Grand Rapids Achieves Emerging 2030 District Designation in Effort to Reduce Energy Use in Downtown

2030Private, public partnership working toward final designation from Architecture 2030 by end of year

Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell today announced Grand Rapids has been named an Emerging 2030 District by Architecture 2030, an effort designed to reduce energy use in the downtown, and putting it on track to become an Established 2030 District this year. The energy district was among the goals unveiled in the mayor’s 2015 State of the City address.

“Cities continue to play an important role in addressing the root causes of climate change, and here in Grand Rapids we do that in partnership with our private sector partners” said Heartwell. “To help reach our goal of becoming a more resilient community we have taken up the Green District 2030 Challenge and are meeting it head on.”

Joining Mayor Heartwell for the announcement was Architecture 2030 Founder Ed Mazria and Dan Scripps, president of the Institute for Energy Innovation that is collaborating with the city on the energy district. Other partners involved in facilitating the development of the Grand Rapids 2030 District include the U.S. Green Building Council – West Michigan Chapter, and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Initiated in Seattle, 2030 Districts are unique private/public partnerships that bring together property owners and managers with local governments, businesses, and community stakeholders through a common goal of reducing energy use, water use, and transportation emissions in urban settings. 2030 District participants work to meet the energy, water and vehicle emissions reduction targets called for by Architecture 2030 in its ‘2030 Challenge for Planning.’ To date, nine North American cities have established 2030 Districts, including Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Dallas, Toronto, and Stamford (Connecticut.)

“With cities accounting for 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it’s critical that cities are also in the forefront of developing solutions,” Mazria said. “Led by the private sector and building on strong local sustainability leadership, it’s exciting to welcome Grand Rapids to the 2030 District Network as an Emerging 2030 District.”

Putting in place a Grand Rapids Emerging 2030 District Exploratory Committee was critical to the process. It includes a number of participating developers, building owners and operators, and other stakeholders, among them:

  • 616 Development
  • Bazzani Building Company
  • Catalyst Partners
  • City of Grand Rapids
  • Consumers Energy
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Kent County Department of Public Works
  • Integrated Architecture
  • Midwest Energy Group
  • Progressive AE
  • Rockford Construction
  • SMG, which manages DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena
  • Spectrum Health
  • Sustainable Research Group
  • Van Andel Institute
  • Veolia Energy

“Today’s announcement shows the progress being made by our private sector partners in establishing a 2030 District in downtown Grand Rapids,” said Scripps. “Our city is known for its private sector leadership in sustainability efforts, and the work to create a 2030 District builds on that leadership.

“Creating a 2030 District in Grand Rapids will help maintain our community’s position among the leaders across the country, as well as helping building owners and operators to reduce energy and water costs and create more comfortable, more profitable buildings,” Scripps added.

An Established 2030 District designation brings with it several advantages over and above adding to the city’s overall goal of becoming a sustainable city. These include shared expertise, bulk purchasing arrangements, technical assistance, and opportunities to save money through reductions in energy and water use.

Participating building owners and operators in 2030 Districts agree to adopt the following targets:

  • For existing buildings, a 50 percent reduction in energy use across the district by 2030 compared to a 2003 national benchmark of similar buildings, as well as 50 percent reductions in water use and emissions from transportation.
  • For new buildings and major renovations, an immediate reduction in building energy use by 50 percent compared to the 2003 national benchmark, with additional targets getting to net-zero energy use by 2030. New buildings also seek to immediately reduce their water use and transportation emissions by 50 percent when compared to the current district average.

Now that Grand Rapids has achieved the Emerging District designation, the city will be focused on the final phase of becoming an Established 2030 District, which requires the following:

  • A private sector led Advisory or Leadership Board/Committee made up of 40 percent property owners, managers, and developers; 20 percent professional stakeholders; and 20 percent community stakeholders.
  • Signed commitments/pledge letters from at least five building owners/managers.
  • A mission aligned with 2030 District goals.
  • Set targets for energy, water and vehicle emissions reductions that meet or exceed the 2030 Challenge for planning targets.
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and a financial management system.
  • Shared key information with Architecture 2030 staff.
  • Signed the 2030 District Charter with Architecture 2030.

Additional information on 2030 Districts and the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Planning is available 2030districts.org and Architecture 2030

Contact: Liz Boyd
Telephone: 517.881.6713

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The Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) is a Michigan-based non-profit corporation. IEI’s mission is to promote greater public understanding of advanced energy and its economic potential for Michigan, and to inform the public and policy discussion on Michigan’s energy challenges and opportunities. IEI’s activities focus on three primary activities: policy development and research; community energy initiatives; and industry engagement.

