Montcalm County Establishes PACE District

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 11-0 on Monday to approve a county-wide PACE district with Levin Energy Partners as the administrator. This makes Montcalm County the 10th county and 13th local government to join Lean & Green Michigan.

Commercial, industrial, multifamily, non-profit and faith-based property owners throughout Montcalm County can now take advantage of Lean & Green Michigan PACE, which offers long-term, fixed-rate financing solutions for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. The savings generated from such projects exceed the PACE loan repayments, thereby generating immediate positive cash flow for property owners.

To learn more or get started, visit or send an email

FYI, Upcoming Events, WMSBF News

Volunteer with WMSBF at Winter Beer Fest


West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is partnering with the Sweaty Mouse Green Team to help make the 2015 Winter Beer Festival a zero waste event.  Volunteers willing to work a four-hour shift on Friday, February 27 or Saturday, February 28 will get a free ticket and drink tokens for use on the day they are not volunteering, and/or the remainder of the day they are volunteering.  Saturday is currently sold out.

The 2015 Winter Beer Festival features more than 100 Michigan breweries and over 1,000 different craft beers. Guests will enjoy fine music from local bands and other fun entertainment to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of this popular event. A selection of tasty food will be available for purchase at the festival.

The Michigan Brewers Guild has made it part of their mission to leave no trace at the events and festivals they present throughout our state. On average 90-95% of all waste is diverted into compost and recycling. To achieve this, investments have been made in compostable products that include all beer sampling cups, food vendor and hospitality service wares and festival program guides/maps. In addition, all participating breweries must use compostable and/or recyclable products for back of house operations during the festivals.

The Sweaty Mouse Green Team presents opportunities for guests to learn about ZeroWaste while winning prizes donated from breweries at each festival. Volunteers work to welcome guests and “award” them with compostable “good green deed” slips. These slips can be returned to the Green Team booth and submitted as an entry for drawings that take place throughout the day. Prizes range from t-shirts and hats to gift cards that can be used at the guild’s main merchandise booth. In addition to helping with the incentive portion of our efforts, volunteers learn which elements of the waste stream go into compost, recycling or landfill. Once trained, volunteers will help monitor compost/recycling stations and report to Sweaty Mouse staff when they need to be changed out.

We are seeking volunteer crews to fill the following shifts:

  • Friday February 27th 1 pm-5 pm
  • Friday February 27th 5 pm-9 pm
  • Saturday February 28th 11 am-3 pm
  • Saturday February 28th 3 pm-7 pm

Contact Daniel Schoonmaker at to sign up by Thursday, February 26 at 10 am.

During volunteer shifts light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are provided throughout the day at the Green Team Booth.


Register Now For the Next Lean & Green Michigan Contractor Training!  

Lean and Green Michigan and the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association are partnering to provide a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) contractor training on March 11, 2015 in Williamston, Michigan from 10am to 2pm. Attendees will receive live training on how to maximize the benefits of Lean & Green PACE financing for their business, a light lunch, a PACE training manual (electronic and paper), and marketing materials that can be used to incorporate PACE financing in project proposals. 

The cost of the training is $150 per person for non-MEECA members and $125 for MEECA members. These payments can be made via Paypal. For non-MEECA members, the $150 Lean & Green Michigan registration fee can be applied toward becoming a MEECA member. For more information regarding MEECA membership, please visit or email Brindley Byrd

Attendance at a Lean & Green Michigan training seminar and registration with Michigan Saves are required to be listed on the Lean & Green Michigan website as a registered PACE contractor. To learn more or to register for a training, visit or email to

Training Details: 
Lean & Green Michigan and Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association Training
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Keller Plaza – Energy Cafe
120 East Grand River* 
Williamston, Michigan

*Please note: This venue is located in downtown Williamston on the southeast corner of Putnam and Grand River. Google Maps will take you to the wrong location if you only search for “120 E. Grand River.”


Energy Efficient Buildings in 2015

Check out this blog post from WMSBF member The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan.

Four factors are now perfectly aligned to create significant energy-saving opportunities for commercial and industrial property owners in 2015. They are (1) The sheer number of buildings built prior to 1999 that, on average, consume 67% more energy than those of newer construction.(2) Removal of the greatest barrier to energy efficiency projects – the initial upfront capital and development costs. (3) The meteoric rise of long-term funding available for energy efficiency projects. (4) The decreasing cost of a growing number of technology choices that foster energy savings.

Keep reading here

FYI, Member News

Control Solutions Introduces Ultimate Guide to Building Automation

Building automation is monitoring and controlling a building’s systems including: mechanical, security, fire and flood safety, lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Such systems can

  • keep building climates within a specified range,
  • light rooms according to an occupancy schedule,
  • monitor performance and device failures in all systems, and
  • alarm facility managers in the event of a malfunction.

