Smart Energy is the newsletter for all things Michigan Saves.

This regular publication keeps you up to date with the latest trends in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the providers that help individuals take control of their energy costs. Check back often for new content and announcements.

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Beer and Wings party SmartEnergy
May 11, 2017

Michigan Saves’ Beer and Wings contest grows exponentially

The expression “the third time’s a charm” certainly proved true for Michigan Saves’ unique incentive program, which rewards contractors who complete 24 or more loans in the last six months of a given year with parties to enjoy cold beer and spicy wings. In 2016 — the third year of the Beer and Wings contest — the number of winners doubled.

Michigan Saves Executive Director, Mary Templeton accepting Midwest Energy Efficiency Award SmartEnergy
May 11, 2017

And the award goes to … Michigan Saves!

If Oscars were given out for energy waste reduction, Michigan Saves would play the role of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — working diligently behind the scenes to identify energy champions and reward them for their extraordinary efforts. In January, however, the organization was forced out of its comfortable backstage reality and into the spotlight when it was given an Inspiring Efficiency Impact Award by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA).

Michigan Saves Board Member, Thom Phillips SmartEnergy
May 11, 2017

Meet the board: Thom Phillips explains how the Michigan Saves and Habitat for Humanity missions align

Although facts and figures tell the story of Michigan Saves’ extensive efforts to improve energy efficiency in the state, we couldn’t do what we do without the talented and dedicated people who lead the organization. To that end, we’d like to introduce you – our readers – to the Michigan Saves board members. This time, Smart Energy features Thom Phillips, a sustainable-building specialist with Habitat for Humanity.

Working with Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
May 11, 2017

Working with Michigan Saves is still smart and affordable, but now it’s even easier!

What do self-parking cars, smart phones and luggage with wheels have in common? They are all things that make our lives easier. And, while Michigan Saves isn’t revolutionizing energy efficiency in quite the same way these inventions have transformed transit, communication and travel, it’s always looking for new ways to simplify the energy improvement financing process, especially for contractors.

Mary Templeton, executive director for Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

A message from Mary Templeton

Welcome to our annual year in review. With 2016 behind us, we take this time to reflect on our accomplishments, thank our partners and supporters and set our sights on new horizons. It’s always a contemplative time for the Michigan Saves team. As I enter my fourth year as executive director, I can’t help but be inspired by how far this organization has come and how much we’ve been able to achieve with your help.

SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

Get to know Michigan Saves: An animation

It’s not easy to describe Michigan Saves, but this new video does an excellent job. Check out the best — and most fun — explanation of how the organization works with its many partners to make energy efficiency easy and affordable.

Stacked and layered numbers SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

By the numbers

Ever wonder how much energy and money Michigan Saves’ programs are actually saving? The 2016 numbers are in, and the results are impressive!

SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

Michigan Saves expands its residential toolbox in 2016 to reach more homeowners

A toolbox. To most of us it’s just a case for toting hammers and nails — whatever tools we need to repair our homes, offices or cars. To Michigan Saves, however, it’s a term used frequently to describe the exceptional collection of initiatives, incentives and financing options the organization has put together to help homeowners make easy and affordable energy-efficiency upgrades.

Glass terrarium in the shape of a pig with moss like plants in the shape of buildings inside SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

More choices equal greater energy savings for commercial markets

In 2016, Michigan Saves’ business, multifamily and public sector energy financing programs funded an impressive $7.6 million worth of energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements in the commercial sector. How did they do it? Two words — more choices.

Thank You! SmartEnergy
February 9, 2017

Thank you from all of us at Michigan Saves

Michigan Saves is fully committed to reducing the state’s energy footprint one building at a time, but we couldn’t do any of it without our dedicated partners.

