Imagine what we would save if we could garner these savings at every school in the state. Energy Works Michigan estimates we could save over $200 million annually and more than $2 billion over the life of the installed equipment with cost-effective energy improvements. In these difficult economic times, this is money we can save right now — all while creating jobs in every community in Michigan and teaching our next generation the skills to fully engage the economies of the future.
Michigan and the nation have for too long been under continual economic pressure from volatile energy prices beyond our control. It is time we take back control of our most strategic resources — the energy we use to power our homes, schools, offices, factories and other buildings. By starting with K-12 schools, we can achieve the savings and stability inherent in EERE best practices and gain the benefit of teaching Michigan’s next generation to make wise decisions for the rest of their lives — qualitatively transforming our culture to be energy literate and fiscally responsible.
Given our state’s economy, it is important to understand the energy use profile of the state of Michigan. We import 97 percent of our petroleum, 80 percent of our natural gas and 100 percent of our coal and nuclear fuel from other states and countries. Not only are these resources non-renewable, but we are also sending 70 cents of every energy dollar out of the Michigan economy.
Michigan schools spend an estimated $750 million every year on electricity and fuel costs. EERE improvements can reduce schools’ reliance on non-renewable energy sources and relieve economic and environmental pressures. If every school building in Michigan was to reduce its utility costs by 20-30 percent — an easily achievable goal — cumulatively it would save our schools over $200 million annually. This energy savings reduction equates to savings of over $100 per pupil each year, allowing precious education dollars to flow back to the classroom.
Coupling EERE investments in K-12 facilities with energy education creates energy literacy, a solution with lasting impact. Ensuring our population understands the importance of how we generate and consume energy positions our next generation for the technology jobs of the future. Because schools encompass large and diverse groups of stakeholders in our communities, they represent the most efficient opportunity to achieve the critical mass necessary to create transformational change in our energy culture and the economy of Michigan. Our future starts now.
Published in MiBiz 10.3.11
Mission: To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, in a way that improves the quality of life in West Michigan.