Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Hurst Mechanical partners with West Michigan companies to provide energy reduction services. Hurst offers energy benchmarking, energy audits, mechanical & electrical upgrades and a completely open web-based building management system. Hurst has been very successful in delivering our customers projects that provide a positive cash flow and unbelievable ROI’s (return on investments).
Hurst has been recognized by DTE Energy in 2011, 2012 & 2013 as a top 10 Trade Ally Performer. This means we get our customers the largest rebates available! Hurst can offer building tours and case studies of the facilities we have helped all over West Michigan!
Hurst will work hard to earn your business and prove our value on a daily basis!
- Hurst Mechanical employs LEED accredited professionals and has consulted local companies through the LEED certification process.
- Hurst Mechanical is certified by the MSCA (Mechanical Service Contractors Association) as a GreenStar contractor and has been recognized as an Energy Solutions Provider .
- Hurst is an EPA Energy Star Partner, a trade ally of all utility providers in West Michigan and active in the local US Green Building Council.
Learn more at www.hurstmechanical.com
A guest post by Michele Van Houten
Chances are you’ve never heard anyone say that farming is easy. And that’s for good reason – because there isn’t much that’s easy about it. Yet, our West Michigan community has the good fortune to be home to a growing mix of like-minded individuals who are deliberately choosing to do just that. Their approach to farming is commonly referred to as“community supported agriculture” (CSA). Their decisions to farm come from a desire to be active participants in the hands-on solution of bringing safe and healthy, sustainably grown local food to our community. At the same time, these farmers feel a deep sense of responsibility to both the farmland and the community that sustain them. This is what drives them; what motivates them.
So what is a CSA farm and how is its role in our local food movement contributing to the well-being of our community? LocalHarvest, an online directory that provides organic and local food information, provides this overview: “A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return, receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”The Robyn Van En Center for CSA Resources goes further: “This commitment implies a willingness to share with the farmer both the bounty from the land and at least some of the risks involved with production. In this way, farmers and members become partners in the production, distribution and consumption of locally grown food.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture adds, “CSAs take many forms, but all have at their center a shared commitment to building a more local and equitable agricultural system, one that allows growers to focus on land stewardship and still maintain productive and profitable farms.”
Jon Potvin, Midwest Energy Group General Manager for the previous four years, has been promoted to a leadership position at Allied Mechanical Services. Allied is MEG’s parent company and Jon’s role will be focused on leading the business development, sales and marketing teams. Jon will remain involved with a few strategic MEG customers and continues to share offices with the MEG team.
Assuming the GM role is Brian Pageau. Brian has been with MEG since 2010 in a business development and marketing role.
Learn more about Midwest Energy Group here.
Alliance for Environmental Sustainability is partnering with MI Solar Works to lower the barriers to financing and funding solar projects. MI Solar Works is a state-wide initiative to solarize 6,000 Michigan homes and businesses by the end of 2014 as part of the Department of Energy’s “Race to the Rooftops” national challenge, an effort to bring affordable solar energy to Michigan.
Zero down financing is available based on credit approval. Homeowners and businesses can also take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit on the total cost of the solar system. Solar systems for MI Solar Works are designed, engineered and assembled in Michigan. AES is hosting an informational session at its Grand Rapids office on Tuesday, December 10, 5:30 – 7:15 at ICCF in Grand Rapids. Learn more here.
Tomorrow, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) will be showing the award winning documentary, Trashed at Celebration Cinema North as part of the ongoing WMEAC Film Series. Trashed is a feature film that examines what modern American’s consider “waste” and looks at the way our nation holds a blind eye to both where our trash goes and the ramifications that trash has on the world.
At the film showing, Clothing Matters, a local environmentally friendly retailer, will be giving away 10 Sling Packs made 100% from recycled water bottles to illustrate how what some consider trash can be fully recycled and put to future use. Attendees can register for the drawing at the door, where they will purchase tickets, and names will be drawn randomly.
The WMEAC Film Series, in it’s fifth year, is centered around bringing environmentally focused films to West Michigan. These films are often paired with a panel discussion to further explore the topic of the film with local advocates and scholars. This season the WMEAC Film Series will also show Gasland 2 January 21st, 2014 at UICA, Chasing Ice February 18th, 2014 at UICA, and The Last Crop, March 18th at UICA.
