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Contractors, Officials Discuss “All Things Green” At Macomb Chamber Event

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WARREN — Around 100 contractors, fleet managers, municipal officials and others gathered Thursday at the Electrical Industry Training Center in Warren for “All Things Green,” a green technologies conference sponsored by the Macomb County Chamber.

They heard practical information on how to make buildings more energy efficient, how to save money on heating and cooling systems, how to save energy by using electric and hybrid vehicles and fleets, and more.

And two dozen exhibitors also showed off energy-saving technologies, including Chevy Volts and other electric cars.

The EITC was as usual a spectaular venue for the event. The 50,000-square-foot building, operated by the National Electrical Contractors Association Southeast Michigan chapter and Local 58 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, is a university of electric technologies, featuring classrooms, meeting rooms, an 18-kilowatt solar array, a wind turbine and electric vehicle charging stations.

“We train the world’s best electricians here,” said Jennifer Mefford, chairwoman of the conference.

Al Fields of Eco-Green Energy opened the event by providing a general overview of energy management, which is described as “simply taking control of energy use — managing lighting, heating, air conditioning, using automatic controls to shed load. But you have to have a plan, take it seriously.”

Lighting and heating are more than half the heating budget of buildings, so start there, Fields said.

Speaker Lawrence Muhammad of heat pump company Geo NetZero described how heat pumps work in residenial and commercial setting. And Brian Becker and Barry Croteau with General Motors Real Estate described how the auto giant saved millions by adopting energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

In another panel, Matt Sandstrom, director of the Clean Cities Coalition in Ann Arbor, went over the various Clean cities programs, while Michael McGarry, alternative energy fleet sales manager for General Motors, and Ron Melchert, director of public services for the city of Auburn Hills, tlaked over the various alternative fuel vehicles available for fleet use, from plug-in hybrids to those powered by compressed natural gas.

Later, Melanie McCoy, general manager of Wyandotte Municipal Services, described the city’s experience with urban geothermal power.

Speakers said GM now uses 26 percent less carbon emissions betwen 2005 and 2010, 28 pecent less energy use globally between 2005 and 2010, enough to power 1.3 million homes. And it has the world’s largest solar installation in Spain.

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