December 2017 Newsletter: Special New Year's Eve Edition

As another year turns, we kick off this special New Year’s Eve edition of the newsletter with a brief recap of MEECA in 2017. At the same time we look ahead with anticipation to all we can accomplish together to advance Michigan’s energy efficiency industry in 2018. Best wishes to all!

MEECA Year in Review

In early March, nearly 100 people gathered for MEECA’s 3rd Annual Gala to celebrate another successful year and recognize exceptional work with an awards ceremony. We were honored to have MPSC Commissioner Rachael Eubanks as our keynote speaker for the evening. The event also provided an opportunity to introduce new executive director David Gard who came to MEECA with a background in energy policy.


On June 8th, MEECA hosted a members-only reception with MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. The general feedback from those who attended was very favorable, underscoring a key benefit of membership: providing direct access to influential policymakers and regulators who help shape our industry. We also presented Chairman Talberg with MEECA’s Public Servant of the Year Award for her leadership in energy policy discussions that culminated with important legislation in December 2016.


Answering the call from our members for a summertime event to complement the more formal Spring Gala, MEECA hosted its inaugural Summer Golf Outing in late July. Our modest first-year goal was to field at least nine foursomes. In the end, nineteen foursomes teed off on a beautiful day at Hawk Hollow Championship Course in Bath, MI! Needless to say, our members and supporters can look forward to MEECA’s 2nd Annual Summer Golf Outing in 2018.


As the calendar turned to Fall, MEECA conducted its annual membership meeting in October. An important outcome was electing and welcoming new board members and recognizing the efforts of those rotating off the board. In particular, we especially thank the outgoing Executive Committee who did yeoman’s work during a year of organizational transition: Roger Wiseley (President), Amanda Godward (VP/President), Shelley Sullivan (Secretary), Walt Dindoffer (Treasurer), and Ryan Oswald (VP).


Also in October, Gov. Snyder presided over the 3rd Annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards in Detroit. Once again, MEECA was well represented at these proceedings. Congratulations to our members who were recognized for their tremendous performance: Better World Builders (Winner, Contractor of the Year), Consumers Energy (Winner, Best Communication or Education Program), Walker-Miller Energy Services (Finalist, Innovator of the Year), Development Solutions (Finalist, Innovator of the Year), and GreenHome Institute (Finalist, Best Communication or Education Program).


During 2017, MEECA reconstituted two vital committees. The Membership Committee was charged with strengthening the organization through more robust member outreach and recruitment. In support of these efforts, DNV-GL generously sponsored a 6-month free Trial Membership Program (which will remain available through February 2018).


The Policy Committee, too, was active in driving MEECA’s public policy agenda this past year. This activity of MEECA is often cited as among the most important benefits of joining the organization. In the words of one member, “If public policy impacts my business, I want my business to impact public policy.” This was particularly important during 2017, a year in which Michigan began to implement major new energy legislation. In addition to regularly engaging in monthly Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Collaborative meetings in Lansing, MEECA submitted oral and written testimony on multiple issues impacting our industry including the Utility Code of Conduct for Value-Added Programs, the structure of on-bill financing programs, Integrated Resource Planning, and Michigan’s residential building energy code.


More under the radar, 2017 also included critical efforts to strengthen MEECA’s internal administration to better achieve our goal of advancing Michigan’s energy efficiency industry. This necessary work will continue in the coming year as we expand our portfolio of member services.


Finally, looking back on 2017, MEECA wishes to thank our many allies and partners, both public and private, and most especially our members for their solid support this past year!

Energy Efficiency in the News

Recent research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE):


A. Smart Buildings: A Deeper Dive into Market Segments

Commercial buildings have their own unique energy systems, ownership structures, and decision-making processes. They also have striking opportunities to save energy by installing smart technologies. This report looks at four commercial building types: offices, retail, hotels, and hospitals. It details costs and energy savings for these subsectors, describes the nonenergy benefits of smart technologies, and discusses the challenges to their widespread adoption and how to address them.


B. A new three-part video series explores the health impacts of energy efficiency

In a new three-part video series, ACEEE explores how energy efficiency can improve people’s health. They share the stories of homeowners in three states. Part One focuses on efficiency’s impact in rural areas by looking at McDowell County, West Virginia.

Study shows Michigan Utility Energy Savings Mostly Benefit Wealthier Customers


A new study from the University of Michigan’s Urban Energy Justice Lab found that energy efficiency programs at Michigan’s two largest utilities disproportionately benefit wealthier ratepayers. While about 35 percent of utility customers qualify as low-income, only about 12 percent of efficiency investments by Consumers Energy went to programs aimed at low-income households. The figure for DTE Energy was about 17 percent. The disparity is even greater on an energy savings basis. For every kilowatt-hour efficiency programs saved for low-income residents, up to 22 kilowatt-hours were saved for higher-income customers.


