the quality of life in West Michigan.