July 2017 Newsletter
MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg meets with MEECA
Sally Talberg, Chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, joined MEECA members for a networking reception on Thursday, June 8. The event at the Brookshire Inn & Golf Club in Williamston brought together industry participants and Michigan’s top utility regulator. It was also an opportunity to formally present Talberg with MEECA’s 2017 Public Servant of the Year Award, announced earlier this year, in recognition of her efforts to pass recent legislation strengthening Michigan’s efficiency programs. In brief remarks, the Chairman highlighted the continued success of these programs and acknowledged the important role that MEECA members play in their implementation.
“Those who showed up were really glad they came,” said David Gard, MEECA’s executive director. “Several people mentioned how much they appreciated the chance to talk with Sally in such a relaxed setting.” Gard added, “This is the kind of opportunity we want to keep providing to our members.”
A special thanks to MEECA member SEEL for making this event possible!
MEECA Golf Outing is just around the corner!
Join other energy efficiency professionals for a day of outdoor fun on Wednesday, July 26 at Hawk Hollow Championship Golf Course. Individuals and foursomes can register at the event website, which also has information about sponsorships still available for purchase.
(Tip of the Day: The event website works best with browsers other than Internet Explorer.)
Direct any questions about the event to David Gard at email@example.com or 517-896-2960.
2017 EE Conference & Expo hosted by DTE Energy and ESD
Nearly 800 people gathered in Novi on May 9 for the annual Energy Efficiency Conference & Exposition organized by DTE Energy and Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD).
The lunchtime program featured DTE Energy’s Energy Efficiency Awards presented in four categories: Education, Impact, Innovation, and Leadership. This was followed by a panel discussion on how companies can incorporate efficiency into daily activities. Moderated by Ken Randazzo, Manager of Energy Optimization and Energy Partnership & Services at DTE Energy, the panel included Alfred Hildreth (Global Energy Manager, General Motors Company), Kevin Dunbar (Corporate Energy Group Supervisor, FCA US LLC), and George Andraos (Director, Energy and Sustainability, Ford Motor Company). Together they discussed capital improvements, rescheduling energy-intensive processes, encouraging more efficient employee behaviors, and other ideas. A common theme was recognizing efficiency as continuous improvement rather than a one-time exercise.
Morning and afternoon training sessions across five tracks: Lighting, Energy Control Systems, Energy Optimization, Financing Energy Projects, and Mechanical. Attendees also had access to 70 exhibitors in the main hall of Novi’s Suburban Collection Showplace.
“We look forward to partnering with ESD on this conference,” said DTE Energy’s Randazzo, who serves on the MEECA board of directors. “It’s always a highlight of our business.” He added, “This event is just one way we inform our customers about energy efficiency. This year they got to hear the global energy manager from each Detroit 3 automaker share their knowledge and expertise on how continuous energy savings can become reality.”
Michigan Energy Appraisal: Summer Outlook 2017
Last month the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) released its semiannual assessment of Michigan’s energy baseline.
Some notable findings include:
- “The effects of energy waste reduction initiatives and a projected slide in cooling demand sees electricity demand fall about 2% in 2017. The largest reduction is expected in the residential sector (3.6%), with the commercial (1.6%) and industrial (0.8%) sectors expected to decline, as well. Residential electric rates generally saw an uptick, as customers of investor-owned utilities saw a median increase of 2.5% between May 2016 and May 2017.”
- “Consumption of natural gas is expected to see a 4.1% decrease this year on the heels of a relatively warm 2016/2017 winter, combined with an expected reduction in demand for electricity (much of it produced using natural gas). Weather-related effects are counteracting Michigan’s growing demand for natural gas in the power sector, which has increased by 13.6% annually since 2010. Michigan’s aging gas wells should this year mark the first time in decades that annual natural gas production in the state falls below 100 Bcf.”
- “Henry Hub natural gas spot prices are forecasted to average $3.30 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) this summer compared to $2.71 per Mcf last summer.”
To view the full report, click here.
