88 

 

energy from Consumer’s Energy, we’ll buy directly through a power purchase agreement to save the city 
upwards of $200,000 per year. The site of the solar field will be on an old 120 acre landfill that was 
operated by the City as an open dump 1950 to 1967 and then as a sanitary landfill until 1973. Working 
with the EPA, the City of Grand Rapids was able to negotiate the solar array design on this Superfund 
site. 

Heat Recovery Project 

A heat recovery project uses heat from the Water Resource Recovery Facility’s north blower building to 
heat the north secondary building.  This measure is saving us $25,000 annually in natural gas reduction. 

LED Lighting Conversion 

A self-installed LED lighting conversion throughout the Water Resource Recovery Facility was 
implemented in 2014. Not only did this save time and money during the installation process, but we 
continue to see positive results in energy savings. 

Real-time Controls 

With an eye on staying on the forefront of modern technology, the Water Resource Recovery Facility 
began using new tools like a zero angle photo spectrometer and real-time controls. With these 
innovative tools, we are able to easily monitor and control processes at the facility quickly and more 
accurately. The key component enabling the Water Resource Recovery Facility to move forward is the 
recent installation of a system which performs quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) on the in 
site analyzers on a real-time basis.  

Water Reuse 

The Water Resource Recovery Facility uses energy recovery from the facility’s final effluent to heat and 
cool the Environmental Services Department’s administration building. The facility also uses final 
effluent for operations and maintenance around the facility. Combined, these activities recover an 
estimated 360,000 gallons of water per day. We aim to double that amount by 2021. 

City-wide Green Infrastructure 

The City of Grand Rapids has incorporated green infrastructure throughout the city whenever possible. 
This has been through the use of bioswales, rain gardens, porous pavement, and infiltration basins. The 
city also has a footing drain disconnection program and a goal to increase the tree canopy to 40% into 
the city’s landscape, all to help to reduce water pollution and manage stormwater. This has been 
possible due to the overwhelming public and private support in our city. In fact, Grand Rapids was 
named "America's Greenest City" by Fast Company magazine, was the first city to be recognized by the 
United Nations as a Regional Centre for Sustainable Development in 2009, and has the most LEED 
certified buildings per capita according to The U.S. Green Business Council. By being a leader in the 
country in these areas, we have created a city-wide culture among our staff and residents to adopt 
sustainable skills and practices in their own lives and businesses. For instance, we operate a Basin Buddy 
Program that encourages residents to adopt a catch basin in their neighborhood to keep them clear of 
debris. To date, the residents in Grand Rapids have officially adopted 106 catch basins. 

Water Resource Recovery Facility Renamed