Tips for improving home energy efficiency; presentations on topics ranging from the winners of a video competition for area students, to a new energy-saving contest for Holland residents, to the Holland Energy Park; and multiple family-friendly activities will be featured during “Energize You! A Better House, A Better Holland” on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Midtown Center.

The program is the first annual community event organized by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.  The public is invited, and admission is free.

The evening will begin with a family friendly hands-on-activity expo running from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. that will feature interactive displays and activities for children.  Participating groups will include the Center for Exploratory Learning at Hope; Herrick District Library; the Holland Board of Public Works; the Green Home Institute; and more.

A program running from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. will include the announcement of the winners of a video competition for students in seventh through 12th grade addressing energy conservation; announcement of a “Biggest Energy Loser” competition for residents of Holland; and updates about the Holland Energy Park, the Community Energy Plan and Holland’s status in the two-year Georgetown University Energy Prize competition for $5 million that is running through the end of 2016.

The student videos are available for advance viewing on the institute’s website at  There will be “best of” winners for seventh-eighth grade, ninth-10th grade, and 11th-12th grade, as well as a winner for the video most viewed on the site.

From 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the expo will continue and there will also be an opportunity to meet the students who created the videos.

The Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute is a partnership between the City of Holland, Hope College, and the Holland Board of Public Works, and is housed on the Hope campus.  Its purpose is to support growing efforts to encourage, engage, educate and drive sustainable culture in water and air quality, energy efficiency, land use, and environmental innovation.

The city and college announced the institute in May of 2014, along with a $65,000 grant in support of the project through a national initiative:  the Local Sustainability Matching Fund, a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. The Fund is supported with leadership grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, JPB Foundation, Kendeda Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, New York Community Trust, Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation. The Fund is designed to catalyze partnerships between local governments and local, place-based foundations and to advance community-based sustainability initiative.

The Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute has also received a three-year grant of $25,000 each year ($75,000 over three years) from the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland, in addition to receiving support from the city, Holland Board of Public Works and Hope.

The Midtown Center is located at 96 W. 15th St., near Pine Avenue.