City of Grand Rapids, Michigan Sustainability Plan: FY 2011-2015

The City of Grand Rapids Sustainability Plan presents management planning goals for the economic, social and environmental sectors of the city. The City planning goals for the environment include energy reduction, climate protection, improved environmental quality and natural systems, as well as smart sustainable land use, urban design, and transportation.  

The 'Energy and Climate Protection' section of the Plan states that "the City must strive to mitigate the effects of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, while also adapting to the climate change that is already occurring and planning for the impacts to come."  In addition to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and decreasing non-renewable energy usage, many adaptive measures are being implemented.

Specific goals for the City's objectives of sustainability in environmental quality and natural systems include maintaining an adequate and safe water supply, improving the quality of the Grand River and its tributaries, and protecting and maintaining healthy ecosystems and habitat, among others. Innovative adaptive measures include increasing the number of sustainable building certified commercial and residential projects in Grand Rapids by 25%, increase the percentage of tree canopy in the city to at least 37.5%, increasing the percentage of low-maintenance grasses and native plants used in landscaping throughout the city by at least 25%, and increasing the number of acres of City-owned parks and open space within the city by at least 10% by June 30, 2015.

Recognizing that the Grand River and the areas surrounding it provide a natural method of stormwater containment during the spring thaw and significant rain events, planning targets include reducing wastewater flow by at least 5%, increasing the number and square footage of green roofs within the city, and reducing stormwater discharge by at least 50,000 gallons per rain event. 

The City of Grand Rapids Office of Energy and Sustainability has completed the Progress Report for the second year under the Sustainability Plan, which illustrates the 2012 significant successes in the citywide initiative towards an economic, social and environmental sustainability future. This year’s Progress Report shows that 100% of the Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Targets have been completed or are in progress, up from 92% last year, and progress towards meeting all targets has been steady across each plan area.

The Sustainability Plan and each year's Progress Reports can be found on the Grand Rapids Office of Energy Sustainability website at:


Publication Date: April 2013


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