As reported in Midwest Energy News, the findings point to an unintended social consequence of the way Michigan’s Energy Waste Reduction programs are structured. These programs target cost-effective energy savings while delivering low-income programs is generally more expensive compared to other programs.

New Members

This month we welcome two new members to MEECA. Both companies have taken advantage of our 6-month free Trial Membership Program which is available through February 2018 to any Trade Ally of DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. For information about this special offer being sponsored by DNV-GL, please contact David Gard ( or 517-896-2960).

Green Universal Solutions Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brint Electric, a 40 year old commercial and industrial electrical contractor. We have taken our 40 years of experience in the lighting industry and assembled a team of highly skilled employees dedicated to implementing turn-key, cutting edge, green energy solutions including LED upgrades, control systems, variable frequency drives and heating, cooling and ventilation.


Our corporate office is located in Toledo, Ohio and we have completed projects in all parts of the United States. GUSCO specializes in energy efficient solutions for the commercial and industrial market place including heavy manufacturing, food processing and cold storage facilities, retail applications for gas, convenience and grocery stores, warehousing, automobile dealerships, health care, hospitality and municipalities.

Spark Building Energy Solutions is passionate about helping customers conserve energy and provides best suitable approaches. Since 2009, Spark Building Energy Solutions has been providing energy assessments and installation of measures and making sure energy efficiency goal is achieved whether it is home performance or commercial building.


Spark Building Energy Solutions provides financing for all energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and energy star re-roofing. We are also started energy performance contracts where project savings used to pay for project spread over extended period.

Project Spotlight -- PACE Transforms The Whitney

In response to multiple requests, we are launching a new feature of the monthly newsletter to highlight projects by MEECA members. This will serve to share best practices from the industry in addition to celebrating recent success stories.


This month we are pleased to turn the spotlight on MEECA member Newman Consulting Group LLC (NCG) for its energy upgrade of the iconic Whitney Restaurant in Detroit. NCG was honored by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) with its Exemplary Project Award for 2017.

After performing a comprehensive energy analysis on the 120-year-old building, NCG identified significant opportunities to save energy by investing in efficient HVAC systems and kitchen equipment, new building control systems, LED lights, and high efficiency windows.


Central to the project was Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE. This financing option makes it easy for property owners to invest in energy efficiency by spreading the cost out over many years and guaranteeing that the investment is cash flow positive for the borrower from day one. PACE is unique because it allows commercial property owners to retrofit their buildings with renewable energy and energy efficient systems by borrowing money at very favorable rates from private lenders and repaying the loan via a special assessment on their local property tax. As a result, there were no out-of-pocket expenses to The Whitney’s owners.


More than $850,000 is being invested in the project. Prior to these upgrades, The Whitney spent an average of $95,000 in electricity and $25,000 in natural gas each year.” The projected energy cost savings over 20 years will be about $450,000 and considerably more in operations and maintenance.


In accepting the GLREA award earlier this month, Jim Newman of NCG said, “The Whitney Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and the restaurant has been a favorite for Detroiters for more than three decades. They are taking significant steps toward leadership in energy efficiency while also enhancing the guest experience.”


Newman Consulting Group LLC, a team of highly skilled engineers, analysts, program managers and professionals certified in efficiency implementation and verification, is a globally recognized authority in energy efficiency for buildings.

Upcoming Events

Networking reception with officials from the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE)

4:30-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, January 24, 2018 in Lansing

MEECA members are invited to join MAE ombudsman Reka Holley to learn about MAE and MPSC activities that impact the energy efficiency industry, and how contractors can navigate these influential agencies with questions or concerns. Jake Wilkinson from MAE will also describe State of Michigan funding for EE projects during 2018. RSVP to David Gard (

Midwest Energy Solutions Conference

February 7-9, 2018 in Chicago, IL

With more than 650 attendees, MES is the region's largest energy efficiency event and an unparalleled networking opportunity. This year MEECA will be featured in a pre-conference workshop, “Good Policy for Good Jobs: A Summit on Developing Sound EE Policy for Economic Growth.” For more information, visit the conference website.

MEECA 4th Annual Gala

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.

Be sure to put this signature networking event on your calendar. For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact David Gard ( or 517-896-2960). Watch for more details about the event coming soon!

MEECA 2nd Annual Summer Golf Outing

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at Hawk Hollow Championship Course in Bath, MI.