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Reenergizing the City of Detroit

Through funding from The Kresge Foundation, Clean Energy Coalition partnered with NextEnergy to serve as a virtual sustainability office for the City of Detroit and help green municipal operations. Since the program’s inception in February 2011, Clean Energy Coalition has accomplished the following in the Building Energy, Recycling, and Fleet and Fuels core areas.

Building Energy

Our expert staff has worked with Detroit’s General Services Department and developed the city’s first comprehensive list of municipally owned and operated buildings and has begun tracking energy use for those locations. We have identified the top energy consuming facilities and have developed a preliminary list of recommendations to reduce energy use and save the city money.


Staff has also assisted Detroit’s Department of Public Works with efficiency improvements to its solid waste and recycling operations, evaluation of the existing residential curbside program, and the expansion of curbside recycling service to an additional 10,000 households.

Our team has helped create a comprehensive outreach and communication plan to help increase recycling. These materials feature large images of acceptable recyclable items with minimal text to simplify the message and make participation easy. The campaign has included:

  • Informative brochures and refrigerator magnets for new curbside recycling customers
  • An in-mold label on the top of the new recycling carts which details what is and isn’t recyclable
  • A postcard mailed to households in existing neighborhoods with curbside recycling reminding them of which items are accepted in the recycling program
  • A public service announcement and educational video to motivate residents to recycle and teach them recycling basics



Fleet and Fuels

Our team has worked closely with Detroit’s General Services Department, DPW, and Department of Transportation to assess the city’s fleet and develop recommendations for reducing spending and improving efficiency. Clean Energy Coalition has helped the City of Detroit establish city-wide contracts for fuel, used motor oil recycling, and retread tire purchases. Combined, these contracts will save the city thousands of dollars every year. The team has also worked with fleet managers to identify surplus vehicles and has helped generate $1 million in revenue from the sale of unneeded equipment. Our staff also identified an auxiliary battery power product for police cars that reduces engine idle time, which led to a $1.5 million CMAQ grant application.