Clean Energy Coalition Program Supervisor, Heather Seyfarth, is joining Transportation for Michigan’s (Trans4M) 2013 Transportation Odyssey. The Odyssey is a trip from one end of Michigan to the other using passenger transportation – train, bus, and bike to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of Michigan’s passenger transportation system. “Connecting the journey using the various transportation options may present the biggest challenge.” Heather said. “I am interested to see how well it all coordinates given our time constraints.”
This is Trans4M’s third Odyssey. This year the group will be celebrating groundbreaking transportation events of 2012 and 2013. Along the way, two Odyssey goers will also examine the travel experience of persons who have disabilities by assessing the accessibility of the various transit modes for those in wheelchairs.
On Friday, the 27th, the group will be stopping in Ann Arbor and recognize Ann Arbor’s developing Bike Share program. The entire itinerary is here if you wish to join travelers at any of the stops. You can also virtually travel with the group by following travelers on Facebook and Twitter.
The Michigan Fuel Forward team brought its message to Lansing in an effort to educate lawmakers on the benefits of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles. The September 17th event was in response to the feedback we received from our Michigan Fuel Forward project partners regarding the need for legislators to be more attentive to the needs of the alternative fuels industry in Michigan.
The event was kicked off by Michigan state Representative Jim Townsend and Michigan Environmental Council president Chris Kolb who emphasized the importance of automotive manufacturing in the state as well as the need for Michigan to continue on a path toward technological innovation and advancement.
Clean Energy Coalition’s Matt Sandstrom presenting to State Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
Clean Energy Coalition’s Matt Sandstrom highlighted the current state of alternative fuel infrastructure in Michigan as well as an overview of the Michigan Fuel Forward project.
David Rhoa, president of Lake Michigan Mailers, gave a convincing presentation titled “The Business Case for Propane Autogas” on his company’s continuing journey toward converting its fleet to bi-fuel propane vehicles. Mr. Rhoa’s presentation stressed the tremendous economic opportunity that alternative fuels present to a small business like Lake Michigan Mailers.
The event concluded with separate presentations from Ralph Perpetuini, CEO of ICOM North America, and Joe Thompson, president of ROUSH CleanTech. Both presenters outlined the importance of alternative fuels to Michigan’s environmental and economic stability, as well as the potential for creating energy security by using a domestic fuel. Currently, Michigan is one of only 18 states without alternative fuel incentives, yet it is the home to a large concentration of alternative fuel suppliers and manufacturers.
In addition to the presentations inside, there were alternative fuel vehicles on display outside the building. Vehicles from Impco Automotive, Venchurs, ICOM North America, Westport, and ROUSH CleanTech were available for attendees to view.
At its Sept. 9 meeting, the Auburn Hills City Council approved a plan for The Moceri Companies to develop 21.51 acres of land west of Adams Road, north of the Clinton River Trail. Once completed, the entire development is projected by The Moceri Companies to have a market value of $75 million. A unique aspect of the project is that The Moceri Companies has pledged to make the development “plug-in electric vehicle ready.”
It will be the first residential project of its size in the State of Michigan to commit to prep its units with conduits and wiring for charging stations, along with upgraded electric panels in each unit. The project’s alignment with the city’s nationally-recognized comprehensive Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Ordinance will help enable market acceptance of this emerging technology. As the home of Chrysler Group LLC and hundreds of automotive suppliers, Auburn Hills has been working diligently to support the next-generation technological innovations developed by its hometown companies.
“If considered when a project is first built, preparing for electric vehicles is very easy and inexpensive. By prepping these garages with proper wiring, new residents within this development will only need to add a charging station on the wall if they buy or lease an electric vehicle. It’s like adding a garage door opener and the costs are now very similar. Having proper infrastructure in place will help this technology succeed. It just takes forward thinking,” said Cohen.
The Planned Unit Development (PUD) project called The Parkways will consist of 76 townhouse units, 72 stacked flat units and a three-story 160 unit congregate senior care complex situated along a new public boulevard. In addition to the residential living, more than two acres of open park space will also be created.
The Parkways will be comprised of five phases, with the first slated to begin in spring 2014. The Moceri Companies intends to complete the massive project by the end of 2017. When finished, the project will offer multiple benefits to the city and its residents. There will be increased housing opportunities for all ages, including much needed senior-oriented housing, a new public park more than two acres in size, and a city-owned public boulevard. This new road will serve as the eastern gateway from Adams Road to Downtown Auburn Hills.
To learn more about community development in the city of Auburn Hills and to view site plans for The Parkways, visit the city’s website here. To learn about The Moceri Companies, visit http://moceri.com/home_corevalues.html.
Installation was completed this week on a rooftop solar array for the historic Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor. The 3-kilowatt (KW) system is expected to generate enough electricity to power the signature marquee lights on East Liberty Street after the current incandescent bulbs are replaced with warm light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.
Michigan Theater’s solar array, which is positioned to take advantage of their rooftop’s direct solar access and minimal shading, is the first renewable energy installation undertaken by XSeed Energy, an implementing body of the Ann Arbor Solar Plan. Clean Energy Coalition administers the XSeed Energy project after having developed the Plan in partnership with the City of Ann Arbor with initial seed funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program.
Now independent of any government support, XSeed is fulfilling its mission to catalyze solar development in the Ann Arbor area by enabling community members to support and install renewable energy systems. XSeed Energy pays the upfront cost of the solar installation, while the host site pays a fixed energy cost that results in immediate and growing long term savings.
“Michigan Theater is the perfect spot for our first installation because of its prominent location and the potential for residents and visitors to become aware of the project,” said Sean Reed, Clean Energy Coalition Executive Director. “As a beloved historic building located in the heart of Ann Arbor, it is an ideal choice to showcase the value and accessibility of solar power.”
Long considered cost prohibitive, solar arrays are becoming more accessible due to recent technology innovations and increased demand that have resulted in sharply decreasing hardware costs. “Prices for even small installations like the array at Michigan Theater are now falling close to $3 per watt, which is about half the cost of similar installations four years ago. This low cost means that the return on investment has dropped to less than 15 years on panels that typically have a 25-year warranty,” said Dave Friedrichs of Homeland Builders, installation contractor for this project. He added that federal tax credits and other incentives can shorten this payback.
Alongside the panel installation, the marquee lights will be replaced with specialty LEDs designed to use 90-95 percent less energy than the existing incandescent bulbs.
“The advantages of LED lamps aren’t limited to energy savings alone. With LEDs lasting more than 10 times longer than our existing bulbs, we’ll significantly reduce our maintenance costs and divert more than 12,000 lamps from our landfill,” said Russ Collins, Michigan Theater Executive Director. “All these cost savings can then be reinvested in the programs theater patrons want to see.”
Michigan Theater has agreed to invest the energy savings experienced through the XSeed project in other energy efficiency improvements across the theater, including the replacement of most interior and exterior lighting with energy-efficient alternatives.
“We hope the Michigan Theater is just the first of many community-funded solar power projects across the Ann Arbor area,” Reed continued. Clean Energy Coalition will continue to “seed” renewable energy projects through the XSeed initiative using community donations and organizational support. Tax-deductible contributions can be made directly toward the Michigan Theater solar array or to XSeed Energy’s future projects via a secure donation link at http://xseedenergy.org.
XSeed is funded by generous individual contributions as well as financial and in-kind support provided by the following businesses and organizations: U.S. Department of Energy, City of Ann Arbor, Clean Energy Coalition, Google-Ann Arbor, JC Beal Construction, The Green Panel, Chelsea Lumber, Planet Footprint, McNaughton-McKay, Fitzpatrick Structural Engineering, Meadowlark Energy, Domino’s Farms, Homeland Builders, Solar World, Patriot, Renovo, Bank of Ann Arbor, and First Martin.
The City of Oberlin, Ohio, along with nine other public and private-sector fleets in Loraine County, selected Clean Energy Coalition to deliver fleet analysis services, strategies for adopting alternative fuel vehicles, and a fuel infrastructure feasibility study over the next seven months. The Oberlin Fleet and Fuel Emissions Reduction Strategy (OFFERS) project is funded by a grant from the State of Ohio’s Local Government Innovation Fund. The project will define strategies to reduce fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions of the partner fleets by 15% over three years. As one of 18 Clinton Foundation Climate Positive Development Program cities, The City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and their partners, are committed to reducing Oberlin’s greenhouse gas emissions below zero. They are on target to reduce emissions 50% (from 2007 levels) by 2015, with 90% of its electricity coming from renewable sources. The OFFERS project supports these sustainability goals in the transportation sector.
For more information about how Clean Energy Coalition’s Fuel Forward® services can support your fleet’s financial or environmental goals, contact Laura Palombi.
After securing City Council approval on Aug. 8 for the local required match of a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, Clean Energy Coalition announced plans to launch a bike share program for Ann Arbor in April 2014. The program, which will initially service downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan’s campus, is anticipated to include 125 bikes at 14 stations.
Ann Arbor’s bike share program is a partnership between Clean Energy Coalition (CEC), the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide), the City of Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan. The program is funded with $750,000 in capital funding and $800,000 in operational funding for the three-year program. CEC, in partnership with TheRide, secured $600,000 of federal CMAQ funds for capital expenditures in August 2012 for capital expenditures in fall 2013. The required local capital match of $150,000 was authorized by Ann Arbor City Council on August 8th. The University of Michigan has pledged to provide up to $200,000 per year for three years to support program operations. The remaining $200,000 in operational funding will be collected from membership fees and sponsorships.
Ann Arbor’s bike share program will use fully automated B‐cycle stations and bikes. Adults, age 18 and over, will be able to sign-up as members at station kiosks or online. Memberships will be available on a 24‐hour, 7‐day, or annual basis. Once registered, members can check out a bike, ride to a destination, and return the bike to any of 14 stations. Unlike bike rental programs, bikeshare is intended to provide quick, short trips. Members may use bikes for up to 30 minutes for free; usage fees will be incurred for rides longer than 30 minutes. B‐cycle systems are operating in 18 bike share programs across the United States, including Boulder, CO and Madison, WI. Members of Ann Arbor’s bike share program will be able to access bikes in any B‐cycle system for no additional membership cost. Visit bcycle.com for more information.
