Summer 2020 Newsletter
Monthly news and updates from the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA).
MEECA Honors Awardees with Online Celebration
MEECA recently presented its sixth annual awards with a virtual event in late May. More than eighty people participated. The online gathering replaced an in-person banquet which was cancelled in March due to COVID-related public health concerns. While our members and supporters certainly missed the opportunity this year to shake hands and catch up face-to-face, moving online did not dampen the spirit of celebration.
Once again, MEECA congratulates our 2020 award winners:
The Litjens Family Home
Residential Project of the Year
Graphic Packaging International, Kalamazoo Mill
Commercial/Industrial Project of the Year
Vriesland Growers Cooperative
Contractor of the Year
Implementation Contractor of the Year
Energy Advisor of the Year
Home Energy Auditor of the Year
State Rep. Greg Markkanen
Public Official of the Year
To view a recording of this year’s 2020 Awards Celebration, follow this link.
In addition to the awards ceremony, the program featured an interview-style keynote session with MPSC Commissioner Tremaine Phillips. Mr. Phillips, who was appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last fall, discussed his priorities on the Commission. He also talked about his previous work in the energy efficiency industry. Prior to returning to Michigan, Phillips led the Cincinnati 2030 District and served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for EmpowerSaves, a Columbus-based energy efficiency data analytics and marketing company.
A special shout-out goes to our sponsors of the 2020 annual awards celebration. Title Sponsor DTE was joined by a distinguished list of partners shown below. At a time when all businesses and agencies have been hit hard financially, their strong demonstration of support for MEECA and its work on behalf of contractors is even more appreciated this year. Thank you all!
COVID-19 Resources and Updates
The Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) maintains a comprehensive website with information for Michigan companies. For example, check out this recent article: Mask Wearing and Other New Safety and Health Rules -- Employees and Customers May Express Their Opinion. Be Ready to Reply.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) launched a new online COVID-19 Workplace Safety site -- Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety -- which provides guidance and a toolkit of resources to keep workplaces safe as sectors of the state's economy reopen.
Building Performance Association’s Back to Work Guide: Keeping You and Your Customers Safe and Healthy in the COVID-19 Environment. BPA has gathered and curated health and safety protocols, summaries of and links to several training courses, guidance on blower door tests, and more.
U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan’s Healthy Buildings Webinar Series: Providing a Safe Workplace in our "New Normal"
U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan’s webinar, Developing a Flexible Building Operation Plan. Featuring Eric DeVries with MEECA member E3M Solutions.
Net Zero Build Summit’s webinar on its recent report Measuring the Impact of Covid-19 on the Net-Zero Sector, based on a survey of nearly 200 stakeholders from the Midwest’s green build community. Moderated by MEECA board president Ken Nielsen of The Nielsen Group.
Schneider Electric provides an online Library of Online Events and Webinars including training opportunities. And for reference see their brochure Optimizing building operations during low-occupancy situations.
MSU Broad College of Business webinar, "The COVID Economy: Looking into the Abyss and Beyond"
Additional COVID-related Resources from MEECA members:
- MEEA COVID Quick Links. The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) has a website featuring links to various industry resources and online contractor trainings.
- GreenHome Institute's webinar on viruses and recent research in respiratory virus transmission mechanisms.
- Amatis Controls has created a downloadable sign to educate building operators and occupants about Hands-Free Controls.
- Newman Consulting Group: Three Coronavirus Prevention Techniques for Your Building -- a Comparison.
Slipstream creates, tests, delivers and scales the next generation of energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that move us farther, faster toward a clean energy economy. Slipstream partners with utilities, local and state governments, regulatory agencies and other organizations to inspire new solutions to big energy challenges. With 40 years of experience demonstrating “what’s next” in programs and technologies, Slipstream is an established and trusted trailblazer in the industry.
Founded in 2000, Walker-Miller Energy Services (WMES) is a woman & minority-owned urban energy waste reduction company focusing on empowering people and enriching communities. We achieve that by providing an exceptional experience to our customers, our team members and the communities in which we serve. Our talented team of Certified Energy Managers (CEM), BPI Certified Energy Analysts, LEED accredited Professionals, Building Analysts, and internal support staff have been delivering energy efficiency services for nearly two decades.
ICF is a global consulting services company, but we are not your typical consultants. We combine unmatched expertise with cutting-edge engagement capabilities to help clients solve their most complex challenges, navigate change, and shape the future.
Demand-side management and energy efficiency programs must evolve to keep pace with a changing world and changing customer needs. We create and optimize utility portfolios to ensure these programs are streamlined, cost-effective, and successful.