Brian Jones, co-owner of Playmakers SmartEnergy
October 27, 2016

Mid-Michigan’s premier running and fitness store takes a unique approach to customer service

In today’s highly competitive retail environment, where margins are small and choices are plentiful, businesses are constantly looking for ways to gain an edge. Go-to options include lowering prices, increasing service speed and enhancing product quality and selection. But what about improving customer experience by making energy-efficiency improvements? The people at Playmakers — an award-winning footwear and fitness apparel store — think that might be the factor that tips the scale.

rose tantraphol SmartEnergy
October 27, 2016

Meet the board: Rose Tantraphol discusses how Michigan Saves board members inspire one another

Although facts and figures tell the story of Michigan Saves’ extensive efforts to improve energy efficiency in Michigan, we couldn’t do what we do without the talented and dedicated people who help lead the organization. To that end, we’d like to introduce you — our readers — to the Michigan Saves board members. This edition of Smart Energy features Rose Tantraphol, founder and principal of Moonsail North, a startup that uses storytelling and strategy to help innovators communicate and grow.

Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards winners and Michigan Saves staff SmartEnergy
July 26, 2016

Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards affirm winners’ commitment to reducing energy waste

Well-known cultural anthropologist and author Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” These words aptly describe the work of 14 Michiganders who came together in 2015 to create the Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards (GEEA) — a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations that have made implementing energy-efficient practices part of their everyday lives.

Beer & Wings winners SmartEnergy
July 26, 2016

Michigan Saves contest rouses contractors’ competitive spirit

If there’s one thing Michigan Saves knows about its authorized contractors — other than that they’re dedicated to helping customers become more energy efficient — it’s that they thrive on friendly competition. That’s why the organization created its spirited Beer and Wings contest.

Row of condominiums and townhomes SmartEnergy
July 26, 2016

Michigan Saves ramps up service to multifamily and commercial solar markets

What do upgrading drafty windows, improving aging HVAC systems, replacing old light fixtures, sealing air leaks and adding more insulation have in common? They’re all good ways for owners of multifamily dwellings to create a more comfortable living environment for their tenants. Those efforts can also lower energy expenditures, give residential proprietors a competitive edge and keep out pesky bugs and rodents.

Greg Bergtold SmartEnergy
July 26, 2016

Meet the board: Greg Bergtold talks about how Michigan Saves benefits his company’s customers

Although facts and figures tell the story of Michigan Saves’ extensive efforts to improve energy efficiency in Michigan, we couldn’t do what we do without the talented and dedicated people who help lead the organization. To that end, we’d like to introduce you—our readers—to the Michigan Saves board members. This edition of Smart Energy features Greg Bergtold, business advocacy director for Dow Building and Construction, a business group within the Dow Chemical Company.

Contractor smiling and holding blueprints SmartEnergy
April 28, 2016

Michigan Saves partners with contractors in creative ways

If Staples—the world’s largest office products company—hadn’t trademarked the “easy” button, Michigan Saves probably could have. Through the years, they have tried to make the process of implementing energy-efficiency improvements as easy, affordable and smart as possible for everyone involved, including their authorized contractors.

Handshake over blueprints SmartEnergy
April 28, 2016

Michigan Saves’ unique win-win approach helps lenders respond to customer needs

In a time of what often feels like considerable divisiveness, Michigan Saves stands out as an organization committed to helping and uniting the many players involved in improving energy efficiency.

Boy in school giving thumbs up SmartEnergy
April 28, 2016

Michigan Saves collaborates with other organizations to help schools reduce their energy footprint

Imagine you’re the facilities director or a business official for a Michigan school district and someone tells you there is a way to put money back into the general fund, lower maintenance costs, reduce the district’s energy footprint and, most importantly, improve the learning environment for students. Sound too good to be true?

