The MEECA Maven:  News and updates on Michigan's energy efficiency industry. February 2016
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At Crossroads

Where is Energy Efficiency for Michigan?


Each day brought different choices throughout the month. Do I wear sunglasses and enjoy the warm sun or where's the snow blower to move this 13-inches of snow?  During the month we found ourselves at many crossroads making decisions on how to react to many issues facing Michigan's energy efficiency industry.  
  • The Flint water debacle and that federal funding stopped a bi-partisan U.S. Senate energy bill that will help expand energy efficiency from a federal level.
  • Stopping work on Michigan's plans to comply with the Clean Power Plan.  Plans that could rely heavily on energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions.
  • The launch of Michigan's new Residential Building Code.  A code that raises the bar for constructing more efficient homes.
  • A presidential primary race where big energy is paying attention.
  • What will Senator Nofs and Governor Snyder do now with securing Michigan's energy future? 
In this month's MEECA Maven you will find MEECA's offer to help the residential building sector better understand the 2015 Michigan Residential Code energy related provisions.  We share with you what we have learned about the presidential candidates' stand on energy helping you prepare for Michigan's March 8th presidential primary. We have an introduction article helping the industry better understand how to market 'home performance'.  The Maven includes a series of important events being hosted by MEECA members and a guest article shedding more light on the development of energy codes. 

Here in Michigan we are eagerly awaiting the long-promised substitute bills from Senator Mike Nofs and Senator John Proos on their plans to secure Michigan's energy future (Senate Bills 437 & 438) The road blocks encountered in December prohibiting Representative Aric Nesbitt from moving his comprehensive energy bills (House Bills 4297 & 4298) to the House floor have not been resolved.  Many stakeholders in this now 36-month long discussion on state energy legislation are growing more and more resolved in the status quo being better than anything proposed thus far.  Our pledge to Senators Nofs and Proos remains to work together to ensure the expansion of Michigan's energy efficiency industry by further leveraging contractor driven utility-based rebate programs.  

On this, we certainly find ourselves at a crossroads...

Sincerely,

Brindley Byrd

Executive Director
(517) 203-9810 
brindley@meeca.info




 

2015 MRC Energy Code Review Course 

The Real Deal: Not Just Quick and Dirty


The Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association is offering a real deal residential energy code course. This is not a quick and dirty update course which leaves you with more questions than answers. This4-hour course will provide builders, trade contractors and building officials a comprehensive understanding of Michigan's very complex new residential energy code.

This is not a quick and dirty update course which leaves you with more questions than answers. This 4-hour course will provide builders, trade contractors and building officials a comprehensive understanding of Michigan's very complex new residential energy code.

Courses currently scheduled:
To find out more information, click here

Call for more information:  (517) 203-9180


 

Is America Entering the Energy Age?

The power and influence of 'Big Energy' in the presidential race


 
The United States of America may in fact be entering the ‘Energy Age’.   

The Millennials have moved us past the Information Age at light speed and are taking seriously the impact their choices of energy sources and consumption have in their personal worlds and the planet as a whole.  Almost half of respondents under the age of 35 in a University of Utah poll indicate a candidate’s stand on energy greatly influences who they would vote for. With the 2016 Presidential campaign year having begun in earnest, ‘big energy’ is vying to influence this huge voting block and every presidential candidate still in the running.

During television coverage of round after round of presidential debates and Sunday morning shows covering the presidential race,  flashy, Super Bowl caliber commercials are being run, sometimes back to back: Exxon’s ‘Lights Across America’Chevron’ s ‘Doers’ , American Petroleum Institutes’ ‘Energy Superpower’ through their Energy Tomorrow project, NextGen Climates’ #50BY30  have shown highly produced messaging campaigns about their particular preferred energy resource be it; petroleum, natural gas, solar, wind, etc.  Those for petroleum are no doubt funded by interests like Koch Industries and the billion-dollar brothers that own it who have their own promo called ‘Moving Forward’.   

The field of candidates in both parties embrace the various forms of transportation, electric generation and other  energy resources in varying degrees.  No question that Republicans are more partial to fossil-fuels, while Democrats embrace what many have coined ‘clean energy’ which includes energy efficiency and renewables.  Groups like the American Gas Association through their Fueling the Future project are trying to shoehorn natural gas in the clean energy box.
  
MEECA sees energy efficiency as neither a Republican nor Democrat issue.  Its neither clean energy nor dirty.  We see it as an industry providing jobs and opportunities that has shown to get unanimous support from both political parties in Michigan.  Energy efficiency stays true to traditional conservative principles of avoiding waste while minimizing the negative impact to our immediate and global environment by using less energy from any source.  

With the Michigan’s presidential primary right around the corner, do you know where the presidential candidates stand on energy?  

Read what we could find here...

A Disconnect in Energy Efficiency 

MEECA pairs with Resource Media to help bridge the gap



It is normal to assume that creating new energy policy is difficult. It is a wicked problem involving a variety of different stakeholders. What we saw in 2015 with the Michigan Legislature and Governor being unable to achieve their goal of passing comprehensive energy legislation is a prime example.

