Megan Susterich or Jeremy Bakken
Michigan Companies Cut Energy Usage Through
Second Annual Battle of the Buildings Competition
Grand Rapids, Mich. Jan. 8, 2015 – Registration is officially open for Michigan commercial and industrial buildings of all sizes interested in joining the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan (USGBCWM) second annual Battle of the Buildings competition. The statewide competition is an expansion of the Battle of the Buildings that started in West Michigan last year.
Battle of the Buildings is an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction. The competition is a way to encourage energy-efficient practices in buildings across the state of Michigan and to instill a spirit of friendly competition among the area’s building owners and operators. Steelcase, Western Michigan University and Nichols have already committed for the 2015 competition totaling over 3,000,000 sq. feet.
“I would like to thank the Michigan Battle of the Buildings Program for taking steps to reduce energy waste in our state,” said Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder. “By working together, we can make Michigan’s energy resources more adaptable, reliable and affordable while preserving our environment for upcoming generations.”
Participants will measure, track and report their monthly energy consumption using Portfolio Manager, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) online energy tracking tool. To cut energy waste, participants will engage in a variety of energy-saving activities such as making improvements to the building, optimizing operations and maintenance, and engaging occupants to save.
The buildings that demonstrate the greatest percentage‐based reduction in EUI (energy use intensity) during the competition will be recognized at the 2016 energy summit. This summit will include national speakers, panel discussions of participants, exhibitor booths and an awards ceremony.
In 2014, a total building sq. footage of 11.4 million competed, equaling 198 football fields. In 2015, the USGBCWM partnered with USGBC Detroit Regional Chapter, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy with plans to more than double last year’s participation. Those companies that register by the deadline of March 31, 2015 will be able to attend a variety of workshops to learn more from local and national energy leaders, the latest technologies to save energy and money and network with others.
For information on how to enter, building registration or to become a Battle partner visit www.michiganbattleofthebuildings.org.
About U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is a coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. The West Michigan Chapter provides and develops leadership through affiliations and education at all levels. Where we live, learn & labor matters. For more information, find them on Facebook at facebook.com/USGBCWMChapter, and Twitter at twitter.com/usgbcwm or visit usgbcwm.org or call 616.691.1243.
There’s nothing like a cold beer to celebrate energy savings. Or at least that’s what the Battle of the Buildings competitors, supporters and friends discovered earlier this month when they attended the Beer Charge. A big thank you to one of the competition’s title sponsors, Consumers Energy for hosting this event and to Brewery Vivant for the providing the space in their newly renovated Walloon Room.
Along with networking over a local brew and hard cider, Erin Wilson from Wealthy Theatre shared his hopes of becoming the first theatre in the country with all LED lighting. Brooks Twist from Brewery Vivant shared that the Battle of the Buildings competition taught him how to benchmark his facility. “Now we know where we started and we can easily track energy changes within the building over time”.
We couldn’t help but notice that the brewery proudly displays their LEED certification plaque in the window and boast that they are the First LEED certified micro brewery in the nation.
A big thank you to all who made it out!
Rebecca Holman, Communication Intern
USGBC West Michigan
When asked their reason for joining The Battle of The Buildings, Environmental Services Manager at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant, Mike Lunn simply chuckled and said, “To win”. When asked how, I was surprised at how excited he was to share their plans. Past, present, and future projects are brewing at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant. Earlier this year, Mike was asked to present at the annual Michigan Water Environment Conference in Boyne, MI where he shared the great things that are happening at the Grand Rapids plant. In September, Mike plans to speak at the national conference where he will be sharing the success of his projects to wastewater professionals from around the world. “We don’t tell people what we do, we’re good at doing things here”, said Mike when talking about the environmental department where he has been employed for the last 17 years.
Saving energy and being progressive is nothing new to these Battle of the Building competitors. With the competition peaking the halfway mark, Mike is confident that the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant has and will continue to set a great example of how energy conservation and improved operations can go hand in hand.
Below are just a few of the recent projects at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant:
Beyond WasteWater Treatment:
The Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant provides tours and education to groups, schools and individuals. To schedule a tour, call 616-456-3625. If you decide you want to apply for a position at the plant, Mike has left us with a bit of advice, “There are three important things to remember when working here; scum floats, sludge sinks and payday is every other Tuesday.”