Sue Warren SmartEnergy
April 28, 2016

Meet the board: Sue Warren discusses how Michigan Saves helps her company’s customers

Although facts and figures tell the story of Michigan Saves’ extensive efforts to improve energy efficiency in Michigan, we couldn’t do what we do without the talented and dedicated people who help lead the organization. To that end, we’d like to introduce you—our readers—to the Michigan Saves board members. This edition of Smart Energy features Sue Warren, manager of energy and eco-strategies for the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

Wooden piggy banks SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

Michigan Saves: By the numbers

Since its inception, Michigan Saves has helped thousands of families and business owners take control of their energy costs. Below, you can explore how much business the program has done, and how much energy and money was saved as a result.

Thank You! SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

Thank you from all of us at Michigan Saves

We could not have achieved our success in 2015 without the help of our many partners.

Mary Templeton, executive director for Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

A letter from our executive director

Michigan Saves hit some great milestones in 2015. We rolled out new promotions and buydowns, we chaired the steering committee for the first-ever Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, worked with utility and municipal partners to develop on-bill financing programs, and our loan portfolio crossed the $60 million mark—which means that over 6,000 homes, businesses, and multifamily and public sector properties were able to realize the benefits of energy-efficient upgrades.

Two women reviewing a document SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

On-bill financing increases access to energy efficiency

One of the deciding factors in achieving energy efficiency derives from the ability to afford it, which is why the city of Holland, Michigan, is working with Michigan Saves to develop an on-bill system that will increase access to energy efficiency.

Light blue house SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

Homeowners and contractors benefit from the Home Energy Loan Program

Michigan Saves’ Home Energy Lending Program (HELP) gives homeowners an easy way to increase comfort in their homes, save money on energy bills, and make Michigan a more energy-efficient state. Since 2010, HELP has enabled more than $50 million in capital available to over 5,300 families and achieved major milestones in 2015. Plans for 2016 include expanding the program through offerings like on-bill financing, better internal processes, and continuing its successful Beer & Wings incentive program for contractors.

Amy Zane SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

Business and multifamily programs experience growth; Public sector is next

The focus in 2016 is for the Michigan Saves team to increase awareness of energy-efficiency financing for the public sector, especially schools.

Governor's Energy Excellence Award winners SmartEnergy
January 27, 2016

Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards recognize local individuals and organizations

As your skis slide along the fresh powder, faster and faster as you gain speed down the mountain—turning left then right—energy efficiency may not come to mind. But if you’re enjoying Thompsonville’s Crystal Mountain, it’s certainly has been on the minds of the leadership and staff for the resort and spa attraction. From using wind energy credits to cover the power used by its chairlift to its LEED-certified spa and public electric vehicle charging stations, Crystal Mountain president and CEO Jim MacInnes is taking energy-efficiency matters into his own hands.

Leslie Etterbeek, property manager for LR Management SmartEnergy
September 2, 2015

The French Quarter Apartments get an energy-efficiency facelift

Leslie Etterbeek, property manager for LR Management in Southfield, Michigan, wanted to find a cost-effective way to improve the common areas for one of the multiple properties she oversees. Etterbeek was mainly concerned with the light fixtures — she wanted to save money on the lights and have them look uniform as well.

Eastern Market SmartEnergy
September 2, 2015

The Michigan Clean Energy Reports: A look at clean energy

Communities throughout Michigan are making clean energy efforts, but it’s important to take a closer look at what’s actually being implemented and what types of solutions would lead to better results.

Stack of one hundred dollar bills SmartEnergy
September 2, 2015

Michigan Saves makes energy efficiency affordable through its incentives

By introducing incentive programs, Michigan Saves is able to not only drive demand for energy efficiency across Michigan, but strengthen relationships with its partners.

Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards logo SmartEnergy
September 2, 2015

Celebrating Michigan’s energy leaders: The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards

From weatherizing windows to upgrading commercial refrigeration units, there is a lot of great energy-efficiency work happening in Michigan’s businesses and homes. The trouble is, many people don’t know it.