Bike share in Ann Arbor has been attracting community support in anticipation of a possible program launch: “I’m very excited about the possibility of bike sharing coming to downtown Ann Arbor. Zingerman’s staff will benefit by being able to use the bikes to run quick errands during the day, not to mention how the program will showcase the City to residents and visitors alike,” said Grace Singleton, Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Deli.
Program planning continues in fall 2013 to finalize station locations, develop marketing and communication materials, and build members’ services. Memberships will be available for purchase in late 2013 or early 2014, and pricing is expected to match rates at other bike share programs nationwide. Residents are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions or questions, and to visit cec-mi.org/bikeshare for more information.
Clean Energy Coalition has become a new member of the new U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Residential Network, which connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from each other to dramatically increase the number of American homes that are energy efficient.
The Better Buildings Residential Network launched on April 30, at the ACI National Home Performance Conference and Leadership Summit in Denver, Colorado, and continues to grow with new members.
The Better Buildings Residential Network expands on the foundation of existing energy efficiency programs such as the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program and its partners, as well as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Sponsors and their partners, which have leveraged over $1 billion in federal funding and local resources to build more energy efficient communities since 2010, as well as others that have operated for years. These programs have saved Americans money, created jobs and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.
DOE is now expanding this network of residential energy efficiency programs and partners to new members. The new Better Buildings Residential Network is engaging energy efficiency programs, state and local governments, financial institutions, businesses, nonprofits, universities, utilities, and other organizations to accelerate the pace of upgrades in American homes.
Members of the Better Buildings Residential Network include AFC First, Austin Energy, Boulder County, California Energy Commission, Clean Energy Durham, Clean Energy Works, CNT Energy, City & County of Denver, Efficiency Maine, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, LEAP (Local Energy Alliance Program), Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Michigan Saves, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.
Members benefit immediately by receiving access to monthly topical calls with their peers about residential energy efficiency strategies. Calls have discussed business partners and workforce development, driving demand, evaluation & data collection, financing, moderate- and low-income markets, program sustainability and revenue streams, along with other topics based on member requests.
Additional member benefits include tools, templates, resources, and proven solutions shared by members, newsletter and other updates on residential energy efficiency trends, opportunities to be featured in U.S. Department of Energy materials, and optional program benchmarking.
Residential Network members provide DOE with an annual update of the number of residential energy efficiency upgrades completed in their sphere of influence, and share information about the benefits associated with them.
What is the Michigan Transportation Odyssey?
It’s a trip from one end of Michigan to the other using passenger transportation – train, bus, and bike. This is Transportation for Michigan’s (Trans4M) third Odyssey. The purpose is to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of Michigan’s passenger transportation system. Trans4Mers will celebrate groundbreaking transportation events of 2012 and 2013. You can virtually “travel” with them by following travelers on Facebook and Twitter, or come along for the ride.
This year’s Odyssey begins Thursday morning in Traverse City with a bike ride along a portion of the 10.5 mile TART trail which links to over 30 miles of regional trails. This trail connects neighborhoods to shops, state and local parks to downtown, and knits communities together.
They’ll next head to Grand Rapids by Indian Trails, a 100 year old Michigan transportation company based in Owosso. We’ll review progress on the upcoming Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, the first modern rapid transit project in Michigan.
Odyssey travelers will next head to Kalamazoo, again by Indian Trails motor coach. They’ll explore the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, a 17 mile trail which runs through downtown Kalamazoo.
They’ll take Amtrak from the historic Kalamazoo intermodal transportation center to Ann Arbor. In Ann Arbor Clean Energy Coalition will discuss the recently approved bike sharing program. Participants will also learn about the relatively new public-private partnership service, AirRide, with AATA and Michigan Flyer officials. Trans4M will see how the service operates by taking it from Ann Arbor to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
At the airport they’ll celebrate the formation of the Regional Transit Authority and highlight some of its immediate opportunities. They’ll leave the airport on a SMART bus to Detroit where they’ll conclude this year’s transportation Odyssey with a look at Detroit’s new streetcar project, M-1 Rail and a transportation forum.
Coalition members, supporting partners, community stakeholders, and MI residents are invited to join Trans4M at our city stops, or to come along for the ride. Please register to attend one of the events, including events in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Detroit. Click here for a complete itinerary.
Clean Energy Coalition requests proposals from qualified solar installation contractors to perform PV system site assessments and installations at discounted prices to interested commercial customers in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Please review the Request for Proposals and submit a response no later than August 5, 2013.
Clean Energy Coalition is seeking a qualified software developer to help us enhance our Fuel Forward services. The software developer will focus primarily on vehicle data logging technology and database development. Please review the Request for Qualifications and submit a response no later than July 26, 2013.