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Sustainability in Action

Sustainability in Action:
Beacon Hill’s Plan for a Cleaner Future

Beacon Hill cares deeply about the well-being of our residents, our community, and taking care of our environment. We’re excited to let you know about our plans to shape the future at Beacon Hill at Eastgate to be even more eco-friendly through a new Sustainability Plan.
 
What does the Sustainability Plan entail?
A Sustainability Plan is a document that describes specific steps an organization will take to reduce its impact on the environment.[1] A plan usually includes specific measurements and accompanying goals for energy use, water use, and material waste, among other efforts.
 
The development of a Sustainability Plan for Beacon Hill at Eastgate begins with a 16-week, four-step process to engage, inform, and seek input from our residents and other stakeholders. These first steps will also integrate the great work that has already been done, building upon the ongoing positive efforts to establish sustainability best practices at Beacon Hill.[2] 
 
Sustainability Plan Goals:
To start, we are evaluating these four areas to reduce our impact on the environment, be fiscally prudent, and leave a better world for our children, grandchildren and generations to come:
  • Energy: Use energy more efficiently and researching and understanding using cleaner, renewable energy sources.
  • Material Waste: Reduce the material waste we produce via less single-use packaging, improved recycling, and more.
  • Water Conservation: Find ways to use water more efficiently and protect local ground water and surface water resources.
  • Business Practices: Exploring other things we can do as an organization and community to be kinder to the environment, while also finding ways to save money.
 
Our goals for this project are to:
  • Build on Our Success: We want to keep doing the good things we’re already doing and continue to support those in the community that are passionate about sustainability and a greener future.
  • Reduce Our Ecological Footprint: We’re trying to minimize the impact we have on the environment.
  • Contribute to a Cleaner World: We’re doing our part to help keep the planet healthy for future generations.
  • Teach and Inspire: We want to show others how they can help too.
  • Spend Wisely: Being eco-friendly can also be good for our finances.
  • Help Our Region: We hope our efforts will encourage others in the area to do the same.

How you can get involved:
In the Discovery phase, we will document existing best practices at Beacon Hill and solicit input from residents, staff, and Eastgate community members as we draft the Sustainability Plan. 
 
Mark your Calendars!
All residents are invited to join us for upcoming Discovery Sessions on October 3rd and October 4th, 2023.
  • October 3rd from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, join us for an overview of the project, meet members of the Sustainability Committee, and hear from area experts.
  • October 4th from 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, get involved in an immersive workshop experience, led by sustainability expert Joe Rinkevich. All ideas are welcome.
More details to come! 
 
What’s next?
Following the completion of Phase One, Phase Two will establish a plan with measurable goals and objectives, to be put into action by the end of 2024. Project details and updates will be published online as they become available at: www.beaconhillgr.org/sustainability

[1] There are many accepted definitions of sustainability based on context and priorities. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” With our work at Beacon Hill we have an opportunity to develop a definition of sustainability that is appropriate for our community while staying consistent with broader definitions of the term.

[2] Since September of 2019, a group of Beacon Hill residents have met on a regular basis to explore what efforts the community can take to improve sustainability achievement. The informal Environmental Action Group at Beacon Hill also was instrumental in creating collaboration with students and faculty at Aquinas College in January 2023 to research and compile a report on potential areas of opportunity for sustainability achievement at Beacon Hill. These are the foundational efforts upon which the BHCSI is building the current Sustainability Plan process. 

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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