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LTU hosts ninth annual sustainability conference

Release Date: October 24, 2013

By Robert Mattler

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Keynote speaker Terry Gips, CEO of Sustainability Associates, is joined by Michigan Interfaith Power and Light Director Julie Lyons Bricker (left) and LTU Associate Professor Janice Means during the sustainability conference in September.

Hosts Lawrence Technological University (LTU) and Michigan Interfaith Power and Light held a two-day sustainability conference, Sustainability Strategies for People, Profit & Planet, on Sept. 27-28 on the campus of LTU.

It was an interesting perspective on informing and educating more than 200 people in attendance on methods to drive sustainability in our businesses, residences, non-profit world and houses of worship. Experts discussed several projects and tools having an impact on both our local and regional sustainability status and introduced us to new concepts to help drive the sustainable built environment forward.

One of the keynote speakers, William Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, spoke about the strides made in renewable energy in Ohio. With a number of successful solar and wind projects completed and many more significant projects either in the planning or building stages, the future looks bright for Ohio reaching and surpassing its Renewable Portfolio Standard in the very near future.

Sad to say, Michigan is not quite as ambitious in this field, notwithstanding both states’ heavy reliance on coal to produce electricity at the majority of their power plants.

With a full day of speakers and educational tracks to choose from, attendees had a plethora of choices on honing their skills on sustainable topics. Both local and regional experts introduced a variety of topics to eager participants, including Case Studies on Successful Sustainable Projects, Community Urban Gardens, Portfolio Manager Workshops, PACE Financing, Community and Michigan Solar Initiatives, Faith and Ecology, Recycling, Green Gamification Software, the Living Building Challenge, and many other worthwhile topics.

The afternoon keynote was delivered by Terry Gips, CEO of Sustainability Associates and a nationally recognized expert on helping for for-profit and non-profit organizations save money, improve performance, and teach others to become leaders in sustainability.

The first day concluded with a lovely networking afterglow, raffle, and review of the Green Expo at LTU.

All of the events on Saturday were family-oriented and free to attend. There were LEED-certified, docent-led building tours on LTU’s campus, a self-guided tour of the storm water trail on campus, and docent-led tours of a 10 KW Photovoltaic system. Two interesting environmental movies were shown, “DIRT!” and “HOME,” and a special family session was unveiled allowing both adults and children to examine their “ecological footprint” in a hands-on, family-fun manner.

This event seems to outdo itself each and every year. Both participants and organizers are looking forward to what’s in store at the 10th annual Sustainability Conference at LTU next year.

It’s important to note those supporting sponsors that made this two-day event so special. Gold Leaf Sponsors included Performance Engineering Group, Pure Michigan, ASHRAE Detroit Chapter and DTE Energy. Silver Leaf Sponsors were NECA and Pure Eco. The Breakfast Sponsor was Meadowlark Energy and the Afternoon Snack Sponsor was Michigan Environmental Council. In Kind Sponsors included Great Lakes Renewable Energy Associates, Great Lakes Coffee, Green Safe Products, ASHRAE LTU Students Branch, Detroit Regional Chapter of USGBC, USGBC Students and the media sponsor, www.greeningdetroit.com.

Robert E. Mattler, associate broker, attorney and LEED AP BD+C, is director of Green Brokerage at Armada Real Estate Services in West Bloomfield, Michigan. He is also senior correspondent for www.greeningdetroit.com. He speaks, writes and blogs about emerging sustainable real estate issues in Michigan and elsewhere. For more information, contact him at (248) 855-1221 or bmattler@armadarealestate.com.