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US: Michigan Farm Energy Audit Program – auditor training

Audits performed by auditors certified by the Michigan Farm Energy Audit Program have increased the number of approved on-farm energy efficiency projects in Michigan.

The motivation behind the Michigan Farm Energy Program was the previous extremely low number of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) energy efficiency projects approved in the state. At the time, Michigan had an abysmal ranking, and was tied last in the nation for energy efficient projects from 2003 to 2005 and eventually climbed to 46th in 2009. In comparison, other Midwest states like Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin were always ranked in the top five. Every year, millions of energy efficiency dollars flowed to those states. 

To make things worse, there were no certified farm energy auditors readily available in Michigan, which meant type 2 energy audits that follow the recommended standards established by ASABE/ANSI S612 as required by USDA were very expensive. In 2002, five audits performed for Michigan greenhouses cost $10,000 each. Today, a type 2 energy audit conducted by certified auditors under the program cost about $2,500. The program has worked with partners to subsidize the audit cost to agricultural operation, which now averages between $0 to $1,000 depending on the size, complexity and utility/program incentives.


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