These incentive payments are available as “rebates that will permanently show a reduction in electrical or gas energy usage for the business.” Example rebates for greenhouses include:
- Upgrading lighting (work area lighting in offices, break rooms, etc.).
- Improving heating boilers (higher efficiency, including “low mass boilers”).
- Improving forced air furnaces (higher efficiency).
- Upgrading motors to variable frequency drives.
- Improving coolers.
- Installing energy curtains.
- Installing IR greenhouse poly film.
- Improving water heaters with tank-less units.
- Installing Vending Miser on vending machines.
- Completing an energy audit for the business by an MSU-approved agricultural energy auditor.
There are rules specific to each utility company that you must follow, but growers who have already participated indicate that the rules and application forms are not complicated and the money rebated back to them is worth the time spent.
Over 21 energy audits done by Michigan greenhouses in the past three years show that if they implemented all the suggestions they would reduce electrical energy consumption by 39 percent for a savings of over three-quarters of a million dollars a year. Most utilities will mail you a rebate check within six to eight weeks after receipt of a final application. Remember that projects must result in an improvement in energy efficiency to qualify.
Below is a list of websites with more details. They are listed by utility providers.
- Consumers Energy’s Energy Efficiency program
- DTE’s program
- Efficiency United handles agricultural energy incentives programs by Michigan Gas Utilities, SEMCO, Cloverland, Daggett, Indiana-Michigan Power, Alpena Power, UPPCO and Xcel Energy as well as a few other local suppliers.
For more information on greenhouse energy-related issues, contact MSU greenhouse floriculture educators Kristin Getter at firstname.lastname@example.org, Heidi Wollaeger at email@example.com, or Thomas Dudek at firstname.lastname@example.org.