However, for it being so difficult, it is hard to find someone who opposes energy efficiency.  The general public's view is mainly positive and supportive. Most people have already taken some sort of action to increase energy efficiency in their homes/businesses. These small actions include for example, changing light bulbs or buying more efficient appliances. Resource Media reports that in focus groups participants expressed feeling “smart” and “responsible” when they saved energy.  These feelings paired with the outstanding dollar amount energy efficiency projects save the public, largely increases momentum for the industry. 
 

These are good, yet small solutions…not applicable to larger problems we in the industry face.
 
In a recent survey of 1,000 Americans, more than 90% of respondents expressed willingness to make at least a few changes in their own homes to become more energy efficient users. Unfortunately, Resource Media also found that the percentage of people who would actively support new energy efficiency regulations was significantly low.  
 
There is a clear disconnect between the public’s views and the support for policies that can promote energy efficiency actions at a large scale.
 
The question that remains is…
 
How can we tap into the public enthusiasm for energy efficiency and use it as leverage to advance policy and energy programs? What communication strategies and tactics are the most effective? 
 
Click here to read more about Resource Media and their findings…

Calling All Contractors!

MEECA's members, Michigan Saves, wants to meet with you




Michigan Saves has been alongside MEECA advocating for energy efficiency for quite some time. Michigan Saves has made several recent program improvements designed to help our contractor members expand their business. Michigan Saves financing is one of the best and most important leveraging tools for enabling energy improvements. Michigan Saves is hosting two meetings for eligible contractors to discuss recent program improvements. These one hour meetings will also provide access to exclusive offers for your customers.
  • March 1: Saginaw-Fuzzy's Restaurant, 1924 Court Street. 8:00AM. Registration Due: February 26th 
  • March 15: Clare-Doherty Hotel, 604 North McEwan. 8:00AM. Registration Due: March 11th

Continental breakfast will be served. Please RSVP to Kait Wyckoff if you express interest in these events. 

The Human Side of Building Codes

A letter from Amy Schmidt, Dow's Building Code Expert

 

Amy Schmidt, Senior Code Advisor for Dow Building Solutions, one of MEECA's members, leads a team that is responsible for Dow’s code development and adoption activities. She serves as the team’s subject matter expert on energy codes throughout the country. Dow and MEECA both advocate for energy efficiency in Michigan. 





The following is an excerpt from Amy regarding the advancements and future for energy codes in Michigan...

The world of building codes picked me.

A funny thing to say, but people don’t often tell their friends, “I want to work on building codes for a living.” But eight plus years after entering the building code field, I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling job. Unlike coders in Silicon Valley, I help write code that shapes the buildings that people call “home” or “work.”

Our Dow Building & Construction Advocacy team is made up of experts with rich and varied experience. We come from backgrounds that include roofing, wood products, government affairs, chemistry and design. We focus a lot of our energy on code development in the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE processes. We also participate in the development of green building and above code programs such as the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard, Energy Star for Homes, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Click here to read more from Amy about the future of energy codes....

 

Rural Energy for America Program 

Two tiered program that provides benefits to energy efficiency stakeholders


Section 9007 of the Farm Bill offers the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) through USDA Rural Development. This program is made up of two parts, both benefiting several different types of energy efficiency stakeholders.
 
Part On
e consists of renewable energy or energy efficiency products (RES/EEI). This program helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. There are several different requirements including application, technical and environmental requirements.
 
“We expect the next round of competition for smaller and larger products to be intense, depending on the amount of applications. If you didn’t have enough time this year with quickly approaching due date, there is a new deadline in place coming in late October”
       – Rick Vanderbeek, State Energy Coordinator, USDA Rural Development
 
Part Two consists of energy audits and renewable energy assistance grants (EA/REDA). This program provides grants to applicants who will assist agricultural producers and rural small businesses by conducting energy audits and providing recommendations and information on renewable energy development assistance and improving energy efficiency. Although the due date for the fiscal year is closed, this is a huge opportunity for our members. –Something to keep in mind for next year…
 
 
Click here to read further about the grants, selection factors, and the process of applying and applicant eligibility.
 

 

Register Today! 

Use Promo Code "MEECA"

 

Happening on March 23rd in Harris, MI and April 6th in Battle Creek, MI the 2016 Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference brings together facility managers, building owners, contractors, manufacturers and many others who are all focused on energy efficiency.  

Top Four Reasons to Attend
  • One-on-one networking with subject matter experts
  • Opportunity to develop a working simplified energy efficiency strategy for your home or business, including payback calculations
  • Informative breakout sessions designed to teach you how to improve your bottom line
  • A chance to review valuable rebate programs that help increase energy efficiency and reduce monthly utility bills 
Use MEECA promo code to help support our advocating efforts towards energy efficiency. 

To register for the Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference, click one of the links below.  Please select promo code MEECA when registering



 

Help Grow MEECA! Share our Membership Application with your colleagues.  There is Power In Numbers!

For more information please contact Brindley Byrd at 517-203-9180  or brindley@meeca.info.

 
 
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