EO Case Studies

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Harvesting Efficiency

By |2014-04-04T15:04:51+00:00September 4th, 2013|EO Case Studies|

Every dairy cow carries an energy price tag. Farmers pump water—and $2.6 billion in energy dollars—to boost crops. At the end of the day, energy, both direct and indirect, accounts for 13 percent of production expenses on an average farm, so it makes sense that more farmers are turning to energy efficiency to help their bottom lines.

Electricity powers a farm’s heating (water, space, heat lamps), pumping (irrigation, water wells, manure lagoons), refrigeration, ventilation, fan (drying grains, aeration) and lighting operations. Material handling—such as feed augers, manure conveyors, milking, and egg conveyors—also drain resources.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates farmers could save $88 million annually by investing in efficient motors and lighting. So, how can Michigan farmers reap efficiency benefits?

Local electric cooperatives provide rebates for agricultural members (and other business and residential members) who make electricity-saving improvements through the Energy Optimization Program (visit michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319; Cherryland Electric Co-op members, call Member Services at 231-486-9200 or 800-442-8616).

EnSave, a national agricultural energy efficiency firm, also provides a pyramid of steps farmers can take to cut down energy use. The greatest savings come from deploying more efficient equipment, but behavioral changes and a simple analysis of how energy is consumed can result in significant savings, too.

Equipped to Save
Each farm—dairy, poultry, beef, hog or crop—offers opportunities for efficiency improvements. For example:

Clean equipment: Removing dust, soot and debris will allow equipment to do more work with less effort, therefore extending its life and reducing energy use.

Inspect equipment regularly: Replace parts that show excessive wear before they break and cause irreparable damage. Plug leaks: Be it a pinprick hole in a hose or a drafty barn, leaks waste money, fuel and electricity.

Remove clutter: Hoses should be flushed regularly to clear debris. Ensure that fan and motor intakes and exhausts remain clear for maximum circulation and efficiency.

Light Lessons
After tuning up your equipment, check the lights. Light your work areas, not entire buildings, and install dimmable ballasts to control lighting levels. Use daylight whenever possible.

The type of light used also makes a difference. While useful as a heat source in limited situations, such as keeping water pumps from freezing in winter, incandescent lightbulbs only convert 10 percent of the energy used into light. The rest is given off as heat. Consider these energy-saving options, as compared to incandescents:

  • Halogen incandescents use 25 percent less energy and last three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs;
  • Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer;
  • Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) use 75 to 80 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer;
  • Cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) last up to 25 times longer and offer the same efficiency as CFLs.
  • T-8 and T-5 fluorescent lights with electronic ballasts operate more coolly, produce more light per watt, generate less noise (without flickering), and offer better color rendering and energy savings.

Harsh Surroundings
Before buying new equipment or lighting, make sure your gear can survive the farm’s rough environment—fluctuating temperatures, wet locations, long operating hours, and large loads. Confirm the manufacturer’s specifications that the unit is intended for the environment, and review the warranty and conditions. Make sure the way you plan to use it will not void the warranty.

Look for knowledgeable suppliers and installers familiar with the local climate and your needs. Typically, farms need more rugged devices than what’s available at a low cost from a retail or big-box store.

Seeds of Change

  • For regional or crop-specific efficiency methods, use the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service energy calculators at energytools.sc.egov.usda.gov. Assess how much energy your farm needs for animal housing, irrigation and tillage, and discover ways to cut costs. Dairy farmers may also visit usdairy.com/saveenergy.
  • Funding for efficiency upgrades is available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Since 2008, REAP has funded over 6,800 renewable and energy efficiency grants and loan guarantees as well as 600 farm energy audits. Get details at rurdev.usda.gov>Energy>Rural Energy for America Program.
  • Farmers can also apply for financial and technical/energy management help from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (nrcs.usda.gov>Programs>Financial Assistance>Environmental Quality Incentives Program).

Sources: American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, EnSave, U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

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Sault Schools Save Big on Energy Efficiency

By |2016-11-17T16:47:41+00:00September 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

Does energy efficiency add up for schools? Let’s do the math. Not only are students and staff more comfortable and focused, but energy efficiency also helps funds go further. For these reasons and more, the Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools recently completed multiple large-scale lighting projects as part of their ongoing energy-saving efforts.