There is a $5 suggested donation for tickets to the film.
Sponsored by Clothing Matters, Edward Jones and WMEAC
A report this week from the Climate Accountability Institute has triggered a number of stories highlighting that just 90 companies are responsible for two-thirds of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions, citing culprits such as ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil and BP. These “carbon majors” include 50 investor-owned companies, 31 state-owned companies, and nine government-run industries in the former Soviet Union, China and other countries, according to the paper “Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854-2010.“ The Guardian has an interactive graph that is probably the easiest source to decipher, see it here.
There are some valuable takeaways from this data, but the headlines suggest a potentially inaccurate one. Indeed, a relatively small number of companies have been responsible for the vast majority of fossil fuel extraction over the course of human existence. This is important in understanding how few decision makers are involved in this uniquely global issue, their relationships with their respective governments, and the enormous scale of these enterprises. But the headlines interpreting this research oversimplify how we allocate responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.
There are plenty of industries with a limited number of global players. The automotive industry is one example, where it’s reasonable to assume that significantly less than 90 companies are responsible for a majority of cars and trucks ever made. The headlines suggest that the fossil fuel industry bears primary responsibility for emissions as the source of fuel and cement. While there are certainly some complicated issues involved when discussing how mineral extraction impacts society, as an emissions talking point it seemingly dismisses the demand side of the discussion.
in a recent article for Retrofit Magazine, local green building and environmental consultant Nate Gillette highlights the role of the US Green Building Council and Walmart in addressing chemicals of concern in recent months.
There was not enough support among USGBC members to establish credits addressing chemicals of concern (ie: PVCs, brominated or halogenated flame retardants, and phthalates) in the new LEEDv4 Green Building Rating System, but the world’s largest retailer doesn’t require a consensus to enact new protocols. Walmart has announced a new policy regarding sustainable chemistry in consumables, effectively telling its suppliers they need to reduce 10 chemicals of concern in the items that Walmart sells if they want to have shelf space at the store.
Says Gillette: “Frankly, this is an industry game changer and puts the wheels into motion regulating harmful chemicals on a large scale—something USGBC tried but has been unable to do for more than six years. It’s interesting what can happen when a company of that breadth and scale decides it wants to do something meaningful. The truth is Walmart carries the biggest stick and companies want to do business with the retailer so badly that if they have to make their widgets without 10 chemicals they will figure out a way to make it happen. The good thing for the rest of the consumers in the world who don’t shop at Walmart is that there is a big trickle-down effect: Makers of widgets generally don’t make them two different ways. Thus begins the removal of these chemicals across the board.”
Gillette (AIA, LEED AP O+M, CEM) is the vice president and director of WMSBF member Energy Finance Analytics LLC and an editorial advisor on retrofit magazine. He works with clients to successfully implement and manage energy efficiency and sustainability projects.
West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon program examining the feasibility of community solar and similar solar energy initiatives in West Michigan on Monday, December 9, at Kentwood Office Furniture from 12 to 2 pm. Featured speakers include David Konkle, Energy Programs Director for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and Haris Alibasic, Director of the City of Grand Rapids Office of Energy and Sustainability.
One of the Midwest’s most accomplished renewable energy advocates, Konkle was the lead author of the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association’s Community Solar Guidebook for Michigan, a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. He will share various models available for community solar in Michigan and outline some potential plans for how the business community could lead such an initiative. Alibasic will share a concept for redeveloping the Butterworth landfill in Grand Rapids as a solar energy field. The meeting will conclude with a town hall on community solar featuring Konkle and representatives of the WMSBF Energy Committee and the Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center at Grand Valley State University.
Konkle retired from the City of Ann Arbor in 2008 and is currently the Energy Programs Director for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. He has made a lifelong commitment to educating people on energy issues and the importance of combating climate change and preparing for the end of the fossil fuel age. A nationally known speaker, Konkle has presented at national meetings of the US Department of Energy, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Dept of Agriculture, the American Planning Association, the US Green Building Council and numerous others. Among many other honors, he was awarded the EPA’s “Climate Protection Award” for individual achievement in Washington DC on Earth Day 2003.
Cost for lunch is $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Learn more and RSVP at wmsbf.org/december.