The West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is a regional network of businesses, institutions, and individuals dedicated to promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility. Founded in 1994, it is today the leading membership organization for practitioners of beyond‐compliance sustainability practices in the state and an active facilitator of participatory community sustainability initiatives, promoting positive change and operational improvements through education and collaboration.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a committee-based, member-driven, consensus-focused non-profit founded in 1993 that currently represents over 17,000 companies and organizations. The USGBC West Michigan Chapter, organized in 2004, is one of 70 chapters that operate as licensed separate non-profits across the United States. The U.S. Green Building Council mission is it to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life in one generation. It accomplishes that mission with a dedication to expanding green building practices and education with its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ and other educational resources.

Greens to Green:  Golfing for Sustainability

         What begins as a fun day of golf at Blythefield Country Club ends up producing stellar young men like new Aquinas graduate Brendan Molony.  Brendan represents the many outstanding Aquinas scholarship students who get vital financial help from the donors who play in the annual Peter M. Wege ProAm.

         Brendan knows about Peter Wege. The reason he came to Aquinas from Kalamazoo’s Hackett Catholic Center “was the sustainable business program.”  The text that most influenced him was ECONOMICOLOGY, the book Wege wrote named for his word  calling for a balance between ecology and the economy.

         “I see ECONOMICOLOGY as a guide to the future,” Brendan says. “It’s his vision on sustainability.  His book showed me that businesses can be profitable and good to the environment…we learned that the triple bottom line (People Planet Profits) works.”

         Besides academics, Brendan helped  Aquinas’s cross-country team win their conference, make it to the NAIA (the NCAA of small schools) all four years, and this year finish fifth in the nationals.

          Brendan Molonoy is now putting his business-sustainability education to work at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo where he interned last summer and hopes to work full-time.  His job is to implement environmental changes that will save the hospital costs by reducing energy and waste.

         Again Brendan is following Peter Wege’s vision for building green by earning his LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associates degree.  Now he is now working on the next level to become a LEED Accredited Professional.

         Grand Rapids leads the nation in LEED-certified buildings because of Peter Wege.  Ten years ago Wege said all capital grantees had to apply for LEED.  That triggered the move that makes G.R. the top LEED city in the country.  Brendan Molony says students in Aquinas’s sustainable business program “will lead the way to change.”   His LEED credentials make his point.

         This engaging student athlete also has a big heart.  He helped his tired fellow cross-country team member Dan Foley the last mile in a recent half-marathon to finish one and two.

         Among Peter Wege’s favorite sayings are “Educate! Educate! Educate!” and “Children are the hope of our future.”  Brendan Molony is what Peter Wege’s legacy is all about.

Brendan Molony, a student athlete newly graduated from Aquinas’s sustainability program, holds his diploma in one hand and his cross-country running shoes in the other.
Brendan Molony, a student athlete newly graduated from Aquinas’s sustainability program, holds his diploma in one hand and his cross-country running shoes in the other.
Running cross-country for Aquinas College, Brendan Molony helped the Saints place fifth in the nation in the NAIA championship.
Running cross-country for Aquinas College, Brendan Molony helped the Saints place fifth in the nation in the NAIA championship.

Habitat Owners Earn Their New Homes

In 2006 Peter M. Wege’s environmental vision led to the nation’s first Habitat Home awarded LEED  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.  That was just the beginning.

As Habitat Kent’s Director Barbara Benda, says, “It has been an incredible journey of ecology, economy and social justice ever since Mr. Wege’s support empowered Habitat to commit in 2007 to building all LEED certified Habitat homes in Kent County.”

By April 2013, Habitat Kent was working on its 111th LEED home. That means 110 LEED homes have been restored since Peter and The Wege Foundation built that first one at 925 Cass Ave.

In the Wealthy Heights neighborhood alone, The Wege Foundation has been instrumental in Habitat Kent’s rehab and building of ten homes with repair work and clean-up on six more.  The restoration of this area has special significance to Peter and The Wege Foundation as it is anchored by Wealthy Theatre.

Peter Wege led the charge that in 1997 saved and restored the abandoned movie house.  The resurrection of the Theatre triggered the comeback of the entire Wealthy Street Business District as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

To become a Habitat homeowner, applicants must put in 300 to 500 hours on construction. Additionally, they are required to take classes in home maintenance and money management.  The link here offers a perspective on what Habitat applicants must do to earn their front-door keys.