Michigan Saves is a nonprofit dedicated to making energy improvements easier for all Michigan energy consumers. To accomplish this, Michigan Saves operates as a green bank, making affordable financing and incentives available through grants and partnerships with private sector lenders and energy providers. We also authorize and monitor a network of contractors and recognize those with advanced training while providing technical assistance for customers and contractors alike. Our current portfolio includes programs for residential, commercial, and municipal customers, and supports energy-efficiency, geothermal, and solar PV projects.
EE in the News
Energy efficiency programs and renewable energy can help address some of the disparities African Americans and other minorities face from fossil fuels, advocates say. But just any clean energy program won’t do.
As urgency grows to simultaneously address climate change and racial justice through proposals like the Green New Deal, low-income energy efficiency programs provide a potential example of how to merge the priorities.
Efficiency significantly cheaper than natural gas, DOE study concludes. Natural gas energy efficiency programs run by utilities saved energy at a cost of about $0.40/therm from 2012 to 2017 — less than half of the national average retail price of gas during that period.
Jackson, Michigan becomes ENERGY STAR-certified capital of small city America. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that Consumers Energy’s hometown of Jackson, Mich., now hosts more ENERGY STAR-certified buildings than any other small city in the United States.
DTE Energy extends net zero goal to include gas company. DTE Energy Co., an energy company based in metro Detroit, is extending its net zero goal, a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 2050, to include DTE Gas. "Climate change is one of the defining public policy issues of our time and it demands a bold response," said Jerry Norcia, president and CEO of DTE Energy, in the release.
From the American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy (ACEEE):
- The energy efficiency sector can help address longstanding health inequities. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores how living conditions can adversely affect communities of color and how energy efficiency programs can help by improving these conditions.
- U.S. programs to electrify space heating are growing. Across the United States, programs that electrify space heating in homes and buildings--primarily using high-efficiency heat pumps--are growing rapidly.
From Yale Climate Connections:
- As COVID-19 slows home improvements, energy efficiency efforts are going virtual. With house calls off-limits in parts of the U.S., efficiency experts find new ways to help households conserve energy.
- Budding Midwest marijuana industry could send energy use sky-high. But energy efficiency measures could blunt the impact.
Contractor Information from LARA
Trades Connection newsletter, June 2020
Licensing update: Responsibility for approval and posting of the required Residential Builders Pre-Licensure courses and Continuing Competency courses was transferred to the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) along with the licensing program. Visit the BCC website to access information for these courses.
Public Policy Updates
MPSC Chair Sally Talberg Stepping Down?
Michigan Public Service Commission chair Sally Talberg recently announced she is considering a position with the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) board of directors and could resign from the Commission by the end of the year. The vacancy would require Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to make her third appointment to the MPSC. State law requires that no more than two of the three commissioners belong to the same political party. Whitmer's first two appointments, Dan Scripps and Tremaine Phillips, have Democratic backgrounds. Talberg’s replacement would therefore likely be an Independent or Republican.
Talberg received MEECA's Public Official of the Year award in 2017.
HOPE for HOMES Act of 2020 Introduced with Bipartisan Support
As reported by the Building Performance Association, federal legislation proposed on June 24 includes immediate relief and long-term support for the residential energy efficiency contractor industry negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers a two-pronged approach to support online contractor training and fuel re-hiring while providing incentives to homeowners to invest in energy efficiencies in their homes. The Home Online Performance-Based Energy-Efficiency (HOPE) qualification is designed to serve as a pathway to participate in the Home Owner Managing Savings (HOMES) rebate program.
Consider adding your name to BPA's sign-on letter in support of this proposal.
House Climate Committee Embraces Ambitious Efficiency Measures in Wide-Ranging Plan.
In its recent report, the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis includes a set of robust policies to reduce energy waste as part of a wide-ranging blueprint for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. To learn more, read ACEEE’s press release.
Upcoming Events & Deadlines
July through September
To simplify the rebate application process, water heater (storage and tankless) rebates have been shifted exclusively to the distributor-based midstream channel for the Consumers Energy and DTE Energy Heating and Cooling (HVAC) programs.
BOC Level I--Michigan--July 2020--NOW ONLINE/Livestream Courses
Tuesday, July 7 at 9:00 a.m. - Wednesday, October 7 at 12:00 p.m.
BOC is a nationally recognized training and certification program focusing on energy efficient building operations and preventative maintenance procedures.
Consumers Energy Business EE Programs: Trade Ally and Contractor Orientations
Net Zero Build Summit 2020, bringing together the key stakeholders involved in the Midwest’s value chain for net-zero construction in residential, commercial, academic and government buildings, will be in Novi from August 25-26.
8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference will take place virtually on Thursday, August 27 from 1:30 to 5:00 pm. Speakers will include Katherine Hamilton, co-host of the Energy Gang podcast, and Patti Poppe, President of CMS Energy.
Hosted by DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit
October 20, 2020