Rebecca Holman, Communication Intern
USGBC West Michigan
Two West Michigan residences and businesses have opted to install solar energy under the MI Solar Works program which breaks down cost barriers through zero up front cost financing that is paid back in energy generation sales. Renae Hesselink is the first in West Michigan homeowner to sign up for the program and just completed her panel install Monday May 19th. Renae served as the past Chair of the US Green Building Council West Michigan (USGBCWM) and is a local sustainability leader. “Solar PV will have a return on investment of 12 years, increase my home value and allow me to take part in the sustainability movement to get away from fossil fuels”. Renae currently is the Vice President of Sustainability at Nichols in Muskegon and is exploring this application for their corporate headquarters and distribution centers.
Tami VandenBerg, co owner of the Pyramid Scheme and Meanwhile Bar is thrilled to announce the addition of Solar to both these businesses and her own home. ‘It is very important to me to do whatever I can to move toward renewable energy sources like solar. When I look at the armed conflicts in the world around fossil fuels, it motivates me to act. When I see the devastation of the regular oil spills on plants and animals and water sources, I want to act. One thing I can do is decrease my personal demand and my businesses demand for energy sources that wreak havoc on our environment” MI Solar works and AES talking with many more homeowner’s and companies who want to reduce carbon emissions and save money.
Interested residents and business owners can learn more at the AES and MI Solar Works website at www.alliancees.org.
Brett Little, LEED APH, GreenStar Professional & LFA
Executive Director, Alliance for Environmental Sustainability (AES)
On March 13, 2014 Steelcase announced it was increasing its purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to the equivalent of 100% of our global electricity consumption. This investment in renewable energy makes Steelcase the 15th largest renewable energy purchaser in the United States according to the US EPA Green Power Partnership. Steelcase was a founding member of the Green Power Partnership in 2001 when they purchased renewable energy equivalent to 100% of the electricity needs of our Global Headquarters building. The current renewable energy investment comes from 100% non-emitting sources (e.g. no landfill gas or burning biomass). In an effort to expand positive impact, Steelcase has created a one-of-a kind program that will enable our supplies to purchase renewable energy credits from these same clean sources at the same volume discount pricing Steelcase is paying. Learn more here.
Steelcase has been a champion of LEED with their Wood Furniture Manufacturing Plant being the first factory in the world to be LEED certified. Steelcases Work Labortory in Grand Rapids is LEED Platinum and the Leadership Space in the Headquarters is also LEED certified. Showroom spaces in Chicago, DC, and a business center in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia are also LEED certified. The University Staff Space and Innovation Center are in the LEED credentialing process.
Andrea Marz, Executive Director, USGBC WM
On April 18, the USGBC West Michigan hosted Dr. Heun for his presentation on Green Revolving Funds at Clark Retirement Community to over 50 attendees. This event was a part of the Battle of the Buildings monthly education program. Battle of the Buildings is an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction in the West Michigan area commercial & industrial buildings. Learn more here.
Mike Ignatoski, Director, Capital Projects and Facilities at Clark Retirement Community (a Battle of the Buildings participant) kicked off the program by sharing Clark’s recent energy efficiency project that included new a web based building management system, demand control ventilation strategies, air handler and pump adjustable speed drives, pipe insulation and a new energy efficient chiller. The project saves $131,000/year in energy costs. Ignatoski stressed the importance of forming a Green Team as well as engaging residents and staff at the ground level. Without their help these project would not have been as successful or embraced by the organization as a whole.
Dr. Matthew Kuperus Heun, Engineering Department, Calvin College followed with a presentation on Green Revolving Funds and they have been utilized at Calvin College. Dr. Heun explained the goal of a Green Revolving Fund is to take the savings from energy or other sustainability related projects and roll the savings back into a fund to finance the next energy or sustainability related project. He believes that behavior changes occur when we can demonstrate not only the environmental benefits but also the financial benefits of energy conservation. Dr. Heun shared Calvin’s Energy Recovery Fund (CERF) that is currently being used to internally finance campus energy projects. Students are involved in project analysis, providing opportunity for supplemental learning in energy stewardship and fiscal responsibility. Projects have included T12 fluorescent lighting retrofit, shower head replacement, and LED lighting retrofit at Calvin’s indoor tennis facility. To date, the program has saved $54,000 in energy costs.
Mark Zoeteman, PE, CEM, HBDP, LEED AP O+M, TREASURER
Senior Mechanical Engineer, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc.