Energy Star, GM Share Energy Saving Trends

STERLING HEIGHTS — Nearly 100 building operators, corporate energy managers and manufacturing managers gathered Tuesday at the General Motors Heritage Center to hear the latest in energy saving trends from Energy Star.

The EPA’s Energy Star program offers more than just certification of appliances — it offers tools and resources to help industry create, motivate and reinforce energy efficiency programs for business.

The purpose of the event was to boost efficiency in industry with partnerships and resources and show attendees the experts that are available in Michigan to help a company save energy and resources.

Energy Star offers industrial focus groups, including one for automotive, that identify energy efficiency opportunities, offer Energy Performance Indicators to benchmark performance of plants in the sector, and promote sharing of best practices and networking.

Al Hildreth, GM company energy manager, says GM has integrated energy management into its business plan — a $1 billion annual energy budget. The company has saved $90 million a year in its energy spend under the program.

Hildreth showed attendees tthe realtime dahsboard GM uses to monitor HVAC operations at all locations. It drills down to individual fans and heating units, allowing them to be replaced quickly when they fail.

Other presenters from DTE Energy and Consumers Energy detailed their energy efficiency incentive programs.

Saginaw’s Nexteer Automotive installed variable frequency drives on 97 heating, cooling and ventilation motors in the plant that saved more than $550,000 a year in energy costs, earning the company a $244,000 energy rebate.

GLITR Editor Matt Roush delivered the event’s opening keynote, a review of green energy entrepreneurship around Michigan.

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