December 2019 Newsletter

Monthly news and updates from the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA).

MEECA Testifies before House Energy Committee

Left to RightBali Kumar (Lean & Green Michigan), Shelley Sullivan (Energy Sciences), David Gard (MEECA), Energy Committee Chairman Rep. Joseph Bellino, Mary Templeton (Michigan Saves), Alex Van Rijn (Building Performance Solutions)


MEECA closed out another busy year by presenting to the Michigan House Energy Committee on December 4, 2019. Executive Director David Gard was joined by four member companies to educate lawmakers about the benefits of saving energy by installing efficiency measures to buildings and equipment. This opportunity to interact with policymakers came at the invitation of Rep. Greg Markkanen who represents the 110th District in the Western U.P.


The committee heard formal presentations from Mr. Gard, Alex Van Rijn with home performance contractor Building Performance Solutions, Shelley Sullivan with commercial contractor Energy Sciences, Mary Templeton with Michigan Saves, and Bali Kumar with Lean & Green Michigan. MEECA’s experts helped legislators understand the value of Michigan’s energy waste reduction (EWR) programs which return $3.50 for every dollar spent. The panel also described the skilled professionals behind all the savings—in particular, the contractors who build and improve structures of all kinds and employ thousands of people across Michigan.


Image: MEECA members Shelley Sullivan and Alex Van Rijn describe the central role that commercial and home performance contractors play in helping Michigan's electric and gas utility customers save energy.


During their formal remarks, the panel highlighted three challenges faced by Michigan’s efficiency industry: (1) Workforce constraints; (2) Providing more access to financial capital; and (3) Increasing the awareness about the benefits and availability of efficiency products and services. In the discussion that followed, committee members voiced strong interest in working with MEECA on these and other issues, especially the need to find and retain properly trained people. As a result, MEECA has a full agenda to pursue with policymakers on behalf of our members in 2020.


Click this link for a video recording of MEECA's testimony before the House Energy Committee on December 4, 2019.

Registration now open for MEECA's 6th Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration!


With the winter solstice upon us, we look ahead to early spring when MEECA members and supporters will gather for an evening of fun and celebration.


The Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration is an occasion to socialize with friends old and new, network with professional colleagues, and recognize exemplary performance within our industry. In anticipation of more people, the event on Thursday, March 12, 2020 will move to a larger space at MSU’s Kellogg Center.


We are thrilled to announce our 2020 keynote speaker as Mr. Tremaine Phillips, Michigan’s newest MPSC commissioner and former director of Cincinnati 2030 District.

2020 Keynote Speaker: Commissioner Tremaine Phillips


Finally, MEECA members are encouraged to begin thinking about nominations for the 2020 award categories:

  • Residential Project of the Year
  • Commercial/Industrial Project of the Year
  • Contractor of the Year
  • Implementation Contractor of the Year
  • Energy Advisor of the Year
  • Home Energy Rater of the Year
  • Public Official of the Year


Look for details soon about how to submit award nominations. In the meantime, visit the event website to purchase tickets and explore sponsorship opportunities. Direct any questions to David Gard at or 517-896-2960.

New Member:

Elbinger Energy Solutions is a collaborative of energy professionals focused on energy conservation, renewable energy, efficiency, and finance for commercial real estate.

Renewing Members


SEEL, formed in 2009, is a leading minority-owned energy program services company. Focusing on community, quality and cost-effectiveness, SEEL is one of the largest minority-owned energy management firms in the country.


SEEL is committed to providing opportunities to local displaced workers in all areas of operation to meet the needs of the company programming. SEEL has put in place a training program that converts former blue collar workers into green collar advocates, a skill set that prepares them, not only to work at SEEL, but for the future.


SEEL brings more than just innovation to energy services. We bring a commitment to bettering our community. Our award-winning design, installation, and customer service teams support homeowners, landlords and business owners—making a more cost-effective, environmentally sound energy program a simple choice.


The Nielsen Group provides consulting engineering with a focus on energy reduction. Services include energy audits, efficiency improvements, certifications, utility rebates, feasibility studies, project development, project management and technical due diligence. Clients include forest products, minerals, power, manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceutical, schools, hospitals and commercial facilities. Familiar with both conventional and renewable energy, including biomass, biofuels, MSW, geothermal, wind and solar. During his career, Principle / President Ken Nielsen has saved employers and clients over $100 million in energy costs.


Development Solutions Midwest provides services to industrial and large commercial clients in the areas of: Energy Savings; Project Management; Quality and Safety; Training; Plant Engineering; Capital Management; Strategic Development.


Our approach is to apply practical and proven solutions to help our clients improve their operations.


If you would like to reduce your natural gas, electrical, or water consumption, and significantly reduce your energy costs, Development Solutions Midwest has the expertise to help you.