**Top photo – Barbara Benda, Director of Habitat Kent, Caitlin Wege and Jessica McClear Wege, two of Peter M. Wege’s granddaughters, and Terri McCarthy, V.P. of Programming for The Wege Foundation, stand on the porch of the newly remodeled Habitat home on Freyling Place in Wealthy Heights.

Click here to view Application Form

This sign with photos indicates the typical condition of houses before Habitat Kent goes to work on them.
This sign with photos indicates the typical condition of houses before Habitat Kent goes to work on them.
This sign tells the story of the good organizations behind the Habitat LEED restoration of this house in the Wealthy Street neighborhood near Wealthy Theatre.
This sign tells the story of the good organizations behind the Habitat LEED restoration of this house in the Wealthy Street neighborhood near Wealthy Theatre.

FARM FOOD? FAMILY FUN? FIND THE DOWNTOWN MARKET

After years of dreaming, discussing, and designing, a farmer’s market for the inner city is now happening.  Seven abandoned warehouses on a city block bordered by Ionia, Logan, Wealthy, and 131 have been replaced by a soaring structure of recycled wood and concrete. From 131, the Market will be recognized by the cathedral-like glass crown covering its greenhouse. While it’s been known as the “urban market,” it’s now officially the Downtown Market.

Local farmers will start selling produce at the seasonal outdoor market May 4 and will be there Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Thursdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  All 90 open-air stalls have been leased, according to Mimi Fritz, the Downtown Market’s CEO. By supporting local farmers, the Market is also fighting the national obesity epidemic by promoting healthy food choices.

The $30 million Downtown Market, funded by donated private dollars and public tax money, is anchored by the three-story indoor Market.  The new construction will add one more record to Grand Rapids’ many green building firsts by earning a gold LEED designation, the only market in the nation to do so.

The 138,000 square-foot indoors market opens later this summer housing a brew-pub, restaurant, and banquet room. Students from local culinary-education programs are already signed up to use the commercial kitchen for cooking classes this fall. The smaller children’s kitchen features appliances that can be lowered to the height of younger chefs.

While more businesses have signed up for inside space, the only two announced are local entrepreneurs selling fair-trade coffee and ice cream.  Fritz is looking to attract other local businesses selling consumables like cheese, baked goods, meat, wine, fish, and chocolate as drawing cards for area families and out-of-town visitors.

The New York Times recently highlighted the Grand Rapids Downtown Market at http://www.nytimes.com

Jessica Wege McLear, Dave Frey, and Caitlin Wege. Truly “Are A Team” that helped make the Downtown Market a reality. The Wege Foundation and The Frey Foundation were major contributors in the private donations that combined with public funding to build the $30 million indoor/outdoor farm market on Ionia and Wealthy just east of 131.

 

Joining the several nearby steeples in downtown Grand Rapids is the cathedral-like roof of the new Downtown Market. The glass allows sunlight to feed the greenhouse plants in the nursery underneath. The empty building in the background typifies the 7 empty warehouses that were demolished to clear the land for the city's first Downtown Market.

Joining the several nearby steeples in downtown Grand Rapids is the cathedral-like roof of the new Downtown Market. The glass allows sunlight to feed the greenhouse plants in the nursery underneath. The empty building in the background typifies the 7 empty warehouses that were demolished to clear the land for the city’s first Downtown Market. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new Downtown Market with its three pyramids of glass as seen from the highway. The new Downtown Market with its three pyramids of glass as seen from the highway.

GRPS’s Blandford School Raises the Bar

Pictured above, the new 7,000 square-foot LEED-certified Blandford School sets a precedent for the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Not only does it feature the latest advancements in green building, Blandford also sets a new financing standard.  With the lead $1.5 million gift from The Wege Foundation and other private donors added to GRPS’ funds, the $2.3 million school serves as a template for private-public funding in education.

The mosaic in the upper left corner was created by last year’s BEEPs, (Blandford students’ nickname) to honor Blandford Nature Center and School founder Mary Jane Dockery.  In January, the Dockery mosaic welcomed this year’s 60 sixth graders as they left their leaky portable classrooms to enter the almost doubled space of their new school.

Shown in the center photo is Bert Bleke, a former GRPS superintendent and long-time supporter of Blandford School and Nature Center. He greets GRPS Superintendent Teresa Neal on the school’s opening day.

