Green Buildings of West Michigan: Your Personal Invite to the Experience!

Education & Training with GLREA


Grand Rapids Michigan


UPDATE: The tours were fantastic! On my tour we had a great group from Architects to Lumber Sales. We were able to introduce several new people to the LEED for Homes project and the affordable homes we toured sent the right message...

It doesn't have to cost a lot of GOLD to go GREEN!!

It is just smart building practices....

Make plans for next year...this is truly a worthwhile event!








About 30 miles inland from Lake Michigan, along the banks of the Grand River you will find Grand Rapids, Michigan. G-Rap as my kids call it. Over 2,000 years ago, people associated with the Hopewell culture occupied the Grand River Valley. The Ottawa Indians began several villages along the Grand River around A. D. 1700. (read the GR WIKI for more history.)


To this day, there is a sense of community and love and culture surrounding the busy metropolis of Grand Rapids, Michigan. When you talk with "Grand Rapidians," as they are fondly called, you can hear their pride in the area and in the people that inhabit this river city. You can feel the sense of community and love and culture when you read of the many philanthropist in the area who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to continuous improvement of the area. Place Rated Almanac ranked Grand Rapids as the #3 city in the nation for fun and recreation.

In Grand Rapids, you will also find a culture built around sustainability. What you may not know about the buildings in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas, is the commitment building owners have made to environmentally and socially responsible practices in building.

In the 19th century, Grand Rapids became known as Furniture City. Now the same business leaders who assist in a healthy economy have made the Grand Rapids metropolis a national center of green building.

Renae Hesselink




"The Grand Rapids metropolitan area ranks first nationally in the number of LEED buildings per capita amongst larger cities, and in the top 50 cities in the U.S.," explains USGBC-WM Chapter Chair Renae Hesselink, LEED AP. "We've earned the right to call ourselves a national center of green building, but more importantly we're positioning our region as a trendsetter, a leader in innovation, and home to experts in the design and manufacture of energy-efficient, sustainable buildings and materials."




The West Michigan USGBC thought it a shame not to showcase many of the 120+ LEED certified buildings in the West Michigan area. Thanks to the efforts of the West Michigan USGBC volunteers working tirelessly over the past year, you can experience this green, sustainable community with tours led by some of the leaders in the green building industry. Regardless of your interests or industry, there will be a tour tract for you.

Have you ever wondered how to green a hospital or health care facility? There are two Health Care Tours which consists of 10 LEED certified health care facilities.

Have you wondered if LEED certification works for non-profits? The Non-Profit Tour highlights four non-profit organizations who have committed to sustainable building.

How about my favorite, LEED for Homes? How about SIMPLE, DECENT, AFFORDABLE AND LEED CERTIFIED? Join Chris Hall, Cal Delano and myself for a tour through 6+ Habitat for Humanity Homes to experience first hand that LEED certified does not have to mean extra budget money. This tour will also include a multi-family assisted living center.

LEED for Schools, Renae's forte, will feature higher education as well as K-12 to demonstrate how children learn better in healthier environments.

Want some fun? How about the Bridges and Brews walking tour? Here you will experience a tour through 5 LEED certified buildings, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and complete your walk at Founders Brewery, not a LEED building but has first rate brews!

Check out the other tracts: Furniture City Tour, Government Buildings Tour, Hospitality Tour, Downtown Walking Tour and others at the West Michigan USGBC website.



Green Buildings of West Michigan Tour is being coordinated with Green Town: Climate Strategies for Sustainable Communities. What an ALL STAR lineup of events for the weekend!

and you thought you might be bored!




Wow! That's not all! I saved the best for last...if you are a LEED AP in need of CEU's, the chapter has worked hard to get the tour tracts qualified for Continuing Ed. What a great way to learn, first hand, innovation: to be able to get under the hood and take a look inside. To see the heart and the lungs of the building breathing. 

If you work in a building or live in a house (or plan to some day!) you owe it to yourself to attend! If you are a realtor, commercial or residential, curious about green buildings and LEED certification, what a great way to be amongst the leaders in the nation to answer your questions.

Please check the WM USGBC website for a full listing of tours and registration. The event is September 10 & 11, 2010; just around the corner. If you have not made plans for your fall getaway...make plans for a working vacation! Come enjoy the beauty of West Michigan while learning how to become a leader in your industry.

And if you can't attend ~ you can buy the book! These folks have thought of everything!!

Come ride the RAPID and experience a green, sustainable community! Green Buildings of West Michigan Book

This just in (things keep getting better and better!):

Students listen up!!

If you are a student at Hope College, Grand Rapids Community College, Kendall School of Art and Design, Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College or Ferris State University there are scholarships available for you to attend the tour!

just email Renae at the bottom of the registration page.




Comments (5)


WOW~~~@!!!! Mary!!!

Congratulations to Western Michigan. Soon you will be catching up to Western North Carolina, my cousin! =)  (I'm smiing)...

This is such a super Localism post...and this good news, " The Grand Rapids metropolitan area ranks first nationally in the number of LEED buildings per capita amongst larger cities, and in the top 50 cities in the U.S...." is outstanding.

Aug 31, 2010 03:28 PM

PS I Featured this at the Eco-All-Stars Group.

Aug 31, 2010 03:30 PM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Thanks JaneAnne! It has been a fun project to work on!

You should come out for the tour!

Aug 31, 2010 03:58 PM
Loan Survivor Real Estate Financing Expert
Purchases, First Time Buyers, Pre-Approvals, Refinance - Birmingham, MI

The east side of Michigan is green with envy!  Nice post:)  Keep up the great blogging.

Sep 01, 2010 02:26 PM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Hi Drew ~

The tours were fantastic! Come on over to the West side next year for the tours and you, too, can share in the fun! There is an Eastern Michigan Branch of the USGBC....check into it! I can almost guarentee it will be worth the effort! M

Sep 19, 2010 04:27 PM