City joins White House Building Performance Standards Coalition
Published on January 27, 2022
City of Grand Rapids commits to inclusively explore implementing innovative building policies, with support from Federal agencies, labor unions, philanthropy, and non-governmental organizations
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Mayor Rosalynn Bliss today announced that the City of Grand Rapids has committed to inclusively explore implementing building performance standards and complementary policies and programs across Grand Rapids, driving investment into building retrofits and good-paying jobs that create healthier buildings and lower housing and energy costs. The news comes as the City of Grand Rapids joined forces with 32 other state and local governments across the country in the National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition, a collaboration launched by White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Participation in this Coalition is directly aligned with the City’s Equitable, Healthy and Zero Carbon Building Initiative (E.H.Zero), it launched in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan and the Urban Core Collective in late summer 2021 (presentation available HERE). The desired outcome of E.H.Zero is residential and commercial building policies and programs co-created and supported by community (residents and commercial building stakeholders) focused on equitably achieving increased affordability, beneficial health outcomes and resilience while reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Through E.H.Zero, the City acknowledges and prioritizes the intersectionality between human health disparities, injustice and climate change. It includes residents and organizations that have not historically had a seat at the table. It also will transform its built environment to create long-term impacts for substantive change.
”We recognize that decarbonizing our buildings is one of the most important pathways to reducing communitywide carbon emissions,” Mayor Bliss said. “It is critical that equity be a dual priority embedded into any building performance standards or other high performing building programs designed for our community. Participation in the White House BPS Coalition further strengthens our E.H.Zero commitments.”
Alison Waske Sutter, sustainability officer with the City of Grand Rapids, said buildings are responsible for a large majority of the community’s carbon emissions.
“Upgrading and retrofitting buildings to increase clean energy sources and reduce overall energy use can dramatically reduce these harmful emissions,” Sutter said.” At the same time, energy retrofits and upgrades can be leveraged to concurrently improve a building’s health and resilience for its occupants and surrounding community, while generating jobs and increased local economic investment.”
Sutter said that through the Coalition and E.H.Zero, the City of Grand Rapids commits to increasing community and local stakeholder engagement to explore co-designing equitable building performance standards and complementary policies and programs -- with the ultimate goal of presenting City Commission with a package of policies in the fall of 2023, with adoption by Earth Day 2024.
“We are eager for the opportunity to support city and state leaders representing the vanguard of innovative climate policy, and joining this National Building Performance Standards Coalition,” said Mark Chambers, senior director for building emissions and community resilience at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“Members of this groundbreaking coalition will help drive new jobs to make existing buildings across the country more efficient, affordable, healthier and resilient, and will deliver equitable benefits across their jurisdictions,” he said.
In pursuing its commitments as a member of the National BPS Coalition, the City of Grand Rapids will be able to leverage technical support via federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information about the coalition, visit www.nationalBPSCoalition.org.