“Although we had been doing a great deal to reduce our energy footprint, this not only gave us an opportunity for energy savings, but the support we very much needed,” said Larry Perron, on behalf of the Schools’ maintenance team.
With the Board of Education’s approval and the superintendent’s support, the team completed 10 energy efficiency projects at four schools through the Energy Optimization (EO) Commercial and Industrial program offered by Cloverland Electric Cooperative. Cloverland is one of 12 electricity providers working together to offer rebate programs to Michigan home, farm, and business owners.

Project Details
While there are many EO rebates for businesses, energy efficient lighting projects are the most popular because they tend to have rapid paybacks—annual energy savings often offset equipment and installation costs in less than three years. In addition, the lighting industry is no longer manufacturing T12 fluorescent lightbulbs (as of July 2012), which makes finding replacement bulbs challenging.

These factors, along with EO rebates, motivated the Sault Schools to replace lights in four of its oldest buildings. “We are always looking at ways to improve, such as being green schools, staying up with energy savings, recycling, and water bottle refilling stations to name a few,” said Perron. “This was a great opportunity to bring energy reductions to the forefront.”

Another part of the program that appealed to the Schools’ maintenance team was working together with their utility and the EO staff to achieve great results.

“The thing we were impressed with the most is the great people from Cloverland and the energy firm used to supervise the rebate program and assist with new projects,” Perron said. “They have been great to work with—very good at helping us work through the rebate program and great sounding boards for new energy savings within our schools.”?Two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in Sault Ste. Marie are on pace to collectively save almost $12,000 in lighting costs each year with just the upgrades that have been made so far. The EO rebates help offset initial purchase costs, too.

Future Plans
The Sault Schools’ maintenance team also has big energy-saving plans for the future, such as changing 90 high-bay lights to ultra-efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs), upgrading an additional 375 light fixtures from T12 bulbs to T8s, and replacing the gym lights at both the high school and middle school for an even bigger payback.

Co-op Member Spotlight
Company: Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools

Energy-Saving Actions:

  • Installed 520 high performance T8 fluorescent light fixtures in two schools.
  • Replaced 2,008 standard fluorescent bulbs with reduced-watt fluorescent bulbs in three schools.
  • Converted most incandescent light bulbs to CFLs, LEDs, or low-wattage induction lights.
  • Replaced outdated lightbulbs at once instead of waiting for old bulbs to burn out.

Rebate Amount: $5,809 and counting

Results:

  • Lowered electricity use by 102,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
  • Saving $11,600 in energy costs per year
  • Expecting to double energy savings in 2014
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Energy Optimization Program Is Proven Winner With Businesses

By |2014-04-02T15:30:24+00:00July 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

Banks Hardwoods Inc., headquartered in White Pigeon, MI, with additional facilities in Newberry, and Menomonie, WI, is a supplier of sustainable, quality hardwood lumber. The company ships about 65 million board feet annually from its 28 drying kilns to customers making a variety of products, including moulding and furniture, throughout the Midwest. And, like most small to medium-size businesses, they are always on the hunt for energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Addressing energy waste has proved to be a viable way for them to cut costs without cutting jobs.

“Energy use is our largest variable expense after employee wages. We needed to be more efficient with our variable costs so we wouldn’t be negatively affected during the down economy,” explains Jim Clarke, the company’s chief financial officer. “Becoming more energy efficient also better aligns with our other sustainable business practices, like utilizing wind energy credits and selecting sustainable timber for our product lines.”

Since 2010, Banks Hardwoods has implemented three major energy efficiency projects through the Energy Optimization Commercial and Industrial program offered by Midwest Energy Cooperative. Twelve electricity providers throughout Michigan offer Energy Optimization (EO) rebate programs for residents, businesses and farms (visit michigan-energy.org to see all participating utilities).

Thanks to the Energy Optimization program, Banks Hardwoods now saves 256,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) or $24,000 in energy costs every year!

Project Details
Banks Hardwoods chose projects that would have the biggest impact on their expenses. First, they replaced 18 high-bay HID (high intensity discharge) light fixtures with 6-lamp T8 fluorescent fixtures. Next, their kiln fan controls were upgraded with variable speed drives. This simple step not only proved to be more energy efficient, but provided a higher quality wood-drying process. They also outfitted the combustion draft fans on one of their wood-fired boilers with variable speed drives to allow the fans to run at a rate consistent with demand. In other words, fans no longer run full-speed all of the time.