The Michigan Saves board of directors celebrates $50 million in energy investments SmartEnergy
September 2, 2015

Michigan Saves celebrates $50 million in energy investments

From the western tip of the Upper Peninsula to the eastern coast of Lake Erie, Michigan families and businesses are making smart investments in energy efficiency. So many investments, in fact, that in June, Michigan Saves celebrated a significant milestone: $50 million in energy investments. Put differently, Michigan Saves has made it possible for $50 million to flow into the hands of people wanting to make a difference in their energy consumption.

Governor Rick Snyder SmartEnergy
May 6, 2015

Breaking down Gov. Snyder’s energy plan: What it means for Michiganders

Posters filled with pie charts and graphs lined the room at the Detroit Electrical Industry Training Center in Warren last month as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder stepped in front of a small crowd to deliver his special message, “Ensuring Affordable, Reliable, and Environmentally Protective Energy for Michigan’s Future.”

Laura Palombi SmartEnergy
May 6, 2015

Q&A: Laura Palombi, Michigan Saves’ operations manager

Laura Palombi loves to hear from Michigan Saves customers about energy-efficiency projects that made their home or business look or feel better, or to hear the excitement in their voices when they talk about their lowered energy bills.

The Michigan Saves team out for Beer & Wings with a winning contractor SmartEnergy
May 6, 2015

The results are in for Beer, Wings and Cash

In July 2014, the nonprofit rolled out its Beer, Wings and Cash competition, which ran through December 31, 2015. Any contractor that completed 24 loans or more was eligible for a beer and wings party. The top three contractors with the highest loan values got the payout. As a result of the promotion’s success, the Michigan Saves team plans to host another competition in 2015.

Eli and Ruth Lumpkins SmartEnergy
May 6, 2015

Energy assessment helps couple confirm suspicions and tackle home’s problems

There was something about Eli and Ruth Lumpkins’ Grand Rapids home that felt off. In the winter, it was drafty and the floors were especially cold, while summers turned their house into a sauna. The Lumpkins knew this wasn’t normal. They had heating and cooling already running in their house, but it wasn’t effective and it was costing them too much money.

Kait Wyckoff, program assistant for Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

Michigan Saves embraces customer service

Michigan Saves’ core mission is to make energy improvements easy and affordable. To do that well, the organization must have a razor-sharp focus on providing excellent customer service.

SmartEnergyUncategorized
February 11, 2015

Record growth in business energy financing program

Michigan Saves’ Business Energy Financing Program gained steam in 2014, exceeding our goals with tremendous growth starting in the first quarter. Our success was fueled by a combination of better communication, a new lending partner and a successful utility partnership. Satisfied customers in 2014 included a Detroit grocery store, a suburban Detroit fine wine and […]

A pile of cash SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

Financial innovation: A Q&A with Mary Templeton

In 2009, Michigan Saves launched with a $6.5 million grant from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), which was put into a trust fund. There was an additional $1.6 million awarded to Public Sector Consultants and the Delta Institute under a competitive bid, for the purpose of researching how Michigan Saves should be structured, and for the initial setup and administration of the fund. That work entailed deep stakeholder engagement to figure out how to most effectively break down barriers to energy efficiency.

The Catlett Family SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

There’s no place like home: Residential energy loan program takes off

It was a banner year for Michigan Saves’ Home Energy Loan Program. Since our first loan was issued in fall of 2009, the organization has helped more than 10,000 customers save money, increase the comfort of their homes and become more energy efficient. This feat was accomplished through a slew of innovative programs and partnerships designed to both educate the public and make financing for energy-efficiency improvements simpler and more accessible than ever before.

Stacked and layered numbers SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

Michigan Saves by the numbers

Michigan Saves’ work has a big impact. But just how big? Since its inception, the program has helped 211 businesses and 10,390 homes to save over 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and over 1.8 million therms of natural gas.

Thank You! SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

Thank you to our partners

We could not have achieved our success in 2014 without the help of our many partners.