Check out a helpful guide on building automation from WMSBF member Control Solutions here.

FYI, Upcoming Events

WMCSP – Ignite! – May 18

WMCSP Ignite postcardThe West Michigan Community Sustainable Partnerships are planning a “TEDx” style event on May 18, 2015 at the Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids. The event will have space for 12 presenters who will each have approximately 15 minute blocks of time to share a best practice or new idea, all focused on some aspect of sustainability.

Learn more and sign up here.

Member News, Upcoming Events

Great(er) Grand Rapids Garbage Tour

Think about all the waste you produce; not only from your home, but also in your office, business, and industry. Hundreds of American corporations have achieved, or are on a path to achieve, zero waste to the landfill. The city of Grand Rapids is a leader in reducing and recycling waste.

This year, the Great(er) Grand Rapids Garbage Tour takes a new route to show you ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We’ve added electronics, the fastest growing space invader in our landfills. The 5 ½ hour journey describes why recycling electronics is important and then takes you inside the systems in place to reinvent your waste stream.

Your exploration warms up at the incinerator, where trash becomes electricity. We’ll eat at the recycle center, (please bring a sack lunch), learn from the experts, and follow your garbage from our picnic to the top of the landfill. Finally, experts at Advanced Technology Recycling will get your hands dirty in the process of recycling and repurposing yesterday’s electronics.

We will visit:

  • Covanta Waste to Energy Incinerator
  • Kent County Recycling and Education Facility
  • South Kent Landfill
  • Advanced Technology Recycling

April 30, 2015

10:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

The bus tour will start and end at the GRCC Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC, 622 Godfrey Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

  • Free parking
  • Don’t forget your sack lunch
  • Wear long pants and close-toed shoes
  • Cost: $35

Seating is limited so register now!

(616) 234-3400

You must be 18 years of age to participate.  Grand Rapids Community College is an equal opportunity institution. GRCC is a tobacco free campus.

FYI, Member News, WMSBF News

New White Paper: LEED Pilot Credit: Local Food Production

WMSBF White Paper LEED Food Production Credit_Page_01

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and partners are releasing a new white paper as part of the WMSBF’s White Paper Series.

LEED Pilot Credit: Local Food Production examines LEED pilot credit SSpc82 using Grand Rapids Downtown Market as a case study. SSpc82 is an opportunity for new and existing commercial buildings and homes to earn additional LEED points by growing edible plants on the building site, participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm program, or by supporting an existing local farm with financial or material support and staff volunteer time.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market was among the first projects to apply for the SSpc82 pilot credit. This white paper looks at how the Downtown Market implemented the pilot credit.

View the white paper here: WMSBF White Paper LEED Food Production Credit

Previous white papers can be found here.


MEDC Food Purchasing Summit in Grand Rapids

The MEDC is again partnering with Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Meijer and many others to host the second annual Pure Michigan Agriculture Matchmaking Summit on March 19th 2015 at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. Pure Michigan Business Connect, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, has collected over 200 open procurement needs in a variety of categories (see link below). If you know of any suppliers that would be interested in meeting with the purchasers below, please send them the link in this email to review and complete:

Purchasers participating include Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, Beaumont Hospital System, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Cherry Capital Foods, Fortune Fish Company, Garden Fresh Gourmet, Gordon Food Service, Heeren Brothers, Lipari, Kroger, Marquette Food Cooperative, Michigan International Speedway, Meijer, Metro Health Hospital, Pearson Foods, Plumbs Supermarkets, SpartanNash, University of Michigan, The Henry Ford, Walmart, West Michigan FarmLink, and Whole Foods.

Please click the link below to review the open procurement needs and apply for a chance to attend this summit.

Link to Apply:

Much like last year’s summit, suppliers will have an opportunity for 1:1 meetings with the purchasers listed above. But, new for this year, purchasers will also have walk-up tables to take ad-hoc appointments. Each application will be reviewed, and selections will be determined by participating teams based on the data collected in the application. Suppliers should be concise and answer all questions on the application to the best of their ability. The priority deadline to apply is February 22nd, 2015.

All applicants will be informed whether or not they’ve been selected to participate on or before March 9th, 2015.

Past Events

February Meeting Review

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum presented a luncheon on the Governor’s Recycling Initiative on Monday, February 9 at Grand Rapids Brewing Company in downtown Grand Rapids.  This month’s meeting presented by Greener Grads and New Soil.

Steering the Governor’s effort on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is Matt Flechter, the DEQ’s Recycling and Composting Coordinator.  His presentation is available here: WMSBF Flechter

The meeting also featured presentations from Brian Smith of New Soil and Gary Bond of Barfly Ventures (here) and Seth Yon of Greener Grads.

Smith’s presentation featured a portion of the video Story of Stuff, in full below.

Yon’s presentation featured this video: