Michigan Land Use Institute

Clean Energy / News & Views / Traverse City Can Be A Leader

Traverse City Can Be A Leader

Community energy efficiency offers rich rewards

Efficiency First | September 26, 2013 | By Jim Dulzo

Recent Posts

Rep. Nesbitt: Save, Don’t Sink, MI's Clean Energy Progress!

Clean Energy | April 30, 2015 | By Jim Dulzo

MLUI just wrote to state Rep. Aric Nesbitt and the House Committee on Energy Policy, urging them to expand, not eliminate, Michigan’s fabulously successful renewable energy and energy optimization standards. Could you read our letter and then email your own note to Rep Nesbitt’s committee in the next few days? ...

Guest View: Shared Heat Can Warm MI’s Energy Policy

Clean Energy | April 7, 2015 | By Jamie Scripps

Power plants waste a lot of energy—most of it as heat fleeing up their smokestacks. But what if the plants captured that wasted heat and put it to good use—producing more electricity, warming nearby buildings, or assisting industrial processes?...

Time for Lansing to Catch, Not Ignore, the New-Tech Energy Wave

Clean Energy | March 26, 2015 | By Skip Pruss, of 5 Lakes Energy, and Jim Dulzo

We’ll always need a rock-solid, unshakably constant supply of power. But today there are other ways to do that besides merely burning more fossil fuel.
New distributed energy technologies, new grid control systems, and new demand-side energy services should be part of what has been an under-informed, truncated conversation about meeting Michigan’s future electricity needs....

Community members and future residents break ground on new, energy-efficient affordable housing in Traverse City.  

TCSaves showed that a well done, public-private, residential energy efficiency program can reach many homeowners, make them more comfortable and lower their utility bills, produce good-paying jobs, keep more cash in the local economy, increase home values, and make financial sense.

With more than 550 TCSaves participants feeling cozier at home and reassured about their energy costs—and with some local businesses boosting profits thanks to their own, locally financed efficiency investments—Traverse City has proven itself an “efficiency ready” community. It now has enough happy homeowners, smart businesspeople, skilled efficiency entrepreneurs, and forward-thinking officials to crystallize support for a communitywide energy efficiency project that enables most of the region’s homeowners and businesses to reap efficiency’s rich rewards.

So it’s time to take the next step: combining modest, local-government action with significant private investment and employment to make the region a paragon of sustainable economic growth. Traverse City Light & Power agrees: In partnership with MLUI and SEEDS, it is launching another phase of TCSaves, available to all homeowners the utility serves, in early October. And, more broadly, the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, in concert with The Grand Vision’s Energy Network, will release its Framework for the Future, looking at community approaches to energy efficiency throughout the entire region. Clearly, northern Michigan is beginning to plug into the power of energy efficiency.

With some leadership from local civic, business, government, and utility leaders we can design and implement a program that allows participants to cut their energy use by at least 25 percent over 15 years—without making individual, upfront investments. Our 2012 study, Energy Efficiency and Economic Opportunity in Grand Traverse County, indicates that reaching all homeowner and half of the city’s businesses and institutions would annually employ about 76 people and, over 30 years, save $212 million on local energy bills while also entirely paying for itself.

Of course, launching such an endeavor will require creative thinking and doing. But its rich rewards—and the model it would provide to the rest of the state—make communitywide energy efficiency an idea whose time has come.


No Comments

Search Archives

Michigan Land Use Institute

148 E. Front Street, Suite 301
Traverse City, MI 49684-5725
p (231) 941-6584 
e comments@mlui.org