Mary Templeton, executive director for Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
February 11, 2015

A letter from our Executive Director

We’re all busy people who know that time is a precious commodity. And time went by so quickly in 2014, we thought it wise to take a moment to reflect on the work we’ve all accomplished.

The Broersma family SmartEnergy
September 24, 2014

Local, iconic, and sustainable: Herman Miller’s Team 53 helps design energy-efficient homes

The Broersma family takes efficiency seriously. The global modernist furniture icon, Herman Miller, which is responsible for bringing the world the famed Eames Lounge Chair, is invested in far more than simply sitting in style and comfort. Since 1953, the manufacturing company has made it a mission to be “a good steward of the environment,” as declared by founder D. J. DePree.

Nasser Beydoun SmartEnergy
September 24, 2014

A church and a gas station in Detroit reap the benefits of energy efficiency

An accordion sounded from the front of the gymnasium at the Pilgrim Church and I Am My Brother’s Keeper Ministry on a Thursday evening, live musical accompaniment for one of several free weekly dinners the ministry provides.

Dr. Energy Saver John Haines SmartEnergy
September 24, 2014

Contractor Q&A: Dr. Energy Saver John Haines on his encore career as a Michigan Saves contractor

My second career is working for Dr. Energy Saver, where I’ve been for 4 years. I have an Energy Management Specialist degree from Lansing Community College and a Business Administration degree from Michigan State University. I am certified through Building Performance Institute as a professional building energy analyst. As program manager, I oversee our corporate partnership programs, our school fundraising programs and our community outreach programs.

SmartEnergyUncategorized
September 24, 2014

Michigan Saves offers no-hassle financing plans to help contractors increase sales

Michigan Saves loans allow energy efficiency contractors to turn cost concerns into conversation-starters. Amanda Godward and her staff at Ecointelligent Homes are prepared to find leaks and help homes and businesses save energy and money. Cost is the major concern when considering construction projects. It affects whether a client decides to go ahead with their […]

The McMullen Family SmartEnergy
September 24, 2014

Family makes future dream a present reality

When Steve and Laura McMullen moved their family into their 1950s house in Grand Rapids, they knew windows could be a barrier to a healthy home. The windows of their new house were old and leaky; some of them were even cracked and refused to open. This created as many problems with ventilation of the house as it did for the health and wellbeing of the family themselves.

Mary Templeton, executive director of Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
September 24, 2014

VIDEO: Michigan Saves HELP Program Update

We have an important update for you, our contractors, that will help you grow your business and provide more solutions to families that need to take control of their energy bills. Check out this message from the executive director of Michigan Saves about the progress we are making with your help.

Contractors speaking with a homeowner SmartEnergy
September 23, 2014

SPECIAL REPORT Energy efficiency: It’s all about saving cash, cleaning up carbon, and creating local jobs

Caulk, insulation, efficient appliances, and programmable thermostats may not be the sexiest aspects of Michigan’s energy landscape. But many experts believe it’s these humble energy efficiency measures that will help Michigan bridge the gap between old and new sources of energy, while reducing carbon emissions, saving money, and creating local jobs.

The road to the future of energy savings SmartEnergy
June 20, 2014

A good bet for Michigan homeowners: Saving energy now to save money later

Natural gas prices have been at historic lows over the past couple of years, reaching a trough in 2012. But despite increases in production, that trend is already showing signs of reversing, with 2014 prices firmly higher than 2013 levels. The price of natural gas has been exceptionally volatile in recent weeks, and forecasts expect prices to increases significantly over the long-term. On top of this, the new federal rules on carbon emissions will likely increase demand on natural gas, driving prices up even further.

Avoid Your Energy Drama campaign video SmartEnergy
June 20, 2014

Helping homeowners ‘Avoid Energy Drama’

Energy efficiency and drama aren’t often used together in the same sentence. After all, insulation, air sealing, and furnace upgrades typically aren’t at the center of the plot of the latest hip HBO mini-series. But the truth is, issues and conflicts around energy efficiency and comfort in the home do cause drama in our everyday lives, and the tug-of-wars over thermostats and drafts can cause real tension in the family. Perhaps not the same kind of tension found in the Soprano family, but tension nonetheless.