Better World Builders specializes in the analysis and correction of energy loss in commercial and residential buildings. We have an intimate understanding of building science principles and how they relate to the safe and efficient use of heating and cooling energy.


Our mission is to create stewardship and energy efficiency in the buildings where we live and work. This can be a complicated process, but we help our clients get control of their energy use and help them to develop Building Stewardship programs for the longevity of their homes. We understand that when a building is well-maintained and energy efficient, it can be enjoyed now and for future generations.


We hope to pave the way forward by installing renewable energy measures to alleviate climate change. Better World Builders envisions living in a world and community where our homes and businesses operate with Zero Net Energy consumption and carbon emission.

When you work with us, you become part of the solution to Building a Better World!


Wright Energy Partners was formed to help businesses take advantage of the savings and beauty LED’s offer without incurring significant up-front costs. Our core values have helped us

earn a flawless track record among our customers, energy companies, and financial institutions who help us serve them.


We work for you. We provide electric service to 1.8 million customers and natural gas service to 1.7 million customers in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. All told, we serve more than 6 million Michiganders. Best job ever. We produce much of the electricity you need right here in Michigan. Our plants use a variety of fuel sources.


Having a diverse fuel mix enables us to better manage costs to keep your bills manageable. We buy 100% of the natural gas we need and use our unique storage fields to buy and store natural gas when prices are lowest. This keeps your bills lower too.


DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.

As one of Michigan's leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress.

DTE Energy has more than 10,000 employees in utility and non-utility subsidiaries involved in a wide range of energy-related businesses. The company's growing non-utility businesses are built around the strengths, skills and assets of DTE Energy's electric and gas utilities.


The GreenHome Institute, formerly The Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES) is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission to empower people to make healthier and more sustainable choices in the renovation and construction of the places we live.

Public Policy Update

BCC Releases New Quarterly Newsletter


The Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) has published the inaugural issue of its Trades Connection quarterly newsletter. Director Keith Lambert describes the new publication as “a way to provide informative articles with a focus on seasonal and cyclical matters. This will be a way to keep you updated on licensing renewal timeframes, code updates, bureau reports, and board and commission meeting information.”


A stated priority is to address Michigan’s growing demand for highly trained and skilled workers in the construction trades. In 2020, MEECA will increasingly engage with BCC and other state agencies on this critical issue in on behalf of its membership.


Check out the December 2019 Trades Connection newsletter here.


EE in the News

Intensive energy demand of marijuana growers is a rising issue


As reported by the Lansing State Journal, marijuana “has long harvest cycles and flourishes under sustained periods of direct light. To create ideal moisture and temperature levels, cultivators crank up heating, ventilation and cooling systems.” As a result, the industry’s expanding energy footprint in Michigan is attracting more attention by those who argue for greater efficiency.


Detroit settles LED streetlight case


The City of Detroit has agreed to a $4 million settlement in a case against a California company’s defective LED streetlights. Read the full story in the Detroit News.


Non-energy system benefits of efficiency are revealed


According to a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the value of annual energy reductions can help meet rising peak demand in many regions. MEECA has an important role to play in educating policymakers about this and other non-energy benefits to Michigan’s electric grid.

Upcoming Events

USGBC of West Michigan's Annual Party & Awards Ceremony

5:30-9:00pm, January 16, 2020

Grand Rapids, MI

Note: Nominations remain open for the Innovative Project Award for work completed during August 2018 and August 2019.


DTE Energy's 2020 Commercial EWR Program Rollout--SAVE THE DATE

  • January 17, 2020 in Troy (MSU Management Education Center)
  • January 22, 2020 in Novi (Suburban Collection)
  • January 28, 2020 in Grand Rapids (Goei Center)


2020 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference

(Early bird registration ends 12/13/19)

February 26-28, 2020

Chicago, IL

See the event agenda and visit the registration page.


Better Buildings: Better Business Conference

March 9-11, 2020

Wisconsin Dells


MEECA's 6th Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration

March 12, 2020

East Lansing, MI


Net Zero Build Summit

This event will bring together both residential and commercial stakeholders around the design, development, and construction of increasingly popular net zero buildings.

March 24-25, 2020

Novi, MI

Project Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is seeking applications for its Rural Energy for America Program, which makes load guarantees and grants available for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, energy audits and more. The next deadline to apply for these grants is March 31, 2020, while applications for load guarantees are accepted year-round.


The State of Michigan’s Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot is offering rebates up to $15,000 per company for small manufacturers that can implement energy efficiency activities until July 31, 2020. This is a 100 percent minimum match requirement.


The Michigan Energy Office is coordinating loans to Michigan-based small businesses for qualified energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects.