Battle of the Buildings names winners


Sunset Retirement Communities & Services team members pose for a shot with the award: Sue Hamm, left, executive director, The Manor & Villages; Chris Matzke, VP, COO; Steve Zuiderveen, president, CEO; and Rod Cotts, Director of Maintenance. Courtesy Sunset

A local retirement community has been named West Michigan's “biggest loser” for its energy savings.

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan honored Sunset Retirement Communities & Services with a Biggest Loser award in the Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The Battle of the Buildings ceremony was held during the fifth-annual Michigan Energy Summit last month at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

Sunset earned first place in the “other” category by reducing its energy and water usage by 25% — which is the highest percentage in the region.

In 2018, Sunset invested about $900,000 in upgraded heating and cooling systems and upgraded all 260 windows to energy-efficient models and made several other building updates at The Manor & Villages community.

“With many of our HVAC and water systems dating back decades, we knew we had an opportunity to significantly reduce our energy usage, while maintaining the high-quality comfort our residents are accustomed to,” said Steve Zuiderveen, president and CEO, Sunset Retirement Communities & Services.

Sunset worked with Hurst Mechanical to install energy-efficient chillers and boilers, smart system modulating pumps and a Tridium temperature control system.

Despite 2018 being 7% colder than 2017, based on National Weather Service data, the energy-efficient upgrades allowed Sunset to substantially cut its energy usage.

“Deep reductions like this are a great example of what can be accomplished when you take a deliberate approach to energy-efficient operations,” said Cheri Holman, executive director, U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan.

“Dollars saved on energy conservation will filter straight to the company’s bottom line.”

Last year, the competitors saved $7.6 million in utility costs.

The Michigan Battle of the Buildings has been a program of the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan since 2014. 

Sunset Retirement Communities & Services is a Christian nonprofit with communities in Jenison and Grandville.

Other first-place Biggest Losers

Monroe County Community College, 15% reduction: education category

SMG/Van Andel Arena, 12% reduction – entertainment category

Fifth Third Bank Belleville Banking Center, 19% reduction – finance category

Spectrum Health 330 Barclay building, 9% reduction – health and hospitality category

Autodie, 9% reduction – manufacturing category

IBEW Local 58 Zero Net Energy Center, 21% reduction – office category

Sears 1460 Livonia, 9% reduction – retail category

General Motors CCA Flint IE Lab, 23% reduction – warehousing and distribution category

University of Michigan Carl A. Gerstacker Building, 53% reduction – water category

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