And the bottom picture is a classroom door that was hand carved out of basswood by BEEP teacher, Cheri McKay.  Jeff Lende, the other BEEP teacher, carved his own door leading into his classroom.

racoondoor bertbleke maryjane

Blandford School: A GRPS Gamechanger

An historic groundbreaking took place in May marking the first public school in Grand Rapids  to be built with 90% of the $2 million-plus  cost coming from the private sector. The new Blandford School will open early in 2013 welcoming 60 GRPS sixth-graders to the nature school’s first permanent home.

The Wege Foundation spearheaded the campaign with a lead-off $1.5 million joined by the Steelcase Foundation, $150,000, and the Meijer and Frey foundations each giving $100,000. The only tax dollars spent were the $250,000 that came out of the GRPS’s food service money.

As with every capital project Peter Wege has supported for the past decade, the new Blandford School will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. With solar panels, wind turbines, and eight geo-thermal wells providing the heat and cooling, Blandford hopes to earn a Gold Leed rating when it’s done.

Blandford will be the 9th GRPS LEED-certified school. As Senita Lenear, president of the Board of Education told the audience, children getting educated in Grand Rapids’ LEED schools are “the sustainable leaders of the future.”

The 7,000 square-foot school will be used by Blandford’s two classes of  6th-graders during school hours while the Blandford Nature Center next door and the community will have access to it year around.

Ellen Satterlee, CEO of The Wege Foundation said Blandford “carries on Mr. Wege’s passion for education and for the environment.”

***Above picture – The current sixth graders at Blandford School were all part of the ground breaking ceremony. By Jeffrey Cunningham

 

For additional information please visit – http://grpublicschools.org/blandford

kendallmaryjane
Blandford BEEP Mackenzie Schliem shows her chicken to the legendary Mary Jane Dockeray who is the founder and moving spirit behind both Blandford Nature Center and Blandford School. A mural in the new school will pay tribute to Mary Jane for her forty-plus years of leadership and commitment to both the Center and the School.
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The current Blandford School has been using this portable building since 1990. By Jeffrey Cunningham
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Artist rendering of the new Blandford School. By Jeffrey Cunningham

May 5 The New and Improved Fulton Street Farmers Market Opens Up

Talk about raising the roof! Grand Rapids’ popular Fulton Street Farmers Market is undergoing a $2.7 million upgrade  converting it into a year-around enterprise.  In three months, the snows of winter adorning the construction site will be replaced by fruits of spring when the Market opens the first Saturday in May. Meanwhile 10-14 farmers are selling their produce on Saturdays from 10-1 in the Salvation Army’s Fulton Street parking lot at the Fuller intersection.

For the first time since the Market opened as the “East Side Market” in 1922, it will have a permanent roof, seen in the photo. The farm families who fill the stalls will also have electricity for the first time. That means refrigeration for produce in the summer and heat if they need it.  A new small building with indoor stalls will be opened for business next winter. And, as with all building projects The Wege Foundation supports, the new facility will be LEED-certified.

The thousands of area residents who regularly buy their fresh produce here will find smoother traffic flows and a wider aisle making it easier for shoppers – especially moms with strollers – to move around.  Shoppers with Bridge Cards will also have an easier time picking up the Food Bucks tokens that allow them to buy fruits and vegetables for half price. Last summer the FSFM and the Fair Food Network distributed $221,000 worth of federal Supplemental Nutrition Action Program (SNAP) benefits and Food Bucks enabling eligible shoppers to buy healthy, locally grown food.

As of January 12, 2012, the Midtown Neighborhood Association that manages the Market had raised $2,034,053 towards the final goal of $2,646,805. The final improvements planned for the Fulton Market – including two sets of wheelchair-accessible restrooms – will begin when the capital campaign’s goal has been reached.

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Due to construction, they will be located in the parking lot of The Salvation Army Fulton Heights Citadel (1235 East Fulton).
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The Market is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm from the first Saturday of May until the Saturday before Christmas, and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm January through April.

New GRAM Leader Having Fun Already

Dana Friis-Hansen is pictured at the welcoming reception with Ellen Satterlee, CEO of The Wege Foundation. Peter M. Wege made the major gift that led to the award-winning new Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Dana Friis-Hansen is pictured at the welcoming reception with Ellen Satterlee, CEO of The Wege Foundation. Peter M. Wege made the major gift that led to the award-winning new Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Dana Friis-Hansen left his job as Executive Director of the Austin Museum of Art this summer to take over as CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. In an interesting confluence of art museums, GRAM’s new chief executive will be both exhibitor and presenter during this fall’s ArtPrize. Among the 32 ArtPrize entries to be housed at GRAM will be one Friis-Hansen helped create for the Austin Museum called “The Mona Lisa Project” by photographer Rino Pizzzi.

