The City of Grand Rapids identifies sustainability as one of six core values in its Strategic Plan. The Office of Energy and Sustainability helps ensure that environmental impact is factored into all decisions made by the city while working to achieve continued measurable progress toward five key objectives – including reducing carbon emissions, protecting and preserving water resources, and minimizing waste generation.
These environmental initiatives build on a record of significant progress over the past decade. In 2009, Grand Rapids became the first U.S. city recognized by the United Nations as a Regional Centre for Sustainable Development. Other recognitions include:
The city has partnered with local professionals, building owners and community organizations to achieve 50% net carbon emission reductions by 2030, and zero net carbon by 2050. The Grand Rapids 2030 District encompasses 14.5 million sq. ft. of building space and 1,600 community stakeholders working together to reduce carbon and increase economic viability.
Launched in West Michigan as a way to encourage energy-efficient building practices, this friendly competition was so successful that it morphed into a statewide initiative. In its first five years, Battle of the Buildings competitors reduced 137 metric tons of CO2e and put $14 million back into local economies via energy savings.
Our local building and design industries have long been at the vanguard of environmental progress with their dedication to LEED principles. An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED spells out in detail what constitutes a "green building."
Among our LEED accomplishments: