Spring 2017 Newsletter

MEECA Delivers Keynote at 2017 Michigan Commercial & Industrial Conference

On April 5, MEECA’s executive director David Gard delivered the lunchtime keynote at Efficiency UNITED’s Michigan Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference at the Island Resort & Casino near Escanaba. Gard said, “I was glad for the chance to talk about what MEECA is doing on behalf of our members. I also underscored the value of saving energy for the business customers in the room.” His remarks further addressed Michigan’s energy policy context, and offered ideas for how to better visualize kilowatt-hour and BTU savings.

 

Each year the Commercial & Industrial Energy Conference provides a forum for business customers, contractors, and other industry experts to network and learn from one another. To reach a statewide audience, it is held at two locations within a week in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. This year’s program included expert panels on various technical and marketing topics, an exhibitor hall with services and products available to contractors, and other opportunities for networking.

 

On April 12, the Conference met again at FireKeepers Casino and Hotel in Battle Creek. As expected, attendance was larger than the previous week in the UP. The program was basically the same except for the keynote speaker. The audience heard international marketing expert Mark Jewell summarize his widely-acclaimed book Selling Energy.

 

For those who missed Jewell’s compelling presentation, his website is worth checking out.

 

There you can get a free download of his e-book and other materials supporting his message that “many more projects would be approved if energy professionals were actually trained to ‘sell’ rather than simply ‘promote’ efficiency.” Also, according to Jewell’s website, “Hundreds of testimonials confirm the link between efficiency-focused professional selling and increased sales success: higher closing ratios, shorter sales cycles, deeper retrofits, and more… Whether you are a manufacturer, specifying engineer, contractor, utility program manager or account executive, third-party program implementer, eco-entrepreneur or any other energy-related professional or job-seeker, you are sure to benefit from the insights provided in this book.”

MEECA 2017 Summer Golf Outing Announced!

At the request of our membership, a golf outing for MEECA has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at Hawk Hollow Championship Golf Course in Bath, MI. This event will provide an opportunity to engage others in the industry while enjoying the challenge of one of Michigan’s fine courses.

 

Please hold the date and stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, contact MEECA executive director David Gard to sign up early or inquire about sponsorship opportunities. David can be reached at david@meeca.info or 517-896-2960.

2016 ‘Biggest Loser’ Award Winners Celebrated in Grand Rapids

On April 19 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, the 2016 winners of the Michigan Battle of the Buildings ‘Biggest Loser’ competition were formally recognized. BOTB is a statewide competition where corporations, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and governmental and educational institutions vie for who can reduce energy usage by the greatest percentage over the course of a year. The competition is organized and hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. Visit the Michigan Battle of the Buildings website here.

 

'Biggest Loser' winners range from large complexes like Ford Field Stadium and the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center to smaller facilities such as the Grand Rapids Brewing Company and the headquarters of Meadowlark Design Build in Ann Arbor. What all competition contestants have in common is a strong commitment to wise energy management and use.

 

The full-day event brought leading building owners and operators from across the state for peer-to-peer learning about different approaches to saving energy. Speakers included Brett Moss who discussed the country’s first Net Zero Energy Plus training facility in Los Angeles and how their approach can work in Michigan. Valerie Brader spoke about the new State of Michigan energy policy. Representatives from Consumers Energy introduced the new increased incentive amounts for 2017.

 

The new competitors for 2017 were also announced at the event. Together they represent 589 buildings covering 93,000,951 square feet. Best of luck to all, and congratulations to the 2016 winners!

Utility Efficiency Investments Continue at Record Levels

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), representing efficiency program administrators from the United States and Canada, released its eleventh Annual Industry Report on March 31, 2017. Total spending from all funding sources on gas and electric demand side management programs in 2015 increased one percent over 2014, to slightly over $8.7 billion.

 

CEE Executive Director Ed Wisniewski observed, “Despite ever-increasing cost cutting pressures on utilities and their tremendous record of accomplishment, the results indicate widespread recognition of remaining savings potential. The level of investment is a testament to the strength of utility and state government leadership.”

 

Highlights of the report include:

  • Ratepayers contributed $8.2 billion of the $8.7 billion total.
  • Electric efficiency programs in the United States and Canada spent $7.3 billion, and natural gas program expenditures were nearly $1.4 billion.
  • Estimated gross savings were 29,590 GWh and 496 million gas therms.
  • 23.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions were avoided by these programs in 2015.

These findings demonstrate the continued attractiveness of demand side management investments in energy efficiency and demand response as a system resource. For more information, you can find the eleventh Annual Industry Report at the CEE website.

 

This story borrowed from the CEE’s press release.

Natural Gas Inventories End Heating Season Above Five-Year Average

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), natural gas in storage as of March 31, the traditional end of the heating season, totaled more than 2,000 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or nearly 15 percent above the five-year average. Natural gas in storage tends to follow seasonal patterns of injections throughout summer and withdrawals during the winter. Inventories began this past heating season at a record of 4,047 Bcf on November 11, 2016, because of relatively warm seasonal weather. Read the full EIA story here.

 

 

Looking into the future, EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook is calling for an increase in natural gas inventories of about 1,750 Bcf through this summer’s injection season, but are not expected to match the record levels seen in Fall 2016.

 

EIA concludes that “Similar to recent consumption patterns, consumption in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors is expected to remain relatively flat on an annual average basis as electric power sector consumption of natural gas declines slightly and gross natural gas exports—especially liquefied natural gas exports—continue to increase.”

