Member News, Upcoming Events

LEED V4 Understanding Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance


By July 2015 LEED will update to the new version, don’t get left behind – Learn about V4 Now!

With existing buildings making up 40% of the emissions, energy use and causing water waste and poor indoor air quality, economical, social and environmental benefits are found in the improved operations of our existing commercial  buildings.  In today’s business, LEED is the language of green.

Gain essential knowledge of the LEED O+M v4 rating system, including credit intents, requirements, and referenced standards; synergies among credits; and foundations of the LEED certification process. This course provides a foundation for pursuing the LEED AP O+M exam.


  • Recognize the unique aspects of LEED EB O+M v4 rating systems family and differences between each rating system (EB, Schools, Retail, Data Centers, Hospitality, Warehouses and Distribution Centers)
  • Describe the goal, intent and requirements of key O+M prerequisites and credits
  • Identify synergies between credits
  • Plan for the certification process.

Thursday, September 11
8:30 am – 5:15 pm, local time

The Christman University

Continuing Education: 7 GBCI, AIA (HSW)

Faculty: Samuel Pobst, LEED Fellow/LEED AP, O+M, BD+C, ID+C, Homes/USGBC Faculty™/LEED Platinum Home Owner

Price: $240.  ($45 discount for WMSBF members: $195)

Member News, Upcoming Events, WMSBF News

Purchasers Wanted for West Michigan Sustainable Purchasing Summit October 30

West Mich Sustainability Summit Action Plan_Page_1

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, Lakeshore Advantage and the Michigan Economic Development Corp’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program will present the 2014 West Michigan Sustainability Summit on October 30 at the Doubletree Hilton in Holland.   The invitation-only matchmaking summit will create a targeted experience to help West Michigan purchasers meet price-competitive, quality-driven Michigan suppliers that have the capacity, certifications and talent to quote and win future contracts related to waste reduction, sustainable raw materials, ethical sourcing, green chemistry, minority ownership and other sustainability concerns.

Additionally, this summit will highlight the continuing commitment by West Michigan purchasers to sustainability and green products/services.  The summit follows an existing model the MEDC has been using frequently on the other side of the state, with the addition of a sustainability twist.  Purchasers include Haworth, Gentex, Magna, Kellogg, Aspen Surgical, Whirlpool, Herman Miller, Perrigo and Steelcase.   Purchasers interested in participating should contact Daniel Schoonmaker at or 616.422.7963 by September 9.  A call for suppliers will go out later in the month.


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More information on the summit is available here (PDF)

Information on other Pure Michigan Business Connect programs can be found here.



Living Building Challenge Contest in Kalamazoo

The Office for Sustainability at Western Michigan University is hosting a collaborative student, community, and industry design challenge for multidisciplinary teams across southwest Michigan. The goal of the challenge is to design a Living Building Challenge-inspired outdoor presentation space for the Gibbs House in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The design challenge is geared toward satisfying the Energy, Water, Materials, and Beauty petals of the Living Building Challenge standards 2.1, while also considering the recent 3.0 standards publication. 
The pavilion-like structure is required to be a low-impact, beautiful, multi-purpose presentation space that can be constructed from sustainable materials; seamlessly integrated with a 6 kW photovoltaic awning array; engineered for rainwater harvesting techniques; and designed as an active learning environment through the use of a sustainability exhibit. Factors of affordability, feasibility, code compliance, and innovation in design weigh heavily on overall design scores. User imperatives of the space include occupancy levels of about 50 people with a roughly 1000 SF building footprint, a sustainable restroom solution, at least two walls and a roof to provide protection from the elements, and flexibility for a variety of functions such as lectures, educational activities, community events, and entertainment. 
The winning team will earn a substantial cash prize and have the chance for its design to be implemented, all or in part, at the Gibbs House property. Those interested in participating are required to register online and submit a full design plan, as detailed in the Design Challenge Guidelines, by October 1, 2014. The winning team will be announced on National Campus Sustainability Day near the end of October. 
An upcoming design panel event will take place on Monday, Sept 8 from 6-8 PM at the WMU Office for Sustainability. Distinguished panelists from Steelcase, ChemLink, and Solar Winds Power Systems are planned to discuss their knowledge and experience with topics such as responsible materials selection and allocation, LBC Red List compliances, solar photovoltaic system design, and other sustainable design practices related to the Design Challenge. 
For more information, please feel free to email or call. Additional information is also available at:
FYI, Member News, Upcoming Events

More Dates for Kent County Farmland Bus Tour

Bus Tour Save the Date


Want to learn more about local agriculture and its impact on our economy and environment? Join other like-minded members of the community for the 2014 Kent County Bus Tour, sponsored by the Wege Foundation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. The tour, which will take place on October 3 from 9 am-2:30 pm and again on November 14,  will examine Kent County’s agriculture and its impact from a local-focused perspective. A networking event will follow the bus tour.

