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Resources for Energy Efficiency Projects in Local Michigan Communities

Michigan Energy Office

The U.S. Department of Energy provides each state with a grant to operate a State Energy Office. The Michigan Energy Office (MEO) educates, assists and provides resources to Michigan consumers (i.e. citizens, businesses, local governments and non-profit organizations) to help them effectively capitalize on their energy efficiency and renewable energy-related assets.

Questions about the site should be directed to:

Mark H. Clevey, MPA, Manager
Consumer Education & Renewable Energy Programs
MEDC, Michigan Energy Office
Office: 517-241-6280, email: cleveym@michigan.gov

Energy Efficiency - First Step in Alternative Energy

Energy efficiency concerns the amount of energy to produce goods and services (i.e., how much energy is used - versus how much energy is wasted - when work is performed).  Most importantly, wasted energy is wasted money!

Improvements in energy efficiency are most often achieved by adopting a more efficient technology or production process.  For example, adding ceiling and wall insulation to a building allows it to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a comfortable temperature. Installing fluorescent lights, LED's or natural skylights and windows reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared to using traditional incandescent light bulbs (incandescent light bulbs actually produce more waste heat than light per unit of energy.  Compact florescent lights, on the other hand, use two-thirds less energy and may last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescent lights).

There are various motivations to improve energy efficiency. Reducing energy use reduces energy costs and may result in a financial cost saving to consumers if the energy savings offset any additional costs of implementing an energy efficient technology. In some cases, the wasted energy causes overheating in the building space, requiring money to be spent on cooling.  Building operators who use energy efficient products find that these products often last longer as well as save energy.  Reducing energy use is also seen as a key solution to the problem of reducing emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, improved energy efficiency in buildings, industrial processes and transportation could reduce the world's energy needs in 2050 by one third, and help control global emissions of greenhouse gases.

Most importantly, energy efficiency is the first step in any viable plan designed to develop an energy resource such as wind, solar and biomass energy.  Energy efficiency is the way to ensure that energy created from both traditional and alternative energy sources is not wasted.  The Michigan Energy Office has a number of programs that can assist local communities enhance their energy efficiency as a first step in their energy resources development plans:

  • ENERGY STAR Program - ENERGY STAR is a national program that provides objective third-party verification that a product has high energy performance. ENERGY STAR rated buildings, for example, perform in the top 25% of buildings in the U.S. with regard to energy usage. For a full listing of energy efficient products, please see: ENERGY STAR Products 
  • Businesses & Non Profits - Energy efficiency is a great opportunity for businesses and non-profit organizations to reduce their energy costs. For example, the Green Lodging Michigan program assists hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts to implement energy efficient and "green" cost saving practices and certifies facilities that have adopted "green" practices. The Green Venues Michigan is designed to encourage (and assist) facilities to adopt cost saving, green practices which conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. The Green Venues Michigan program was modeled after the Green Lodging Michigan program.
  • Residential Energy Efficiency - The Michigan Energy Office currently supports eight "Michigan Energy Demonstration Centers" located throughout the State. The Michigan Energy Demonstration Centers promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building and sustainable living solutions for Michigan residents and businesses.
  • Public Buildings - MEO has a number of program that support public buildings. For example, the Rebuild Michigan Program fosters partnerships that promote increased energy efficiency within a community. Partners may include local governments, schools, universities, businesses, non-profit organizations and public housing authorities. With assistance from state government and other partners each community can determine energy saving opportunities and goals and work to implement an energy action plan.
  • Michigan Clean Cities Program - Clean Cities is a locally based government and industry partnership, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to expand the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel.
  • Green Communities Program - All Michigan communities are eligible to participate in the Michigan Municipal League's Green Communities Challenge, a program designed to reflect the governing body's commitment to adopt policies and programs of energy efficiency and conservation. Participating communities are promoted as a part of a nationally recognized program.

Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC)- Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency is a top priority in Michigan!  All 63 of Michigan's utilities have submitted plans to the MPSC to help their customers save energy and money while delaying the need to build expensive new power plants.  For every $1 spent on energy efficiency programs, customers will save $3 in avoided energy costs. Over the next three years, energy efficiency programs will save Michigan utility customers $1.2 Billion. It's true; the cheapest energy is the energy you don't use!  Click Here for information on MPSC's Energy Efficiency programs.

Michigan Utility Programs and Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Planning Tools for Local Communities

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's "Local Energy Efficiency Policy Calculator" is a downloadable analysis tool intended for use by local policymakers and stakeholders. It can be used to compare policy choices and explore the results of different implementation scenarios. Users can customize inputs to reflect local characteristics and tailor policy designs to meet their needs. The tool calculates estimates for energy savings, cost savings, pollution, jobs, and other outcomes resulting from selected policies over a time period designated by the user.

Energy Efficiency Financing Tools

  • U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Program - The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
  • ENERGY STAR, Energy Efficient Mortgages -  An Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) is a mortgage that credits a home's energy efficiency in the mortgage itself.  EEMs give borrowers the opportunity to finance cost-effective, energy-saving measures as part of a single mortgage and stretch debt-to-income qualifying ratios on loans thereby allowing borrowers to qualify for a larger loan amount and a better, more energy-efficient home.
  • Michigan Saves - Michigan Saves offers financing programs for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Our programs make energy improvements easy and affordable for homeowners and businesses across the state.
  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide innovative small businesses with grants to research, develop and - most importantly - commercialize breakthrough technology innovations (including energy efficiency-related innovations).  Grants range from $100,000 (Phase I) to $1,000,000 (Phase II).  Many of Michigan's leading technology-based entrepreneurial firms have successfully used SBIR/STTR grants as SEED and growth capital to launch their successful ventures.

Energy Efficiency and Education

Clean energy is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, offering many opportunities for careers across a wide variety of businesses. For more information, see the Michigan Green Jobs Report. To pursue an energy efficiency career, students in local communities will need general as well as specialized training. A number of colleges and universities in Michigan and across the U.S. now offer specializations in various clean energy fields, or even full degree programs. Michigan postsecondary schools provide a host of alternative energy-related programs. Community colleges can also be a great resource if you want to get certified for a particular trade or get a two-year degree with clean energy credentials. And, many other organizations offer courses and seminars on energy efficiency and renewable energy topics - in some cases for free.

Select Energy Efficiency Resources

 

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