Michigan Policy Update

Michigan’s new energy legislation, Public Acts 341 and 342, took effect on April 20. This month, MEECA is publishing an editorial by Valerie Brader, Michigan Agency for Energy executive director, on how these new laws will shape Michigan’s energy future, and the role that MEECA can play.

Michigan has energy policy it needs to power its future, energy waste reduction efforts to be major focus

 

By Valerie Brader, Michigan Agency for Energy executive director

 

Michigan’s new energy laws put energy waste reduction at the forefront of creating a 21st Century plan that will benefit every customer.

 

Parts of the laws build on the money-saving success Michiganders have realized in their utility bills since 2010. According to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s annual report, more than $5.3 billion has been saved through energy efficiency program and efforts. That number surely will grow now that Public Act 341 and Public Act 342 of 2016 have taken effect.

 

The laws mean Michigan will be adaptable to a changing energy climate by moving toward newer, cleaner technologies; will guarantee customers a reliable source of power to meet residential, agricultural, office and manufacturing needs; make sure utility bills are affordable; and protect the environment.

 

Utilities will be incentivized to make it as attractive to invest in their customers as it is for them to invest in their next new plant, when that’s cost effective. And that will lower costs for everybody.

 

Another change in the statutes directs utilities to offer residential customers “on-bill” financing of energy improvement projects. That means a homeowner can install a high-efficiency furnace or double-pane windows or added insulation to cut their energy use and reduce their bills. They’ll be able to pay for the improvements through their utility bills, making the decision to invest in their homes much easier.

 

A key part of the legislation’s flexibility is Michigan’s first-ever clean energy goal that calls for meeting 35 percent of the state’s electric needs through a combination of energy waste reduction and renewable energy by 2025. Energy waste reduction programs are now poised to reap even more savings for customers because the new law removes utilities’ 2 percent spending cap on those programs.

 

Members of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association will play an important part in reaching Michigan’s clean energy goal as they work closely with customers to implement energy efficiency projects at Michigan homes and businesses.

 

We’ll be working with the MPSC to implement the new laws, but we believe strongly that it’s important that we hear for all stakeholders as our efforts get underway. We have a web page that details all what’s ahead and members of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractor Association can offer their comments and suggestions, as well, through Michigan.gov/energylegislation.

 

With the leadership of Governor Snyder and the bipartisan support of the Michigan Legislature, we now have the tools the state needs to ensure it has an energy future that is affordable, reliable and protective of the environment for the long term. It’s the flexibility and the adaptability of the energy policy that makes Michigan ready for a 21st Century energy future.

 

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Gov. Snyder Signs Legislation to Help School Districts Become More Efficient

 

On April 28, Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4080, sponsored by state Rep. Beth Griffin, to allow school districts to use Lease Purchase Agreements as a method to finance energy efficiency upgrades in their facilities. Previously only local units of government (counties, cities, villages, and townships) had this ability. School districts can enter a multi-year contract with a service provider in order to improve energy conservation. Learn more about Public Act 23 of 2017 at the Michigan Legislature website.

 

 

On-Bill Financing Stakeholder Workgroup

 

MEECA was invited to participate in a stakeholder workgroup to develop an on-bill financing program that could be voluntarily implemented by regulated utility companies in Michigan. State law already permits municipal utilities to make these programs available to their customers. On April 24, the workgroup heard from a national expert on energy finance and a representative of the Holland (Michigan) Energy Fund. The next workgroup meeting is scheduled for May 19.

 

Renewing Members

Ecotelligent Homes is an award-winning and licensed home performance contractor that specializes in identifying the root cause of your home’s unique comfort concerns and installing the customized energy efficiency improvements to solve your problem.

 

Our goal is to assess your home’s efficiency and educate you on why we recommend specific improvements based upon science that is quantifiable.  Ecotelligent Homes is also dedicated to the continuous education of its staff and is constantly raising the bar with new techniques and improvements within the industry.  We care about the environment and want to do our part to reduce our footprint, all while improving the comfort of our customers’ homes with honesty and integrity.

 

Visit the Ecotelligent Homes website.

 

Johnstone Supply is your one-stop shop, with a variety of options in unitary and specialty equipment, repair and replacement parts, and maintenance supplies for Residential, Light Commercial, Refrigeration and Facilities Maintenance.

 

We offer the products, programs and services that help contractors of all sizes succeed. We’re committed to being your HVACR resource from start to finish.

 

Visit Johnstone Supply’s website.

Upcoming Events

May 9, 2017

2017 Energy Efficiency Conference & Exhibition, Hosted by DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit. Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, 8:00am – 3:00pm

In its 20th year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small-to-large commercial and industrial businesses on energy technology, products, and services that will assist them in successful energy management.

 

May 3, 2017

Grand Rapids 2030 District invites you to have lunch with the experts where they’ll answer your questions about ZNE (Zero Net Energy). 601 First Street NW, Grand Rapids, 10:30am –1:00pm

 

May 15 – 17, 2017

Better Buildings Summit, Washington DC

The Better Buildings Summit is a national meeting where leading organizations across key sectors showcase solutions to cut energy intensity in their buildings portfolio-wide by 20% over the next ten years. This Summit is designed for partners and stakeholders to exchange best practices and highlight demonstrated market solutions with an equal emphasis on discussing future opportunities for greater energy efficiency in America’s homes and buildings.

 

NOTE: Now available are over 300 presentations covering 100 unique topics from the 2016 Better Buildings Summit. Everything from selecting the right high-impact technologies, organizational strategies, finding financing, creating partnerships, and much more.

 

July 26, 2017

MEECA Summer Golf Outing at Hawk Hollow Championship Golf Course in Bath, MI.