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My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

UPDATE: Three more buildings have joined the competition.

Organizers say the MATS administration office, Community Mental Health and the Hall of Justice, all in Muskegon County are now involved in the Battle of the Buildings, bringing the total square footage to more than 9 million.  The new goal is 10 million square feet by the registration deadline of March 31.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More than three dozen local businesses are competing in cutting down energy in the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The owners of 45 buildings representing nearly 9 million square feet of space have signed up to take part in the inaugural competition, organized by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. The organization is teaming up with Consumers Energy and Hurst Mechanical to provide workshops on building improvements, optimizing operations and maintance and engaging building occupants to curb energy use.

My Town Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

My Town Grand Rapids South: Donations sought to build community earthbench

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  The Heart of West Michigan United Way is looking for donations to help volunteers build an earthbench for the community.

An earthbench is created by stuffing inorganic landfill trash into bottles until they become compressed like bricks.  Builders then use a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water to naturally cement the “bottle bricks” together into a bench form.  Regular cement and mortar can also be used.

In celebration of Global Youth Service Day and Earth Day, HWMUW is teaming up with local youth and volunteers from Eastown Community Association and the West Michigan AmeriCorps Collaborative to build an earthbench in the ECA’s community garden.  The project will also include improving the garden, planting flowers and picking up trash and debris.  Staff from Cherry Street Health Services will also come out to teach the youth about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

But before an earthbench can be built, v

UPDATE: Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

UPDATE: Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

UPDATE: The Heart of West Michigan United way says an employee of West Michigan Lumber saw this story and now the company is donating many materials for the build.

WYOMING, Mich.--  Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center is looking for building materials to help transform 2,000 water bottles into a greenhouse.

The greenhouse is the brain child of teacher Char Walsh, who teamed up with other staff and LEAGUE MI member Bridget Knight to come up with a creative solution to help Degage Ministries.  The group plans to help students build a water bottle greenhouse, where they will grow vegetables used to make salsa.  That salsa will then be sold at the school, with all proceeds going to support Degage Ministries.

Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

Childhood Center's greenhouse to raise green for charity

WYOMING, Mich.--  Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center is looking for building materials to help transform 2,000 water bottles into a greenhouse.

The greenhouse is the brain child of teacher Char Walsh, who teamed up with other staff and LEAGUE MI member Bridget Knight to come up with a creative solution to help Degage Ministries.  The group plans to help students build a water bottle greenhouse, where they will grow vegetables used to make salsa.  That salsa will then be sold at the school, with all proceeds going to support Degage Ministries.

Give your old wine corks new life with ReCORK

Give your old wine corks new life with ReCORK

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A Grand Rapids restaurant is giving wine lovers another excuse to drink.

As part of its partnership with ReCORK, Houlihan’s is collecting old wine corks that will be recycled into sustainable footwear and other upcycled products.  The restaurant says even though cork is completely natural, renewable and biodegradable, most wine corks end up in landfills.   Since cork trees take up to 50 years to mature and can only be harvested every nine years, cork can be a hot commodity.

Houlihan’s is one of the few cork recycling drop-off locations in Grand Rapids.  Corks can be dropped off inside the bin located near the restaurant’s entryway.  Houlihan’s is located at 1968 Breton Road SE in Grand Rapids. The other drop-off locations include Art of the Table, 606 Wealthy St. SE and Haworth in Holland.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks awarded grant to grow urban forest

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks awarded grant to grow urban forest

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is getting even more funding to create a larger, healthier urban forest.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation is awarding the organization with an additional $189,200 to recruit volunteers and rally community support for neighborhood trees.  The GRCF originally awarded the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks nearly $254,000 two years ago to launch the Urban Forest Project. Since then,  volunteers with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks have planted 489 trees, including those in Brewer’s Grove in Riverside Park.

"Growing our urban tree canopy is important not just for us – but for all the future generations after us. It’s about health, it’s about the environment, it’s about the future health of our city," said Community Foundation President Diana Sieger.

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

Alcohol distributor rolls out greener fleet

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A beverage distributor’s delivery fleet is getting a little greener.

Great Lakes Wines and Spirits began using its first compressed natural gas trucks in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor this week.  The two vehicles are 20-feet long and refrigerated.  Fuel for each vehicle is approximately $2.40 per gallon, about $1.40 per gallon less than diesel.  Great Lakes Wines and Spirits says the switch will also cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 14 tons a year.

“These two trucks are a critical step in our effort to increase our efficiency and rein in costs at a time when all businesses are working hard to conserve energy. These trucks can help our company and Michigan pave the way to a stronger future for our economy and for the next generation,” said Syd Ross, co-owner of GLWAS.