“The energy savings from these projects have substantially exceeded our expectations,” notes Clarke. “We are saving 25 to 30 percent on energy costs associated with the project work areas, so we are very pleased.”

Looking Ahead
Now that Banks Hardwoods has seen a significant return on investment from its energy-saving efforts, they plan to keep going, and three more projects are underway. They will add variable speed drives to seven more wood-drying kilns and another boiler, and are experimenting with replacing outdoor HID lights with light emitting diode (LED) fixtures. Occupancy sensors installed throughout the plant will automatically shut off lights if no one is in a particular area.

The company also intends to improve the energy efficiency of their two satellite facilities, most likely starting with lighting retrofits at the Newberry plant, which is served by Cloverland Electric Cooperative. Another project they are considering is adding variable controls to their dust collection system in the mill room, which would allow the system to slow down based on the equipment that is operating at any given time.

Claim Your Reward
Find out how saving energy can benefit your business. There are programs and rebates with your name on them. Call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org to discover energy-saving options that are ideal for your business, farm or home.

Co-op Member Spotlight
Company: Banks Hardwoods Inc.

Energy-Saving Actions:

  • Replaced high-bay high intensity discharge (HID) light fixtures with T8 fluorescents
  • Installed variable frequency drives (VFDs) on four boiler fan motors
  • Added VFDs on circulation fan motors for six kilns Rebate

Amount: $17,160

Results:

  • Stopped wasting 256,000 kWh of electricity per year
  • Saving $24,000 in energy costs per year
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Business Rebates for Past Projects

By |2014-04-02T15:26:23+00:00July 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

If you completed an energy efficiency project last year and you weren’t aware of our business rebates, it’s not too late!

Typically, Energy Optimization rebate applications must be submitted within 30 days of a project’s completion. The Energy Optimization program will now accept applications for energy efficient qualifying products installed within the past 24 months. The website (michigan-energy.org) provides a complete product list of qualified lighting and commercial and industrial equipment. Eligibility requirements are included on all rebate applications. The Energy Optimization team can also answer your questions about whether or not your equipment qualifies for specific rebates.

Pre-approvals are not required for a rebate submittal, but we recommend that custom (non-standard) projects receive pre-approval. Find all the details at michigan-energy.org or call 877-296-4319.

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They Get Air Conditioning and More

By |2014-04-04T14:30:31+00:00May 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

After attending an energy seminar hosted by their electric co-op, Great Lakes Energy members Steven and Dawn Burks learned there’s an air conditioning system that can help lower their winter heating bills, too.

When they built their new home near East Jordan in 2011, they had a 95 percent efficient propane furnace and an air-source heat pump installed. The entire installed cost of this heating and cooling system was $8,700. The furnace and heat pump work together to provide affordable comfort and convenience all year long.

“We wanted air conditioning and it made sense to have an air-source heat pump that could both cool the home and help heat it, too,” says Steven.

During last summer’s record heat, the highest monthly cooling bill for their 4,590-square-foot home was $13.17.

By operating the heat pump as a backup heating system on the milder days this past heating season, the couple also saved over $100 in heating costs. The savings bonus resulted from not having to burn as much of the more expensive propane.

Their furnace and heat pump automatically work together. When the outdoor temperature rises to 35 degrees and above, the heat pump comes on and provides all the heat for the home. When temperatures drop below 35 degrees, the furnace takes over.

An air-source heat pump moves heat naturally found in the outside air into the home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “when properly installed, an air-source heat pump can deliver one-and-a-half to three times more heat energy to a home than the electrical energy it consumes. This is possible because a heat pump moves heat rather than converting it from a fuel, like in combustion heating systems.”

Their air-source heat pump operates at low cost during the milder days of the heating season because of its:

  • Higher efficiency.
  • Lower electric heating rate (see related article, below left).

Equally important to containing heating and cooling costs is having a well-insulated home. The Burks home has R-19 insulation in the walls; R-40 in the ceiling; double-pane, low “E” windows; and insulated concrete basement walls. Insulation was added under the concrete basement floor, too.

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Odawa Casino Resort Plays It Smart

By |2014-04-04T14:20:14+00:00April 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

If a casino finds energy waste risky, should other businesses take note? Over the last three years, Odawa Casino Resort in Petoskey implemented nine energy efficiency projects—all of them through Great Lakes Energy and its Energy Optimization (EO) program. As a result, this business saves 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year—equivalent to removing 406 cars from the road.

