Smart Energy Policies at the Local Level

Michigan’s efforts to build a more sustainable energy future have been steadily improving at all levels, something that is drawing more and more attention nationwide. Triple Pundit, a national new-media company which, like AMP, believes the economy, environment, and society are inseparably related, recently posted a two-part series focused on how Michigan cities are adopting sustainable energy efficiency platforms to recover from the economic downturn.

“Michigan organizations interested in advancing a joint energy agenda would be best served in joining efforts to try and influence decision makers and policies at the state level,” the piece notes. Read the first and second posts in the series. We’ve summarized some of the highlights below.

Grand Rapids

The city began raising awareness of sustainability issues with its own operations by:

The team developed a sustainable energy plan and reports that electricity usage in city facilities dropped 5 percent from FY2009 to FY2013. The city saves $300,000 annually from energy cost avoidance and grants, rebates, and one-time investments saved another $250,000.

Holland & Ann Arbor

The second post in the series takes a look at how these two cities have developed comprehensive strategies for optimizing their energy use and strengthening their energy futures.

The Holland city planner claims local efforts have covered all of “the low-hanging fruit” of energy efficiency projects. In line with its baseline and long-term energy scenarios, the city is investing in additional projects, including a combined cycle natural gas power generating facility.

Meanwhile, Ann Arbor is focused on accountability and transparency in its government, leveraging strong outreach and education programs that promote energy optimization and investment in renewable energy to residents and businesses. One other effort that distinguishes Ann Arbor’s strategy is the financing of energy improvements in commercial buildings using Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) districts.

A “Ripple Effect”

Triple Pundit concludes its series by noting that these are just a few examples of local governments making a difference, and that such actions not only save the cities money, but have a ripple effect on their communities and organizations, demonstrating the powerful connection between the economy and sustainable energy strategies.