Mary Templeton speaking at the ACI National Home Performance Conference SmartEnergy
June 20, 2014

ACI Conference gives Michigan Saves a chance to share tips, gain knowledge from peers

The Michigan Saves team made a big impression in several ways at this year’s ACI National Home Performance Conference in Detroit April 29–May 1. First was the big contingent: Executive Director Mary Templeton, Operations Manager Terri Schroeder, Marketing Director Selma Tucker, Business Energy Financing Program Manager Todd O’Grady, and Program Assistant Anna Schroen all were on hand to relate Michigan Saves’ story to colleagues.

Amy Zane SmartEnergy
June 20, 2014

Kalamazoo art studio saves money, gets ‘wow’ effect with LED lights

Amy Zane owns a beautiful jewelry store and art gallery in downtown Kalamazoo, where she showcases and sells art from local artists across the state.

EcoWorks logo SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

UIX: Jacob Corvidae and EcoWorks

There’s a perception that “green living” is a status symbol for Prius-driving, Whole Foods-shopping, yoga-practicing affluent suburbanites. For people further down the socioeconomic scale, things like taking the bus and turning down the heat aren’t discretionary activities undertaken to earn an environmental halo but simple matters of survival.

Hayley Roberts, communications director for the Michigan Suburbs Alliance SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

Can Southgate become an anchor for regional sustainability and affordability?

Teach a person to make a house more energy efficient, and an impact will be made on an energy bill. Teach a person to educate her community about energy efficiency, and the impact will be exponentially greater. That’s the lesson the Michigan Suburbs Alliance learned in their work with energy efficiency programs. And it’s an idea that has shaped a new pilot program that aims to plant seeds of sustainability in individual Metro Detroit neighborhoods then spread into homes throughout the entire region.

Terri Schroeder SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

Q&A: Terri Schroeder, Michigan Saves’ Operations Manager

In her two years as Michigan Saves‘ Operations Manager, Schroeder has grown the program’s residential and commercial loan programs and is now overseeing the launch of new public sector and multifamily housing initiatives. The job requires her to interact with a diverse array of stakeholders, including lenders, public utilities managers, energy contractors, business owners, and the public, to advance Michigan Saves’ much-needed energy efficiency financing programs.

Anna Schroen SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

Building a social media presence from the ground up

Michigan Saves has a 21st century approach to energy use — less is more — so it should be no surprise that our approach to marketing our services is equally modern. Smart Energy asked Michigan Saves’ social media guru, Anna Schroen, to detail our strategies and results.

SmartEnergyUncategorized
April 21, 2014

Energy efficiency brings savings and comfort to Grand Rapids family

When Michael and Kelli Scholten began looking for a new home for their young family, they did what so many do in Michigan: bought an older home. In the Scholtens’ case, it was a 1925 charmer in an established neighborhood in Grand Rapids. With the charm, though, came challenges. “(We) bought a very inefficient house,” […]

Mary Templeton, executive director of Michigan Saves SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

Welcome to Smart Energy

The changes occurring at Michigan Saves these days are as frequent as the shifts in Michigan’s weather. There’s so much big news, so many important advances in the cause of energy efficiency, we decided to create “Smart Energy.” This bimonthly newsletter will keep you current on all that is happening at Michigan Saves, and provide a regular opportunity to learn how we can help you and your community.

The Harrington Apartments on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit SmartEnergy
April 21, 2014

Southwest Housing Solutions tackles multifamily energy efficiency retrofits

Dan Pederson and Southwest Housing Solutions in Detroit are keen on green energy. As a nonprofit committed to neighborhood revitalization, Southwest Housing also is keen to help its tenants stay up with their utility bills.