West Michigan organizations win statewide Energy Excellence awards


Heritage Hall. Courtesy WMU

A pair of organizations in the region have been named winners in a statewide awards program that celebrates energy innovation.

Governor Rick Snyder announced last month the winners of the 2016 Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards at an invite-only ceremony in East Lansing.

Eight individuals and organizations from across Michigan were recognized for their “extraordinary efforts” to reduce energy waste, including two from West Michigan.

A number of other West Michigan organizations and individuals were finalists for the Governor's Energy Excellence Awards.

Snyder said reducing energy waste is critically important to Michigan’s energy policy.

“I encourage all Michiganders to take the necessary steps to be more energy efficient,” Snyder said.


Western Michigan University was the recipient of the Best Commercial Project (Public) award and Habitat for Humanity of Kent County in Grand Rapids received the award for Best Communication or Education Program.

WMU’s project involved the renovation of Heritage Hall.

Constructed in 1905, the building was considered an “energy hog,” and WMU set out to transform it into a LEED Platinum building.

The renovation project featured several elements: the installation of ground source heat pumps that will cut energy consumption in half; water-efficient plumbing fixtures, faucets and flush valves to reduce potable water and sewage usage by 33 percent; and an HVAC and lighting system designed to lower energy consumption significantly.

WMU expects the changes to prevent the equivalent of 124.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County earned the award for its efforts to teach high school students from Grand Rapids Public Schools how to build LEED-certified homes, as well as its partnership with Grand Rapids Community College to run LEED-certified programs on home construction, green remodeling and sustainable residential design.

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County said its houses save owners about $133 per year on gas and $98 per year on electricity.

Governor’s Energy Excellence Award winners

Best Commercial Project (Private)

Odawa Casino Resort, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Petoskey

Best Commercial Project (Public)

Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

Best Residential Project

Michael Eick, Clinton Township

Best Industrial/Manufacturing Project

Cargill, Cargill Salt, St. Clair

Best Agriculture Project

Weiss Centennial Farms, Frankenmuth

Contractor of the Year

Oscar W. Larson Company, Clarkston

Best Communication or Education Program

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County, Grand Rapids

Innovator of the Year

Dennis Schultz, Terra Caloric, Alpena

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