For more information, or to RSVP, email Seating is limited.


MiBiz: Commercial Waste Volumes Add Weight to Region’s Economic Recovery

MiBiz talked to several members of the WMSBF Waste Task Force this week in a story detailing how local waste volumes are a sign of economic recovery.  

The increasing waste volumes at Kent County landfills serve as one measure of an improving local economy, said Doug Wood, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW). “In 2011, volumes really started to turn around, and every year after that waste goes up more,” Wood said. “If you take into consideration waste generation and recycling, I think we can definitely see growth in the economy.” 

An MiBiz analysis shows that local waste volumes over about the last decade and a half generally track with other traditional economic indicators, such as commercial building permits and jobs numbers.

The reason behind that correlation is quite simple, said Paul Isely, chair of the economics department at the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids. Long-term trend data show that economic growth leads to the generation of more commercial waste, he said.

“(Waste volumes) are not the best forecaster, but the data adds to many other pieces that are saying that things are good and getting better,” Isely said. “The indicator is useful in that it adds weight to that story.”

Tracking commercial waste volumes provides economists with a so-called “coincidence indicator” that shows where the economy is today but does not necessarily help them predict where it will be six months or a year from now, he said.

Read the full story here. 

FYI, Member News

Project Coordinator Sought for New Groundswell Initiative

The Center for Educational Partnerships at Grand Valley State University is seeking candidates for the following position:

Project Coordinator for Lower Grand River Education Initiative (LGREI)- a full-time, three-year grant-funded administrative/professional position that will coordinate partnerships between schools and the West Michigan community to address non-point source pollution problems through awareness, education, and action. The coordinator will manage professional development for K-12 teachers, student involvement in service learning initiatives, community engagement with those initiatives, and community events. This will include but is not limited to coordinating marketing and communication activities for Groundswell, and assisting with program growth, management, and evaluation.

Position requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree (Master’s preferred)
- Proven experience coordinating and implementing projects with community organizations 
- Public relations and marketing experience
- Management and organization of complex systems and projects

The job posting and application information are available here on Grand Valley’s Human Resources website. The application deadline is September 8, 2014.

Upcoming Events

Michigan Green Healthcare Conference October 9 in Grand Rapids

The Michigan Green Healthcare Committee (MGHC) invites you to attend its 7th Annual Conference on Oct. 9, 2014, at Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center, downtown Grand Rapids. Participants will learn from industry leaders about how healthcare facilities, health professionals, government agencies and partner organizations are greening the healthcare sector to improve human health, protect our natural resources and save money.

In addition to the full-day conference, a complimentary preconference reception featuring Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Oct 8 at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company. Please review the event brochure for more information.


Registration is now open through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  Information regarding lodging accommodations is also available online.


For the first time, the MGHC will recognize individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding sustainability efforts in healthcare through a new awards program.  The first award will highlight an organization that has made a broad impact and sustainability gain for their organization and its community. The second award will honor an individual, or “hometown hero,” in sustainability and green healthcare. To nominate yourself or a colleague for these awards, please complete the nomination form by the Sept. 5 deadline.

Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities  

Please review our sponsorship & exhibitor flyer for more information about supporting this event. The keynote and reception sponsorships are still available!

Questions can be directed to

Upcoming Events, WMSBF Monthly Event, WMSBF News

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Retrospective Panel: Monday September 8


In the summer of 1994 a group of 10 like-minded companies launched an initiative that would allow local companies, colleges, governments and non-profits to share knowledge and collaborate on initiatives promoting sustainable business practices within their organizations and the region. One of the first organizations of its kind in the world, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has served as a support network for two generations of triple-bottom-line practitioners, playing a critical role in distinguishing West Michigan as the nation’s unofficial capital of sustainable business, helping to popularize green building, sustainable product design, beyond-compliance practices and savings-driven sustainability.

“Founding the forum took a lot of legwork, and there was some apprehension on many people’s parts, as you might imagine,” said David Rinard, Director of Global Environmental Performance for Steelcase Inc. “It took persistence and determination, but today we’re a strong robust organization. I think that idea that businesses and environmentalists cannot work together has been disproven.”

The anniversary celebration begins with the regular forum monthly meeting on Monday, September 8 from 12 to 2 pm at the Main Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library.  The retrospective on 20 years of sustainable business in West Michigan offers a high-powered panel of local sustainable business experts including Tom Fehsenfeld, Crystal Flash; Mark Lacroix, The Carbon Neutral Company; David Rinard, Steelcase Inc.; Deb Steketee, Aquinas College; Bill Stough, Sustainable Research Group; and Keith Winn, Catalyst Partners.  Grand Valley State University’s Norman Christopher will moderate.

The panel will discuss how leading West Michigan organizations began to invest in sustainability initiatives during the 1990s and the challenges such efforts encountered, the region’s unique role in promoting pollution prevention, sustainable design and green building practices nationally and internationally, and how approaches to sustainable business and the triple-bottom line have evolved over three generations of sustainable business professionals, among other topics.

“West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum was the vanguard of bringing business and environmental issues under one umbrella, and saying that these two aren’t counterproductive to each other, but mutually beneficial to one another,” said Stough, who was the primary organizer for the forum in 1994.

The meeting will also include updates on two initiatives discussed at recent forum meetings: the ArtPrize sustainability project and Michigan community solar.  Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for non-members.  Learn more and register at


Member News

Holland Selected for Next Round of Georgetown Energy Prize Competition

The City of Holland has been selected to advance to the quarterfinalist round of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a $5 million national incentive competition that aims to dramatically improve America’s energy standing by challenging communities across the U.S. to reduce their energy consumption.

The City currently has a 40-year strategic energy plan underway, and has a long history of large-scale, energy efficiency programs, including:

  • capturing waste heat from energy production for the downtown snowmelt system;
  • installing LED pedestrian lighting downtown and at Centennial Park;
  • converting traffic signals to LEDs;
  • determining next generation energy production at the upcoming Holland Energy Park, which cuts greenhouse and other emissions by more than 60 percent;
  • offering a wide variety of utility energy efficiency and educational programs.

“Holland is a leader in researching and implementing ways to save and reduce energy, which gives us a strong starting position for the Georgetown Energy Prize,” said Ryan Cotton, city manager. “Additionally, our history of collaboration and cooperation between community organizations gives us a competitive edge we need to make it into the next round.”

The City has assembled a collaborative team, outlined a plan and has secured commitments from local government, utilities and several community-based organizations such as Holland Board of Public Works, Hope College, Grand Valley State University, West Coast Chamber of Commerce, Good Samaritan Ministries, Michigan Saves, Holland Public Schools, SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, the Holland Community Sustainability Committee, and the Community Foundation.

Holland plans to use the Energy Prize process to assemble new programs, best practices and methods to communicate additional ways to save energy, save money and increase the environmental quality of life for its residents. During the next few months, Holland will fine tune energy efficiency plans, and will look to the community for input and participation in the competition. 

In total, during the two years of the GUEP competition, there is the potential to save more than $1 billion in total energy costs and cut millions of tons of CO2 emissions, collectively among competing cities. If awarded the $5 million prize, it will be used on energy efficiency programs that help ensure the continued implementation of the plan.

Dr. Francis Slakey, founder of the $5 million competition at Georgetown University, remarked that, “the communities we selected are leaders in energy efficiency who will develop innovative approaches that will inspire and enable others to follow in their footsteps.”

To learn more about the Georgetown University Energy Prize and to track the competition’s progress, visit, or follow the Prize on Twitter (@GUEnergyPrize)

Member News

Job Fairs This Week with Michigan Works!


Great opportunities for jobseekers to connect with employers in our community! Please share this information with those looking for employment.

Community Job Fair

Wednesday, August 13th

9:00am – Noon

Kentwood Community Church – Wyoming Campus

2950 28th Street SW, Wyoming MI  49509

Sponsored by Kentwood Community Church in in collaboration with Michigan Works!.


Michigan Works! Job Fair

Friday, August 29th

10:00am – 12:30pm

622 Godfrey Avenue SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Sponsored by Michigan Works! in collaboration with GRCC.