Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

July 14, 2013

Conserving kilowatts

TRAVERSE CITY — Tom Beatty spends a lot of time thinking about ways to use less energy.

Beatty is a mechanical and electrical engineer at Munson Medical Center and works with a team of employees to maintain 1 million-plus square feet of hospital patient rooms, hallways, and warehouses. The massive expanse of infrastructure has to be maintained pretty much around-the-clock in the form of adequate heating, cooling or lighting, which translates into millions of dollars in energy bills.

It's Beatty's job to help figure out how to cut those costs.

“Lighting is really the biggest one,” Beatty said, and noted the hospital replaced most of its overhead lights as part of a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency.

Nearly 50 miles away in Benzie County, Jim MacInnes, president and co-owner of Crystal Mountain resort, spends considerable time thinking about the same energy concerns. Energy efficiency is a critical component of the ski resort’s business philosophy, he said, for two reasons: conserving kilowatts saves money and it’s also good for the environment.

“Energy savings can range from 10 percent to 20 percent by replacing motors and boilers with higher efficiency units to over 90 percent for projects like (an) LED lighting retrofit," MacInnes said. “These projects free up money for other investments and with their short payback times make good business sense.”

See page D1 in today’s business section for details on how large local commercial properties are saving money through energy conservation.

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