The GRAM board and the community had the chance to welcome the 50-year-old Friis-Hansen at an open reception July 15. The new director told his audience that the people he’d met here during interviews and the exciting visions they have for GRAM’s future helped him decide to leave Austin for Grand Rapids. And the museum itself, the nation’s first LEED Gold Certified museum opened in 2007, completed the irresistible offer.

For the Massachsett’s native, GRAM’s flexible, open spaces, its environmentally progressive design, and its downtown location make it an ideal community art museum. Friis-Hansen has already taken advantage of the expansive entrance by showing “upside down” films on the outdoor porch ceiling. The first night it didn’t take long for people to spot the movies and come lie down to watch them.

That’s typical of Dana Friis-Hansen’s creative approach to making GRAM a family gathering place. In Austin he created The Family Lab bringing in experts from biologists to chefs who helped him expand the boundaries of what an “art museum” is.

Generosity In G.R. Makes $62 Million Kroc Happen

When Ray Kroc first started selling McDonald’s hamburgs in Chicago, he was impressed by the dedication of Salvation Army members ringing bells on the Windy City’s frozen street to raise money for needy families. He couldn’t know his little business would turn into an empire, but generous from the get-go, Ray Kroc began delivering free coffee and sandwiches to the bell ringers.

Fast forward to 2004. Ray Kroc’s widow leaves the largest gift ever made to any nonprofit when she gives $1.7 billion to the Salvation Army. But not a penny could go to existing programs. Ray and Joan Kroc’s legacy was to build 30 first-class, top-quality family centers around the country in underserved communities. With the Salvation Army’s long history of caring for the neediest, Joan Kroc chose them as the best organization to run the centers.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, Salvation Army made a successful bid to build a center.After three years putting this dream together, on October 21, 2010, the 99,000 square-feet, building on 20 acres of land at 2500 South Division near Alger, the Ray and Joan Kroc Center will open its doors. With a mission of transforming lives through arts, music, education, wellness, recreation, and worship, the Kroc Center will happen thanks to streams of generosity.

Yes, the Kroc estate donated $47 million to Grand Rapids. But the necessary $15 million in matching funds came from a giving Grand Rapids community that understood what this high-end learning, playing, and worshiping center will mean to the thousands of families who live within a mile of it. Every thing inside – from the swimming pool/lazy river/slide to the climbing wall to the 300-seat auditorium to the fitness equipment and computer center – is state-of-the art.

Peter Wege and the Wege Foundation have been involved from the beginning as a major donor and as a green-building influence. Indeed, Wege’s environmental leadership contributed to the Salvation Army’s daring decision to install a geo-thermal heating/cooling system rather than the standard fossil-fuel burning systems. One direct result of that choice is t

The green playing field behind the crane covers the deep wells pulling up water warmed by the Earth to fuel the Salvation Army's 99,000 square-foot family center's heating/cooling system. This geo-thermal system helped the Salvation Army's Grand Rapids Kroc Center earn enough extra LEED points from the U.S. Green Building Council to qualify for a silver and perhaps a gold medallion.
The green playing field behind the crane covers the deep wells pulling up water warmed by the Earth to fuel the Salvation Army’s 99,000 square-foot family center’s heating/cooling system.
This geo-thermal system helped the Salvation Army’s Grand Rapids Kroc Center earn enough extra LEED points from the U.S. Green Building Council to qualify for a silver and perhaps a gold medallion.

hat G.R.’s Kroc Center has moved up from earning the United States Green Building Council’s LEED certification to the silver level and maybe even the gold award from environmental construction.

(Above photo – James Mueller, development office/Salvation Army, Terri McCarthy, Wege Foundation, S.A. volunteer Julie Lovell, head of the new Kroc Center Major Roger Ross, and Ellen Satterlee, of the Wege Foundation, stand in front of the inside equipment running the geo-thermal heating-cooling system for the Kroc Family Center at 2500 South Division. Economicologist Peter Wege helped influence the Salvation Army to install the environmentally friendly system that draws on warmed water from the earth instead of burning fossil fuels.