“I think, as with any company, energy cost savings would be the biggest reason to implement energy efficiency, but the Odawa Casino Resort also believes it is very important to reduce our carbon footprint,” says Dave Heinz, the Casino’s lead electrician.

Knowledge is Power
In 2009, Great Lakes Energy’s key account manager told Heinz about Energy Optimization rebates for businesses. It was a game changer. The EO program offers rebates on simple projects (i.e., equipment replacement) as well as complex energy efficiency projects unique to a business. The program maximizes energy savings and return-on-investment for businesses.

“I’m impressed by how eager to help and knowledgeable everyone that I have dealt with in the EO program is,” Heinz says. “We have not completed a project that we didn’t get more out of it than we thought we would.”

Project Details
The Odawa Casino Resort started its energy efficiency efforts with lighting retrofits—a practical choice for any business. They replaced thousands of old incandescent lightbulbs with new compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). This alone saves almost $32,000 per year in energy costs.

Last year, they installed variable frequency drives (VFD) on eight belt-driven motors. The VFDs prevent motors from running at full speed all the time, therefore reducing the need for costly belt replacements. Instead, VFDs adjust the motor’s electrical supply to efficiently meet varying process requirements, which saves energy and extends equipment life. Odawa also added coolant valves to its 20 cylinder natural gas-fired generators. This reduced run-time for the 2k to 12k coolant heaters by 60 percent.

In 2012, several 50-inch plasma TVs were replaced by equivalent Energy Star® models that save over $1,400 annually. More significantly, hundreds of slot machines were converted from mini-fluorescent lights to new LED lights, and over 10,000 mini-incandescent bulbs used for mood lighting were replaced with LEDs. These lighting projects on the gaming floor not only resulted in less electrical use, but now the air conditioning system doesn’t have to work as hard to remove waste heat from the lights. This LED project is expected to save over $38,500 annually in electricity costs.

The Casino already has other energy-saving projects in the works for next year.

Saving at Home, Too
Energy Optimization programs are available for residents, too. “I know that our team members take a lot of the information and knowledge gained on the job and use it to save energy at home, too,” Heinz explains.

Rebates on new Energy Star® or energy efficiency appliances are among the most popular incentives. You can also take advantage of a free online home energy audit, energy-saving kit, and refrigerator recycling.

What’s Next?
The Odawa Casino Resort has had repeated success with the Energy Optimization program, and you can, too. Call 877-296-4319 or visit michigan-energy.org to learn about energy-saving options that are ideal for your business, farm or home.

Co-op Member Spotlight Company:
Odawa Casino Resort

Energy-Saving Actions:

  • Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs)
  • Variable frequency drives (VFDs) on motors
  • Custom process improvements
  • Reduced wattage T8 fluorescent lights
  • Cooling system improvements
  • Energy Star® plasma TVs
  • LED lightbulbs in slot machines
  • LED lights for mood lighting

Rebate Amount: $61,687

Results:

  • Saved 3.1 million kWh per year
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Enhanced existing equipment
  • Saved $217,000 per year
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Alger Delta Helps Bay Cliff Save Energy, Reduce Costs

By |2014-04-02T15:14:45+00:00March 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

Donations can accomplish many things for great causes. And for Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, a large donation meant much-needed upgrades were possible.

Bay Cliff’s electric bills were outrageous from the camp’s sodium lights and inefficient appliances, until Alger Delta Electric Cooperative came to the rescue.

“We’ve got buildings that were built back in the ‘60s, and the lighting systems were pretty old and really needed going through, and they did all that for us,” said Big Bay maintenance supervisor, Keith Campbell.

Over the course of last summer, the company upgraded the camp’s electrical system and appliances in the name of their Energy Optimization Program. They then donated over $32,000, which covered 75 percent of the total bill, and presented the check to Bay Cliff this past January.

“The Energy Optimization Program helps members of all kinds implement conservation and energy efficiency measures in their homes and businesses,” said Tom Harrell, Alger Delta’s general manager.

With Alger Delta’s donation of money and labor, the camp was able to become more energy efficient. All of the lights were replaced in all of the old buildings, and even a brand new dishwasher was added.

“One of the reasons that we do this is the cost of saving energy is less than the cost of building more power plants to produce energy,” Harrell said.