New $2.5 million initiative to reduce energy from lighting
The Lighting Technology Energy Solutions (LiTES) program is a new three-year initiative to train electricians and contractors on advanced lighting control systems. It involves 15-20 training sessions focused on the deployment of lighting technology including dimmers, occupancy sensors, photo sensors, relay modules and communication-based control devices. The initiative is supported by U.S. Department of Energy, NextEnergy, Michigan Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program, DTE Energy, and Consumers Energy.
Training sessions will begin this summer and are free to attend, but registration is required. Visit NextEnergy’s website for more information and registration details.
U.P.'s first EE training program
According to the Marquette Mining Journal, there are still seats available at the Upper Peninsula’s first-ever Building Operator Certification training program. The program begins on August 10th and will be held at Northern Michigan University.
A press release from the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) states that the Michigan Energy Office (within the MAE) is offering a $400 discount off the tuition for public building operators to get certified with the training program.
The program is also open to private sector facilities managers. Those interested in the program should visit the Building Operation Certification website. For information about tuition discounts, email Haley Keegan with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LED Exterior Lighting Rebate Program
The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) is offering rebates to eligible applicants to upgrade existing public exterior lighting with light emitting diode (LED) lights. The purpose of this program is to encourage energy waste reduction and promote community vitality by accelerating the transition to energy efficient LED exterior lighting. MEO will match utility rebates up to $0.35/W reduced. Applicants with no utility rebate will be awarded at a rate of $0.35/W reduced.
PACE enables apartment complex upgrade in Saginaw
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan announced last month its latest PACE project, the 1920s New Amadore Apartments in Saginaw.
This is the first property in Saginaw County to take advantage of Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), an innovative energy efficiency financing mechanism. The County joined the Lean & Green Michigan statewise PACE program in September 2013 through a vote by the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners. Petros PACE Finance funded the upgrades to the property. The financing paid for the replacement of all 281 original single pane windows installed when the building was first constructed in 1929.
The purpose of these calls is to share information about a range of topics related to expanding the use of geothermal energy. For example, New York is in the process of creating a statewide geothermal utility rate and is seeking input from MGEA—because DTE Energy happens to be the only large investor owned utility they found with such a rate in place.
If you would like to know more about these ongoing geothermal discussions, contact MGEA’s executive director Larry Kaufman at email@example.com.
Dow's Amy Schmidt appointed Vice-Chair of committee to advance green building standards
Dow Building and Construction (B&C) recently announced that B&C Advocacy Manager, Amy Schmidt, has been selected as ASHRAE’s Vice-Chair on the 2018 ICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard Committee.
Amy’s appointment reflects her previous experience in helping to update ASHRAE energy standards 90.1 (commercial buildings) and 90.2 (residential buildings three stories and under). She will have an important role in shaping the future of green building policy for low and high rise residential buildings.
“First and foremost I want to see the process executed properly,” said Amy, discussing her new role. “It is a public process and it is important that everyone has equal opportunity to present new ideas and have them properly vetted.” She added, “Energy efficiency is my baby – to me it’s one of the most important ways of curbing emissions for various reasons. Using less energy has a community effect on the economy and the environment, not to mention the economy and comfort of the actual building.”
EIA shares results of annual energy consumption surveys
As lighting technologies evolve and adapt to federal standards, lighting in U.S. homes is in a state of transition. Data from the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that, as of 2015, most homes in the United States used more than one type of lightbulb, primarily a mix of incandescent and compact fluorescent (CFL). Adoption of light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs has been increasing, with 29% of U.S. households reporting at least one LED bulb installed.
The most recent Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) collected new information about lighting control technologies and strategies in the United States in 2012. Lighting control technologies provide the appropriate level and type of lighting to a building and save on electricity costs. The use of these systems is more common in large, lit commercial buildings with at least 50,000 square feet of floorspace.
New study sees huge benefit from widespread controls in commercial buildings
A new report finds that if commercial buildings fully used controls nationwide, the U.S. could cut annual commercial building energy use by an average of 29 percent. This is equivalent to the energy currently used by 12 to 15 million Americans.
Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory studied how 34 different energy efficiency measures, most of which rely on various building controls, could affect energy use in commercial buildings such as stores, offices and schools. "Most large commercial buildings are already equipped with building automation systems that deploy controls to manage building energy use," said report co-author and PNNL engineer Srinivas Katipamula. "But those controls often aren't properly programmed and are allowed to deteriorate over time, creating unnecessarily large power bills.”
Commercial buildings account for about one fifth of America’s total energy use. About 15 percent of these facilities have building automation systems that deploy controls.
Read more about the new report here.
Detroit 2030 District Launches
A group of Detroit business and institutions have signed on as participants in the 2030 Districts initiative. The partnership is a project from the U.S. Green Building Council, aiming to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent from existing buildings by the year 2030.
New construction projects within the district would aim to create buildings with "net-zero" carbon emissions. The "Detroit 2030 District" joins 15 other North American cities that have signed the pact. Grand Rapids launched its 2030 District in 2015.
Net-Zero Buildings in Michigan
Two recent news stories highlighted zero-energy buildings in Michigan. One is a new house being built in Detroit’s North Corktown neighborhood. The home will be designer Phoenix Haus' first Detroit project, but its fourth project in Michigan.
The other building is the Center for a Sustainable Future, which opened in June 2013 in Lenawee County as Michigan’s first net-zero energy K-12 school building. The school itself continues to be a teaching tool for students.
Michigan Green Communities Announced
Twenty-six Michigan communities have been recognized in the statewide Michigan Green Communities Challenge for commitment to sustainability projects. The Michigan Green Communities Network (MGC) celebrated with an event in Muskegon last month on clean energy and environmental leadership.
For a list of the communities and descriptions of their achievements, see the Michigan Green Communities blog.
Michigan Policy Update
MEECA continues to represent its members in the following state-level energy discussions:
Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) Collaborative. Ongoing process to review and improve the implementation of Michigan's utility efficiency programs.
Integrated Resource Planning EWR Potential Study. The informal portion of this stakeholder outreach effort will begin immediately and conclude in July 2017 with the submission of a draft staff proposal to be filed in the IRP Modeling Parameters docket once it is initiated. The formal portion of the statewide IRP modeling assumption process is scheduled to begin August 18, 2017 and conclude by December 18, 2017.
On-bill Financing Implementation. Under the new energy law, rate-regulated utilities may offer residential customers the option to finance home energy improvement projects, and the ability to pay off the costs of those projects on their utility bill.
Code of Conduct / Value-Added Programs. Under the new energy law, the MPSC is required to establish a code of conduct that applies to electric, natural gas, and steam utilities, and which is intended to prevent cross-subsidization, preferential treatment, and information sharing, between a utility‘s regulated services and unregulated programs and services. The law also allows utility companies to offer their customers “value-added programs and services.” The MPSC needs to undertake a rulemaking process to implement these provisions.
New Efficiency Legislation Introduced
Two new bills, SB 476 and HB 4791, call for increasing Michigan's energy efficiency standard to 2 percent energy savings per year, beginning in 2022. The legislation is sponsored by Senators Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) and Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor), and Representatives Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Twp.) and Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo).
Federal Policy Update
Last month President Trump announced plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.
In response, sixteen Michigan mayors so far have joined hundreds of others across the nation in signing a "Climate Mayors" pledge to uphold the Paris agreement. The Michigan signatories include Ann Arbor, Buchanan, Detroit, East Lansing, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Lapeer, Pleasant Ridge, Rockwood, Royal Oak, Traverse City, Ypsilanti.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s two largest utility companies have recently stated plans to significantly cut carbon emissions. More information can be found online about these efforts by DTE Energy and Consumers Energy.
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MEECA Summer Golf Outing at Hawk Hollow Championship Golf Course in Bath Twp, MI on Wednesday, July 26.
The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan is hosting a program entitled “PACE in West Michigan – Making Building Efficiency Upgrades Affordable” on Wednesday, July 12 in Grand Rapids. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is now available in the City of Wyoming, and is under consideration in the cities of Grand Rapids, Walker, Grandville, East Grand Rapids and Kentwood. See the website for more information or to RSVP.
2017 ACEEE National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource: October 30 - November 1, 2017 in Litchfield Park, Arizona.