If sustainability is important to you, you’ll be happy to know that it’s also a priority for Grand Rapids. Named “America’s Greenest City” by Fast Company magazine, Grand Rapids has received worldwide recognition for its sustainable efforts.
Our region is blessed with abundant natural resources, and we are committed to protecting and preserving this very special environment for future generations to enjoy.
The City of Grand Rapids identifies sustainability as one of six core values in its Strategic Plan. The Office of 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. Ten years later, Site Selection Magazine ranked Grand Rapids the nation’s #1 metro for sustainable development on the basis of such criteria as LEED and Energy Star buildings, renewable energy generation and green industry projects.
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.
From its inception in 2005, the Community Sustainability Partnership has grown from five founding partners (Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Schools and the City of Grand Rapids) to more than 280 endorsing partners. All have committed to work together to restore environmental integrity, improve economic prosperity and promote social equity in the community.
Other local sustainability groups include the Center for Sustainability at Aquinas College, the Office of Sustainability Practices at Grand Valley State University, the West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnership, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
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: