/ Sustainability

Facilities and Grounds

Hope College maintains a beautiful campus that is considerate to our use of natural resources and environmental impacts. 

New buildings are created to be sustainable and historical buildings are updated to save electricity and gas.

Physical Plant staff work diligently to make the campus clean and welcoming, while also embodying the natural beauty of the area. Many things go on behind the scenes to promote sustainability here on campus.

Building Certifications

Hope College currently has three US Green Building Council's (USGB) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings:

Natural Gas
  • Reduced natural gas use by 16% since 2008 through heating systems management
  • The Martha Miller Center and the DeVos Fieldhouse meet ASHRAE 90.1 specifications with heat recovery on the building exhaust; night and weekend setbacks are controlled by the Building Automation Computer
  • Installed temperature-limiting thermostats (72° max) in all cottages and apartments
  • Dykstra, Kollen, Lubbers and Graves halls have been remodeled with thermal pane windows and better zone heating controls
  • Replaced approximately half of campus furnaces with 94% efficient models (formerly 78%)
  • Lowered hot water temperature between 10° and 20° in all academic, administrative and residential buildings on our central heating plant system
  • Approximately 25% of closed-loop heating systems have filtration units installed for efficiency
  • De Pree Art Building has a heat recovery system on the paint studio exhaust and make-up air system
  • During Christmas break, every cottage and apartment reduces thermostats to 60°; academic and residential building thermostats are lowered to 60° as allowed
  • College East apartments uses one heating pump instead of two
  • Physical Plant is replacing HVAC equipment with more energy efficient models that have frequency drives and more efficient cooling coils
  • New steam traps save approximately 13% of our natural gas consumption over standard traps
  • All four boilers in the Schaap Science Center are high-efficiency units
  • All mercury thermostats in cottages are being replaced with electronic thermostats
Energy Efficiency 
  • Martha Miller Center, DeVos Fieldhouse, Lubbers Hall and Graves Hall have lighting controls with motion sensors and building automation scheduling to turn off lights when unoccupied
  • In 2016 Hope College has replaced all of the lights high above the courts and concourse in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse
  • The DeVos Fieldhouse transformer is “hot” only on a need-to-use basis (a few hours per year for major events)
  • Upgrades or retrofits existing equipment pump, elevator and air handler motors with frequency drives or “soft start” motor starters to lower peak demand and energy consumption
  • 80% of decorative sidewalk fixtures have been changed to fixtures that last 100,000 hours and reduce energy consumption by more than 60%
  • New building transformers use environmentally safe non-PCB oil
  • 100% of lighting fixtures have been converted to energy efficient bulbs (tens of thousands of bulbs)
  • Changing our parking lot lighting to LEDs that will last 50,000 hours/fixture and save 50% of energy use
  • Changing out incandescent lamps to low energy LEDs or CFLs
  • Dimming dorm hallway lights at night until motion is detected
  • Participates in the Holland Board of Public Works Energy Smart Rebate programs
  • Installed energy meters on largest buildings, and will eventually install meters on all buildings, to monitor usage, times, costs for operating buildings and our carbon footprint
  • Computer server infrastructure has transitioned almost entirely to a virtual environment, decreasing energy consumption and cooling costs
  • Decreased server battery backup, reducing the energy overhead
  • Server and core network equipment have been moved from 120V to 208V service resulting in lower current draw and higher power efficiency
  • Transitioned all student housing facilities to wireless networks, decreasing electrical consumption by as much as 85% in some locations
Green Cleaning
Hope's Green Cleaning Policy is intended to reduce the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemical, biological and particulate contaminants, which adversely affect air quality, human health, building finishes, building systems and the environment.
Nature Preserve

The Hope College Nature Preserve is a beautiful, 55-acre Beech-Maple forest approximately five miles from our main campus and 1/4 mile from the Lake Michigan shoreline in Laketown Township, Allegan County.  

The preserve is invaluable to ecological research and teaching in the biology department at Hope College. Find more information on the Department of Biology website.  

Campus Tree Brochure

Hope College prides itself in a beautiful campus environment that encourages the community to connect with nature. One of the most valuable assets to encourage this relationship is our trees, some of which we outline in this Campus Tree Stops brochure.


Planting Bed Management

  • Planting beds enhance the beauty of the grounds
  • Buy bedding plants from local growers using site-specific plants and shrubs
  • Use perennials and grasses that need reduced care and water
  • Mulch with native hardwood bark
  • Subsurface and drip irrigation

Turf and Soil Management

  • Do not bag clippings from mowing
  • Use spot spraying for weeds (as opposed to total coverage spraying)
  • Mulch 100% of leaves into the turf and only remove leaves when necessary
  • There is a reduced mowing frequency on lower priority sites
  • Use integrated pest management practices
  • A lot of mowing equipment uses alternative fuel sources (biodiesel and electric)
  • Use grass seed instead of new sod where practical in new or bare areas
  • Collect cultural care waste from pruning and bed clean up for composting
  • Compost grass clippings from the athletic fields on site
  • Purchase locally composted soil, take soil tests twice a year, use organic fertilizers when possible and use organic pest control products
  • Uses water management software and monitoring systems for irrigation and employs a full time irrigation technician
  • Worked with the Holland Board of Public Works (HPBW) to install a gray water line for use in our core campus to reduce the filtration level for irrigation

Tree Management

  • Hope College has been recognized multiple years as a "Tree Campus" by the Arbor Day Foundation.
  • Replaces trees through purchase and contract growing with local tree farmers.
  • Use water bags for the first year and during high-stress times.
  • Installs bubbler zones for new plantings and removes them when plants are established.
  • Use structural pruning, site-specific plant placement, trees that produce feed stock for birds and provide cover for nesting birds, spacing that provides for future natural development of the tree’s full size potential, placement that allows for a building’s shading or sun exposure, and planting native and zone-hardy species.
  • Supports campus and local community environmental awareness education activities through tree planting ceremonies on Earth Day and Arbor Day.
  • Learn more about our campus tree conservation practices and activities

Grounds Equipment

  • Increasing inventory of electric hand mowers
  • Diesel grounds equipment uses biodiesel produced from waste vegetable oil generated from dining services, part of a student project designed to reuse the 22,000 pounds of waste vegetable oil produced annually at the college
  • Recharge electric mower batteries with a photovoltaic panel
  • Maintenance rinses (grass clippings) from grounds equipment is captured and collected by a waste hauler for disposal.
  • Athletic field paint machine debris is collected and filtered
  • Full-time mechanic maintains all equipment and sharpens mower blades twice a week
  • Waste oil is collected for recycling
  • Replacing gasoline equipment with diesel-powered equipment
  • Leases a front-end loader for more efficient snow removal
  • Plow vehicles use effective snow plow blades and snow brushes to reduce salt use on sidewalks


Electric Vehicles

Campus Fleets

  • Reduced fleet from 110 vehicles to 76 vehicles and uses fuel-efficient multi-passenger vehicles when possible
  • Schedules vehicle use based on occupancy to maximize the number of passengers and reduce the number of vehicles on the road
  • Maintains vehicles to maximize operational efficiency
  • Shuttle service uses a minivan on its route around campus; its former serves the CASA program by transporting elementary students to and from campus
  • Encourages carpooling through a ride exchange program for students on inHope
  • Reorganized off-campus ride system to be a paratransit system in which rides are scheduled to minimize total mileage by combining rides to and from locations near each other

Public Transporation

City of Holland — Downtown Snowmelt System

Since 1988, residents and visitors have enjoyed snow-free streets and sidewalks in downtown Holland throughout the winter season. Thanks to the Holland BPW snowmelt system, waste heat from power generation is captured to heat water, which is circulated through 190 miles of tubing laid underneath the pavement and sidewalks, back to the Holland BPW power plant. The system pumps over 4,700 gallons of water per minute at 95-degrees and can melt about one inch of snow per hour at 20 degrees Fahrenheit with winds of 10 mph.  The snowmelt system is a closed system meaning it is circulating the same water over and over again. To see maps that outline where the system runs and to learn more visit the City's Snowmelt Page.

Hope College Snowmelt Systems

Similar to the City of Holland a number of buildings on campus utilize a snowmelt system beneath their sidewalk entries. These systems utilize waste heat to warm the sidewalks and it allows for reduced environmental impacts from salt and decreases slipping hazards. This includes the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse, the Kruizenga Arts Museum, the Jack H. Miller Center for the Musical Arts, Cook Hall, the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center and the Campus Ministries van Andel Huys der Hope.