Understanding Net Zero: Michigan Businesses and Industries Chart their Own Path
Michigan businesses and industries are leaders in working toward net zero. When it comes to clean energy jobs, our state is among the top five in the nation — with 316 companies engaged in the clean energy industry supply chain and over 85,000 jobs in energy efficiency alone.
Building toward Net Zero
Michigan’s architectural companies and building industries are ahead of the curve in creating net zero energy buildings, which is especially important since buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are some quick examples of what local builders, architectural firms, and even furniture makers are doing to build up Michigan’s net zero potential:
- Some are retrofitting older structures with new insulation, LED lighting, geothermal heating and cooling, and solar panels, including a 120-year-old Victorian home in Ann Arbor.
- Michigan-based home and office furniture maker Herman Miller plans to achieve 100% renewable electricity for all of their facilities worldwide by midcentury.
- Michigan Saves, the nation’s first green bank, is having explosive demand for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement projects in homes and commercial buildings across the state.
Taking Net Zero into the Fast Lane
As the nation’s electric vehicle (EV) hub, Michigan’s Big Three auto companies are revolutionizing EV production from the ground-up.
- Fiat Chrysler is building hybrid and electric-powered Jeep models at its new $4.5 billion assembly plant.
- General Motors—which also plans to achieve 100% renewable electricity at all its facilities by midcentury—invested $300 million in an assembly plant in suburban Detroit to build a new Chevrolet electric vehicle.
- Ford, which invested $850 million to make its Flat Rock assembly plant the home of its EV production, also added $500 million to Amazon’s $700 million investment in Rivian, a start-up just outside Detroit that’s building electric pickups and RVs.
We All Reap the Rewards of Net Zero
Our agriculture industry is on the forefront of energy-efficiency as well. Michigan farms are working to help lower emissions by:
- Using advancements like low or zero-energy livestock waterers, high-efficiency grain dryers, heat curtains, and LED grow lights.
- Adding wind turbines and solar panels to create universal renewable energy that benefits entire communities.
From restaurants to factories, Michigan’s commercial enterprises are chipping in to do their part to lower emissions by:
- Taking advantage of free energy consultations to reduce energy waste.
- Replacing traditional lighting with energy-efficient LEDs.
- Upgrading to energy-efficient equipment and appliances.
- Identifying and fixing air leaks.
- Turning off equipment at night.
- Planting trees to block wind and provide shade.
- Getting their employees and entire communities involved.
As a result of these and other efforts, local businesses are saving energy and reducing costs—all while helping protect Michigan, as well as our planet, from the impacts of climate change. Ultimately, the conversation about net zero should involve us all. Michigan businesses—of all sizes and across all economic sectors—have an important role to play in securing a stronger, more sustainable, and cleaner energy future for all Michiganders.