June 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to the monthly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA). Continue reading to learn more about what's been happening in recent weeks.

MEECA Annual Golf Outing--Last Chance to Register!

The 3rd Annual Golf Outing is less than two weeks away. If you still need a foursome or competition hole sponsorship, be sure to register by COB this Wednesday, July 3rd


Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to meet and mingle with other professionals in Michigan’s energy efficiency industry. We hope you can join us at Hawk Hollow on Wednesday, July 10th!

Contractor Toolkit

Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, Section 179DSome MEECA members are wondering about the status of this popular federal tax incentive that was enacted with the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The short answer is that 179D does not apply to current projects. That said, older projects may still qualify and there is a reasonable chance that the incentive will be renewed. For a recent update, check out this recorded webinar.


Online PACE Contractor TrainingMEECA member company Lean & Green Michigan (LAGM) now offers online training to become a PACE-certified energy contractor. Re-certification with the latest updates in the Michigan PACE market is also available. This convenient training includes a 3-part webinar series followed by a 15-question multiple choice quiz. Benefits of PACE certification include being listed on the LAGM website, receiving referrals to potential PACE projects, and learning more about the marketplace. Sign up today for this valuable training opportunity.


Video Presentations by Jim NewmanJim Newman with MEECA member company Newman Consulting Group, LLC is a recognized expert in efficient building design and practices. Check out Jim’s advice about how to design a healthier, more profitable building with better coordination among architects, engineers and owners.

Public Policy Updates

Brandy Brown, Ph.D. has been tapped to lead Michigan’s new Office of Climate and Energy. Formerly with MEECA member company CLEAResult, Dr. Brown is familiar with the central role of efficiency in reducing carbon emissions. Under her direction, the office within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will coordinate Michigan’s response to climate change across state departments and agencies, and provide recommendations, guidance and assistance on climate change mitigation, adaptation and resiliency strategies. Learn more about Dr. Brown’s appointment in EGLE’s press release.


New Task Force to Examine Upper Peninsula Energy IssuesGov. Whitmer has formed an advisory group within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to focus on UP-specific energy issues such as high electricity prices and the heavy reliance on propane for heating. Most of this propane comes through Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline that the administration describes as an “ever-present threat” to the Great Lakes. See Executive Order 2019-14 for more information about the 13-member task force and its assignment.


EE-Related News

October 2nd is National Energy Efficiency Day. Sign up to be a supporter and prepare now to engage in the 4th annual Energy Efficiency Day. This is an opportunity to join others across the nation to highlight the benefits of saving energy—lower utility bills, more comfortable buildings, more jobs and economic growth, cleaner air. Tools will be available to share information with your networks using email, newsletters, Facebook and Twitter. Share your efficiency tips, projects, case studies and stories using the #EEDay2019 hashtag. Reach out to state and local leaders for proclamations. To learn more, contact Monique Hanis at mhanis@aee.net or 202-391-0884.


Energy Use in the Cannabis Industry. As reported by Great Lakes Echo, Michigan officials are examining energy regulations for the state’s recreational marijuana industry following the state’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana. In particular, grow lights are expected to significantly increase the demand for electricity. In a related story, FairWarning found that only two of eleven states that have legalized cannabis—Massachusetts and Illinois—have adopted energy efficiency standards for indoor growing.


Detroit Releases its Sustainability Action Agenda. The City of Detroit has launched a new sustainability roadmap focused on achieving affordable and healthy homes, clean and connected neighborhoods, and stewardship of natural resources. It seeks to build on decades of progress already made by a number of organizations throughout the city. Improving access to utility efficiency programs is a key action listed in the agenda. To learn more, visit the Detroit Sustainable Action Agenda website.


EE Financing Updates:


Michigan Saves Releases Annual Report. Total investment approaching $200 million was reported through 2018 by Michigan Saves. About three-fourths of this money supported residential projects. Click to obtain the full report.


The Bottom Line of Commercial Energy Efficiency Financing. Michigan Saves recently published a useful summary of its commercial financing options that are currently available.


Battle Creek YMCS finances with PACE. The first PACE project in Calhoun County has been announced. This $1.3 million investment will enable the facility to cut total electricity use nearly in half and save more than $3.2 million over the next 22 years. An online case study of this project demonstrates how PACE can help nonprofits reduce their operating costs and devote more resources to core mission.


Upcoming Events & Deadlines

MEECA Annual Golf Outing

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Hawk Hollow Golf Course in Bath, MI


U.S. DOE Better Buildings Summit

An opportunity for industry professionals to explore emerging technologies and share innovative strategies in energy and water efficiency.

