Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 2, 2013

Chamber energy program gains national attention

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Mr. Luciani is going to Washington.

Doug Luciani, head of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, will travel to Washington, D.C. on Thursday to speak to some of the nation’s top energy officials about the northern Michigan business community’s aggressive pursuit of energy efficiency measures.

Luciani said he’s told the meeting will happen even if the federal government remains shuttered by a budget stalemate.

“It’s really an honor,” Luciani said. “This will be my first annual meeting with White House policy people in the White House.”

The primary topic of conversation will be the chamber’s Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund, which is receiving national recognition among business leaders. The program was established in 2012 and has made seven loans totaling $175,000 to commercial businesses and manufacturers. The loans feature an interest rate of 3 percent or less and companies using the program have reduced their utility bills by $53,000 a year and saved more than 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

The chamber is partnering with Traverse City Light & Power to offer a loan bank of up to $200,000 for area energy efficiency projects.

“We saw a need to have an impact on the region’s energy use and to do something for our members,” Luciani said.

President Barack Obama will not be in attendance, but members of his cabinet and officials with the Department of Energy will be present.

The Record-Eagle reported in July that major businesses and industry throughout northern Michigan increasingly are pursuing cost savings through energy efficiency. Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa in Thompsonville estimates it cut its energy bill by 50 percent by implementing energy efficiency measures, including installation of LED lighting and reducing usage at peak times.

The Michigan Land Use Institute issued a report this week called The Power of Energy Efficiency that documented multiple different energy efficiency projects in the region, include Michigan Saves. The program helps Traverse City homeowners perform energy efficiency projects on their residences by using low-interest loans.