By the end of this year, more than $31 million in incentives will be distributed by Consumers Energy to business customers for energy efficiency projects. The incentives are offered under the Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act of 2008.
Swartz Creek Community Schools was the first to receive an incentive check in September 2009 for $2,137 to support energy efficiency measures to control lighting. Chad Sexton, director of operations at Swartz Creek Schools, initiated the project in early 2009 as part of an ongoing program to reduce energy use at the schools.
“At Gaines Elementary School, we installed 22 occupancy sensors to control lighting in 16 classrooms, four offices and two lunch areas,” Sexton said. “By using sensors to turn off the lights when no one is in the rooms we estimate our annual electric savings to be over $2,300 at just this one school.”
Since receiving its first incentive from Consumers Energy, Swartz Creek Community Schools has received a total of $28,146.32 in energy efficiency incentives. When asked how he felt about being one of the leaders in the state for initiating energy change in his school district, Sexton said, “I knew budgets were shrinking quickly and anything I could do to help put money back into the general fund to help save jobs and better educate our students is what our team was hoping to accomplish.”
Incentive funds have supported a wide range of energy-saving capital improvement projects, including an energy project at Swartz Creek Middle School that reduced the school’s natural gas use by 41 percent and its electric use by more than 25 percent.
Our energy efficiency incentives have served as a catalyst for the initiatives of the Swartz Creek School District’s Building and Site Committee, whose members prioritize major capital improvement projects according to need and highest energy savings. All of the district’s schools also have received certification as Michigan Green Schools thanks to a multitude of environmental initiatives.