The new appliances and lights throughout the camp have significantly lowered energy usage. The camp’s electric bill will now be $6,000 less each year, thanks to the new electrical system.

About Bay Cliff Health Camp:
Bay Cliff is a year-round, nonprofit therapy and wellness center for children and adults with physical disabilities. Bay Cliff’s priority program is a seven-week, summer therapy camp session serving children with orthopedic, speech, hearing and vision disabilities. The children work towards goals of increased independence and living a fuller life. Bay Cliff also sponsors a week-long recreational camp for adults with physical disabilities, an adaptive paddling workshop, a health and wellness retreat for polio survivors, winter recreation for the children and adults that attend the camp’s summer programs, family programs for children with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and obesity, and a professional development workshop for pediatric therapists.

Bay Cliff also partners with nonprofit groups and schools interested in conducting programs at the camp. These guest programs include health and wellness retreats, youth development, science and outdoor recreation programs, or volunteer and leadership training for people with and without disabilities.

The camp is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of community leaders and health care professionals who care about children. The board employs an executive director, who is responsible for administering and supervising the program, facility and staff. Learn more at baycliff.org.

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Switch to Geothermal Pays Off

By |2016-11-17T16:47:41+00:00March 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

I recently met with Lester and Carol*, HomeWorks members from Clinton County, to talk about their experience with geothermal heating and cooling. Their geothermal system was installed just over four years ago.

Lester and Carol were facing a bit of a dilemma. Their trusty fuel oil furnace was acting up after many years of service. As they weighed their options, they came across geothermal and met with a contractor their son recommended.

Lester was a little wary that the cost savings the contractor calculated would actually happen, but with winter on its way they had to do something. Their second-best option involved putting in a new propane furnace, and setting a tank. They decided to spend a little more in the hope of saving as much as the contractor had calculated for them.

Four years later, after comparing past fuel oil costs to their new geothermal system, they found their contractor’s calculations of savings and payback were spot-on. The payback period will be roughly five years (“payback” is the time it takes to recover, through energy savings, the added cost of the geothermal system over a new propane furnace.)

The last year Lester and Carol had fuel oil, it cost over $1,600 just to heat their home. With geothermal, and taking advantage of HomeWorks Tri-County’s dual fuel program the highest annual cost they have seen was just over $580. One very important thing to remember is that the geothermal cost is for both heating and cooling their home!

After hearing about these savings, I dug a little deeper to see if there were any downsides, like increased maintenance costs.

“It’s really simple,” Lester says. “We have scheduled maintenance every fall that costs around $90, money that is very well spent.” Lester and Carol vacuum out their filter every few months, and once a year give the filter a power wash.

What the couple likes most about the geothermal system, besides the money saved, is how clean, quiet and comfortable it is. “With our fuel oil furnace there was always the fuel smell, but with the geo it’s clean and safe, because no fossil fuels were used,” Carol says.

Lester and Carol take part in HomeWorks Tri-County’s dual fuel program, which gives them a 3 cent per kilowatt-hour discount when their geothermal system runs, in exchange for letting the co-op control the unit at peak usage times.

When I asked if they would have chosen geothermal without the HomeWorks discount, they were firm: “There is no doubt about it, the program could end, and if the geo unit went bad another one would go right back in its place,” Lester states.

Overall, Lester and Carol are very satisfied. Not only does the unit save on heating and cooling costs, but it is also plumbed-in to help save money on their hot water costs as well. With the average lifespan of a geothermal unit being about 24 years, Lester and Carol definitely feel they’ve made the right investment.

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5-Alarm Smokehouse: A Fresh Source For Quality Meats

By |2014-04-02T15:07:46+00:00January 1st, 2013|EO Case Studies|

Opened a year ago to offer custom deer processing, 5-Alarm Smokehouse & Custom Butchering has also grown quickly into a destination shop for quality meats.

Owner Jeff Brown, a Fremont Township firefighter for over 20 years, opened 5-Alarm because he didn’t like the way his own game was being processed, with parts being mixed into other hunters’ venison to make sausage, for example.

“Here we do one deer at a time, even the specialty items. We’ll do one four-pound mix for sausage, for example.”

“We do custom butchering,” adds front-end manager Jerry Nesbitt, former owner of the Blanchard Thriftway.

“Right now we have six cattle hanging to cut, and two hogs, with eight or nine more coming in next week. We’ll be busy right up until hunting season.”

