County Officials, Labor and Environmental Leaders Highlight Benefits of Energy Efficiency Investments

Genesee County Commissioners Jamie W. Curtis and Michael Lynch today joined local labor and environmental leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance to highlight the benefits the county is seeing from investments made in energy efficiency in its buildings.

May 20, 2016

FLINT, MI (May 20, 2016) – Genesee County Commissioners Jamie W. Curtis and Michael Lynch today joined local labor and environmental leaders from the BlueGreen Alliance to highlight the benefits the county is seeing from investments made in energy efficiency in its buildings. In 2010, Genesee County entered into a contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. to upgrade facilities as part of a performance contract. The agreement stated that the benefits during the five-year term of this Agreement would be over $3.9 million. The five-year agreement has been a resounding success.

“Making our public buildings more energy efficient is something we can do right now to create jobs and reduce pollution,” said Chairperson of the Genesee County Board of Commissioners Jamie W. Curtis (District 3). “Through our performance contract with Johnson Controls, we’ve shown that this work can have tremendous benefits.”

“The performance contract with Johnson Controls illustrates the value that energy and water efficiency can deliver to our citizens,” said Genesee County Commissioner Michael Lynch (District 7). “Energy costs make up about 10 percent of the average municipalities budget. Every dollar that we help reduce energy expenditures is one more dollar for the county’s core needs.”

Through this partnership, between November 2014 and October 2015, the upgrades have saved over $780,000—more than $22,000 over the guaranteed cost avoidance that was expected in the third year of the agreement.

The leaders also released a report that includes a series of policy recommendations for local and state officials to utilize to spur job growth and reduce pollution by investing in energy efficiency in Municipal, University, School, and Health Care buildings. The report found that reducing energy use in Michigan public buildings and schools by 20 percent by 2030 would create or sustain 24,000 quality full-time jobs and reduce energy use by 56,000 gigawatt hours over the life of the equipment.

“There is a great opportunity to both create and maintain good jobs with family-sustaining wages and reduce carbon emissions driving climate change in the Municipal, University, School, and Health Care sector,” said United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA) Local 370 Business Manager Harold Harrington.

“SMART members are also ready to do the needed work to reduce energy use in our public buildings, schools and health care facilities by replacing outdated HVAC systems, integrating new controls, repairing and replacing ducts, adding insulation, and the many other ways we can reduce waste,” Sheet Metal Air Rail and Transportation (SMART) Local 7 Business Manager Jake Denman.

Repairing and updating homes and buildings can have a tremendous impact—reducing energy waste and creating jobs. A report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) found that 2.5 million people are working in the clean economy. More than 1.8 million of those jobs are in the energy efficiency sector. And, schools in particular in Michigan are in dire need of efficiency improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers found that Michigan’s schools have about $8.9 billion of need.

“An aggressive program to reduce energy use in Michigan’s schools and health care facilities would also create good jobs with family supporting wages and benefits,” said Angela Guyadeen, deputy director, Safe Water Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Reducing our energy and water use is the right thing to do to ensure a strong economic foundation and a clean environment for future generations here in Michigan.”

“Making our public buildings more energy efficient is just a common sense idea,” said Sue Browne, Michigan regional program manager for the BlueGreen Alliance. “And it’s one that will grow good jobs and reduce pollution. This is work that needs to be done anyway, so let’s find ways to do it now and do it the right way with skilled, trained workers.”