May 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.

Residential ZNE Event a Huge Success!

MEECA speakers at the residential ZNE event (L to R): Dale Neville and Mark Lee from Better World Builders; Patrick O'Boyle from Michigan Saves; Bali Kumar from Lean & Green Michigan; MEECA executive director David Gard


Earlier this month, MEECA co-hosted a day-long conference at Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids on how to achieve “zero net energy” performance in residential buildings. The event quickly sold out with more than 80 people in attendance, surpassing expectations.


For context, last year several MEECA members expressed a desire to better understand the term Zero Net Energy (or ZNE) which they were hearing more frequently in the marketplace. Briefly, ZNE refers to a building with on-site generation that produces at least as much energy as it uses during the course of a year. Achieving this level of performance requires knowing how to bring together deep energy savings with renewable technologies such as solar PV and geothermal heating and cooling—a truly integrated solution. Based on this initial interest, MEECA has been working to educate its members about this growing market segment.


To facilitate interaction between energy efficiency contractors and those from the renewable energy industry, MEECA approached three other member-based organizations in Michigan: the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA), Michigan Geothermal Energy Association (MGEA), and GreenHome Institute (GHI). Together these groups and allies are partnering to educate our collective membership and others about how to achieve ZNE—whether in new construction or major renovations—in all sectors.


The event in Grand Rapids was our first collaboration and focused on residential ZNE. Keynote speaker Tim Wright with GeoComfort set the stage by sharing broad trends in technology and public policy that herald a growing market share for ZNE. Panel discussions then dove deeper into design strategies for thermal envelop, heating and cooling, and on-site generation/storage. Financing available for ZNE projects was also covered. Among the panelists were MEECA members Mark Lee and Dale Neville from Better World Builders, Patrick O’Boyle from Michigan Saves, and Bali Kumar from Lean & Green Michigan.


All sessions from the residential ZNE event on May 8th can be viewed by visiting this website.


Finally, mark your calendars for a Commercial ZNE Event in Detroit on September 18th. Details coming soon!

3rd Annual Golf Outing Sales Are Underway

The registration website for MEECA’s Summer Golf Outing is up and running. Those who attended the first two iterations of this event know to expect a day filled with great (or not so great!) golf, camaraderie, and invaluable professional networking. Come see and been seen by other movers and shakers in Michigan’s EE industry!


While most major sponsorships have already been sold, other options are still available as well as foursomes and individual spots. Early June always brings a rush in sales, so don’t wait too long to register your company.


Our growing list of supporters includes Double Eagle title sponsor DNV GL joined by awards reception sponsor CLEAResult, golf cart sponsor SEEL, beverage cart sponsor Walker-Miller Energy Services, beat-the-pro contest sponsor Development Solutions Midwest, and single hole sponsor Pure Eco. A hearty thanks to all!   

EE in the News


Industry Market Trend: The call for energy efficiency at work

Sustainable energy company VEIC reports on the dynamic of more Americans pushing their employers to reduce their environmental impact, including saving energy. This development could help contractors in their business development with C/I customers. Read the full article as background for thinking about how to communicate talent retention as part of the EE value proposition!


One in four U.S. homes is all electric

A growing number of homes are all electric, with 25 percent of homes nationwide using only electricity according to EIA’s 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The share of all-electric homes has risen in each census region over the past decade, particularly in the Midwest and South. Visit the EIA website for more information.


MEECA members named Environment + Energy Leaders

Industry hub Environmental Leader recently inducted the 2019 class of Environment + Energy Top 100 Leaders. Among them were MEECA members Jim Newman with Newman Consulting Group, LLC and Todd Williams with Lean & Green MichiganWinners of this elite program are selected from across a variety of industries based on their success in providing significant sustainability and energy management results. Check out the full list of honorees. Congratulations, Jim and Todd!


New Whitepaper: How the Utility-Customer Relationship in Changing in 2019

EnergyX Solutions, Inc. has published a report looking at the best time to approach a utility customer about energy efficiency incentives. They identify an massive opportunity to engage residential customers either just before or after purchase of a house. Read more here.


Energy-intensive cannabis industry to boost demand on electric grid in Michigan

Crain’s Detroit published an article by attorney Saulius Mikalonis on the energy impact of Michigan’s decision to decriminalize the use of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes. Growing and processing cannabis are energy-intensive activities—particularly indoor growing. To see the article, visit Crain’s Detroit.


Contractor Toolkit

This month we highlight three resources available online that might be of use to contractors and others working in the energy efficiency industry.


New ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019: Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings. This reference is invaluable for achieving commercial projects that save energy AND preserve the historical legacy of our built environment. By the way, Michigan's own Lawrence Tech U. Professor Emeritus Janice Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD was involved in developing this new resource. Access ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019.


Presentations from the 2019 DTE/ESD Michigan Energy Efficiency Conference & Exhibition are available online at this website:


GHI webinar series. GreenHome Institute maintains a free YouTube library of its previous webinars related to residential energy savings. Sessions from the recent ZNE event in Grand Rapids can also be found there.


New Member

The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) was founded in 1991 to promote the manufacture, use and education of the general public in the practices of renewable energy in the Great Lakes region. GLREA and its members believe that a greater use of renewable energy will save money for homeowners, farmers and business and protect our environment. The adoption of renewable energy promotes economic development and creates new jobs, which is very important to the Michigan economy. GLREA works to establish policy that supports the free market expansion of renewable energy.

Public Policy Update

Building Energy Codes


  • MEECA continues to participate in the Michigan Energy Office’s Codes Compliance Collaborative to improve compliance with the current residential and commercial energy codes. If you have creative ideas toward achieving this end, contact MEECA executive director David Gard at


  • MEECA was recently invited to meet with Michigan Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) Director Keith Lambert and Dep. Director Alesha Gensler to share interests and priorities. Anyone can be added to BCC’s mailing lists for code-related updates and newsletters. To do so, contact Sandy Baldwin at


  • U.S. DOE has issued their preliminary determination of Energy Savings for the 2018 IECC (Residential) and the ASHRAE 90.1-2016 (Commercial). This shows that there is an improvement in building energy performance with the updated codes. For more information, visit


Workforce Development


A number of MEECA members share the challenge of hiring and retaining qualified people. Executive director David Gard has been invited to join the Michigan Energy Workforce Development Consortium (MEWDC). This is an industry-led partnership of more than 50 representatives of industry, workforce, education, and veterans. It was established in 2009 to address current and future workforce issue that are crucial to building and sustaining Michigan’s energy industry. To share your company’s specific challenges and ideas related to workforce development, contact MEECA executive director David Gard at


Related update on Walker-Miller Energy Service’s Green Jobs Training Program: Students in Cohort 1 have received their certificates of completion for six weeks of building science training. BPI testing is still in progress with eight students having passed the written test and field tests under review. If your company is interested in speaking with members of this cohort about potential employment, contact Nefreteri Howard at


Finally, here is a recent article about local and state-based programs taking shape to tackle the skills gap impacting a number of industries in Michigan. MEECA will continue to look for ways to engage on this important issue. 


Upcoming Events & Deadlines

Building Operator Certification (BOC) Level I Training Series

Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, and Lansing Board of Water and Light are offering nearly 74 hours of classroom and project work (7.4 CEUs) in building systems operation and maintenance. Tuition rebates available for customers with facilities over 50,000 sq. ft. All courses will be taught in Flint, MI and include:

  • BOC 1004, June 12, 2019
  • BOC 1005, June 26, 2019
  • BOC 1006, July 10, 2019
  • BOC 1009, July 24, 2019


DTE Trade Ally Orientation & Training (2nd Thursday of Every Month)

Next session: June 13, 2019


Consumers Energy Trade Ally & Contractor Orientation Training

  • Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at Holiday Inn Downtown in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at Consumers Energy Training Center in Okemos, MI

For more information, contact J.D. Gonzalez at 877-607-0737 ext. 1980


U.P. Energy Summit

Friday, June 14, 2019

Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI


MEECA’s 3rd Annual Golf Outing

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Hawk Hollow Championship Golf Course in Bath Township, MI


2019 Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference (Upper Peninsula)

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 in Iron Mountain
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 in Houghton
  • Thursday, August 1, 2019 in Marquette
  • Friday, August 2, 2019 in St. Ignace

Look for more information soon.


Commercial Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Event

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Detroit, MI (venue TBD)

Registration website coming soon.


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

Wayne State University Student Center

Speaker application deadline is Friday, June 14, 2019.


2nd ACEEE Conference on Health, Environment, and Energy

January 21-23, 2020

New Orleans, LA

 Funding Opportunities from the Michigan Energy Office

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. All awarded projects must comply with associated federal and state requirements.

This solicitation is open until all available funds are exhausted. Applications for funding will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit this link for more information about the program.


Small Manufacturers Energy Waste Reduction Incentive Pilot (SMEWRIP)


Deadline: August 30, 2019

Awards: Up to $15,000


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.


As reported by WLUC, the Michigan Energy Office recently awarded rebates to three small manufacturers in the Upper Peninsula through this program.