Consumers Energy, Contractors Improve Energy Efficiency for Food Banks, Shelters

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PeopleCare_Art2008Consumers Energy and several mechanical contractors have made the holidays a little brighter for 10 Michigan-based food banks and homeless shelters.

As part of its Warm Hands and Hearts initiative, Consumers Energy identified 10 food banks and homeless shelters in Kalamazoo, Jackson, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw and Southfield and worked with local contractors to install new energy efficient equipment in their facilities. 

The program provided energy efficiency equipment and labor worth more than $290,000 to these organizations, helping them save more than $31,000 annually on their natural gas costs.  These savings equate to being able to purchase 150,000 pounds of food to make and serve an additional 125,000 meals every year. To learn more about energy efficiency rebates and incentives for Michigan homes or businesses, visit

“Winter months are difficult for local food banks, homeless shelters and their clients.  With cold weather arriving, clients require a hot meal just to help them survive.  Reducing utility costs means that more of the limited funds available to these organizations can be used for food and shelter,” said Fred Alatalo, director for Consumers Energy’s business energy efficiency operations program, which coordinated the initiative.  “We are grateful to have an opportunity to provide them with new energy efficient equipment that will help them for years to come.”

Working with local contractors, Consumers Energy facilitated the installation of new energy efficient boilers, high-efficiency furnaces, on-demand water heaters and energy management systems along with other energy saving devices in the organizations buildings. 

Local contractors supplied labor and materials at a reduced cost for this initiative. Contractors participating included Hayes Mechanical (Saginaw), Lauderbaugh Plumbing and Heating (Flint), Midwest Energy Group (Kalamazoo), and Lyon Mechanical (New Hudson).

“We were delighted to receive the new water heater, furnace tune-ups, thermostats and other upgrades,” said Keith Krusky, executive director of the Jackson Interfaith Shelter.  “The cost savings will allow us to serve approximately 5,000 prepared meals to the poor and needy of Jackson County.”

“The furnace and radiant heat units that have been installed have made an enormous difference on the environment in which we serve,” said Rik Stone, executive director of the Kalamazoo Dream Center.  “We are not only able to serve the needy from a more comfortable facility, but it gives us great satisfaction to know that our energy dollars are being used wisely.”

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