July 10-11, 2019

Arlington, VA


Michigan C&I Energy Conference

Upper Peninsula Educational Series

FREE for utility customers, contractors and trade allies, utility representatives, students and faculty.

Join like-minded industry experts, contractors and business professionals for a series of half-day sessions and panels covering new technologies, programs and incentives to help save energy and cost. Registration includes two session topics, plus Energy Efficiency 101 accelerated session; tabletop discussions; and breakfast and lunch. Select your date(s) and locations(s) from the following list:

  • Tuesday, July 30th in Iron Mountain—Topics: Geothermal heating and cooling; Financing
  • Wednesday, July 31st in Houghton—Topics: Geothermal H&C; Advanced lighting controls
  • Thursday, August 1st in Marquette—Topics: Boiler optimization; Small/medium business panel
  • Friday, August 2nd in St. Ignace—Topics: Operational savings; Small/medium business panel


Nomination Deadline: Midwest Energy News “40 under 40” awards program

This program highlights emerging leaders throughout the region helping to accelerate America’s transition to a clean energy economy. Self-nominations are welcome.

5:00PM CT, Friday, August 2, 2019


Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot (SMEWRIP)

The Michigan Energy Office is offering rebates to eligible manufacturing facilities in Michigan to implement energy waste reduction activities. Proposed activities must be directed at achieving on-site energy savings at a company’s manufacturing facility, provide a minimum one-to-one match, and involve no equipment costing $5,000 or more. Awards up to $15,000.

Deadline: August 30, 2019


Detroit Commercial Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Conference

Agenda and registration website coming soon

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


NZ19: The World’s Largest Net Zero Building Conference & Expo

October 2-4, 2019

Los Angeles, CA


USGBC—Detroit’s 3rd Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

WSU Student Center


Midwest Building Energy Codes Conference

Hotel accommodations and conference agenda are coming soon. Contact Nicole Westfall at nwestfall@mwalliance.org for more information.

November 13-14, 2019

Omaha, NE


2nd ACEEE Conference on Health, Environment, and Energy

January 21-23, 2020

New Orleans, LA

Other Program Announcements

Consumers Energy Announces Updated ZNE Program. Consumers Energy has just released the Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Companion Program, an update to its existing ZNE Pilot Program. The ZNE Companion Program retains the original 5-phase integrated design, but with new minimum energy reduction requirements, modified incentive structure, and a new requirement that enrolled projects pursue all-electric design. A ZNE deliverable guidebook has been developed as a reference for project teams. The ZNE Companion Program features an incentive of $1.50 per square foot.


The existing multi-year ZNE Pilot Program includes eleven new and existing building projects that reflect various commercial building types and sizes. So far, eight projects have completed preliminary and advanced design with an average projected savings of about 40 percent. The award-winning program has already paid out incentives of nearly $350,000.


To learn more about Consumers Energy’s Zero Net Energy Companion Program, visit their website.


Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Loans for Michigan Business. The Michigan Energy Office is offering small businesses, currently located in Michigan, loans for qualified energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects. $1.5 million in load funds are available for eligible projects. Loan requests should be between $50,000-$350,000, and limited to supplies, materials and equipment costs only. This solicitation is open until all available funds are exhausted. Applications for funding will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.


Lighting Technology Energy Solutions (LiTES). This program aims to reduce the energy footprint in small and medium commercial buildings by accelerating the adoption of advanced lighting controls solutions through training and technology deployment. The goal is to have 100 contractors/installers trained, and 100 advanced lighting technology demonstrations deployed in Michigan by 2019. For more information, contact Eric McDonald with NextEnergy at 313-833-0100 or ericm@nextenergy.org


Grants to Study Michigan CHP. The Michigan Energy Office, now part of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, has a new $50,000 matching grant opportunity for studies to access the feasibility of installing combined heat and power (CHP) projects in Michigan.


Consumers Energy Announces Incentives for EV Charging Stations. Consumers Energy has just launched PowerMIDrive, a multi-year program to advance Michigan’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. The MPSC approved $10 million over three years to support this effort. In brief, rebates are available as follows:

  • Residential—between $400 and $500 to EV owners who install eligible 240-volt chargers
  • Public—up to $5,000/charger for 200 Level 2 chargers in public locations and workplaces
  • Fast Chargers—up to $70,000 for 24 DC fast chargers along highways and other travel routes