Mike Woodbury, new this year, is the cutting room manager. “He’s an excellent cutter,” Nesbitt says. Nicole assists Mike with weighing and packaging, and Arica works the front counter.

So far, 5-Alarm has grown mostly through word-of-mouth, and marketing to local businesses and restaurants. They also offer a quick lunch special for employees of local businesses, with sandwiches made to order, chips and a soft drink for just $4.99.

The building was designed and constructed with meat processing in mind. A geothermal heating and cooling system provides the consistent year-round temperatures 5-Alarm needs.

From being in the construction business himself, Jeff was familiar with how well geothermal heating and cooling works, and he knew it would pay for itself.

The geothermal system also operates the chillers, keeping it cold enough to make a big difference in the hanging time before livestock is butchered.

Jeff is a green builder by trade, and worked with Dan Rons of Custom Heating & Plumbing in Mt. Pleasant to set up the systems and insulate the building properly.

They used foam insulation in the building’s block construction, cell foam for ceilings, and a fiberglass insulation made for use on steel ceilings in the remainder of the building.

He also appreciated working with HomeWorks Tri-County Electric staff members, including Missy Robson, manager of customer service, and Nick Rusnell, energy advisor. They answered his specific questions about geothermal systems and how they could work for his business. Missy and Nick also helped Jeff set up dual-fuel metering, which cuts his energy costs even further.

The geothermal system cools the back room, kill floor and cutting room (kept at a constant 50 degrees), and regulates moisture as livestock hangs for butchering and gives a better aging process.

Jeff estimates it saves $500-$700 a month, especially in the summer.

It also works well in winter. Last heating season, Jeff says, he used just 3 percent of a 250-gallon LP tank for backup heat in the retail area.

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Co-op Programs Help Businesses Save Energy

By |2016-11-17T16:47:41+00:00October 1st, 2012|EO Case Studies|

Energy is our thing, so it’s your electric co-op’s job to keep you updated on the latest developments. That’s why we’re sharing the following information on changes affecting businesses, and details about commercial rebates.

T12 Lightbulb Phase-out
On July 14, 2012, manufacturers stopped producing traditional T12 lightbulbs and magnetic ballasts in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. These laws established new energy reduction targets for the U.S.

If you currently use T12 bulbs-those old-style fluorescent tubes that are 4- or 8-feet long and 1.5 inches in diameter-and one burns out, you may find that replacement bulbs are not available. Instead, you’ll need to replace the fixture with a modern, high-performance T8 or T5 fluorescent fixture or retrofit kit. These lights last twice as long as T12 bulbs, and have lower maintenance costs. Deal Alert: Your electric co-op offers incentives for you to upgrade your business or farm lighting. But, you need to act now as these T12 lighting rebates are set to expire at the end of this year.

Saving Energy on Farms
With the drought affecting Michigan’s farmers this growing season, it’s important to reduce costs where possible, and using less energy is a good financial stabilizer. If you upgrade to any of the items below, you can also earn cash-back rewards.

  • Install high bay fluorescent fixtures to replace old 250-watt or 400-watt HID (high intensity discharge) fixtures. Rebate: $20-$50 per fixture.
  • Use LED lightbulbs. Rebate: $8 per lamp.
  • Install low-energy livestock waterers. Rebate: $50 per unit.
  • Use variable frequency drives (VFDs) on pump or fan motors. Rebate: $60 per horsepower, up to 40 percent of the project cost.
  • Opt for qualifying circulation or exhaust fans in your barn. Rebate: $2 per blade-inch.
  • Choose an efficient milkhouse electric water heater. Rebate: $250 per unit.

Custom Projects
If standard lighting or farm equipment projects don’t meet your needs, you might consider applying for a custom rebate. If you already have an idea what you’d like to do, you can get started now and complete an application. However, if you are unsure of what your best option is, we can connect you with the right resources to make a sound decision.

Past approved projects have included manufacturing process improvements, non-standard lighting upgrades, irrigation pressure reduction, automated energy management systems, and desktop computer network controls. Rebates are paid at a rate of 5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) saved, up to 40 percent of your total project cost.

Opportunity Knocks
Bottom Line: Instead of stockpiling old lightbulbs or hanging onto outdated technology, embrace new opportunities to lower your energy use. For more ways to save, including rebates for your home, check out all of HomeWorks Tri-County’s Energy Optimization programs (michigan-energy.org or 877-296-4319).

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