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Farmington Hills Sustainable
Committee Highlights

OUR MISSION

To collaborate with the community to enhance energy efficiency and sustainability by encouraging policies and practices based on economical, ecological and community values.

Michigan Green Communities Gold Logo

UPCOMING EVENTS

Scout Saturdays at Heritage Park
January - June 2014

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NEWS

Cities of Farmington Hills and Farmington Advance to Quarterfinals of $5 Million Georgetown University Energy Prize Competition - Read More

City of Farmington Hills Recognized for Environmental Leadership with Gold Seal of Achievement - Read More

Public Service Ad Campaign Alerts Michigan Residents to Home Energy Crisis, Methods to Address It - Read More

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GREEN TIP OF THE MONTH

The City of Farmington Hills will compete for the Georgetown University Energy Prize, a national competition that challenges communities across the U.S. to rethink their energy use. - Read More

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SURVEY QUESTION

SEMCOG is seeking public input through an online survey focusing on environmental protection – specifically stormwater management.

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Case Studies

Save Energy and Dollars

Leon ZolkowerLeon Zolkower, Vice Chair
Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability

The Farmington Hills Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability works to help the City, its residents and businesses save money and reduce their environmental impact by advocating for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmentally friendly practices.

Did you ever see something that’s so unbelievable you have to look twice to make sure it’s correct? That’s exactly what I did when I received my most recent DTE bill. The energy usage for the billing period from June 23 to July 26, 2011, when compared with the same billing period in 2010, showed a drop in usage of 20%. The first thing that came to mind was…WHY?

I couldn’t figure it out, especially in light of the very high temperatures we had experienced during that period. I looked for the reasons why there was such a significant change in energy consumption and realized that the savings came as a result of a number of energy saving measures.

First, I changed a number of incandescent light bulbs to CFLs, and also closely monitored lights to make sure that no unnecessary lights were left on. Additionally, when not in use and where practical, I unplugged appliances, lamps, battery chargers, printers, TV’s and other equipment that might draw electricity even when off (known as vampire power or phantom energy).

Most impressive, I discovered that by setting the AC thermostat at 76 degrees (as opposed to 72) and using the ceiling fans, we were just as comfortable even during the hottest days. Assuming a 1 - 3% savings for each degree set above 72, this no-cost measure saved me 4 - 12%.

If these relatively small measures in energy conservation result in the type of savings I saw on my most recent DTE bill, you can bet that I’m going to go through the house with a fine tooth comb to find other areas where energy usage can be reduced. This experience demonstrates that energy conservation measures don’t have to be expensive or complicated. Just using a little common sense and being more careful can bring savings in energy and dollars.

The MacInnis Camp

Map of Michigan with Baraga County and Farmington Hills HighlightedIn far off Baraga County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, there is a hunting camp that is so distant from the “beaten path” that it does not have access to any public utilities. John MacInnis of Novi and Bill MacInnis of Farmington Hills, brothers who own the camp, have come up with a very creative way of powering the water pump, furnace and lights at their camp. They have installed a .8 kW solar panel system to supplement the electricity that is being produced by a propane-fueled electric generator.

This year the camp was used for 48 days. By supplementing the electric generating capacity with the solar panel, it has enabled the MacInnis camp to reduce the running of the propane generator from an average of 450 hours to less than 150 hours, saving them about 2/3 in propane fuel costs.

The technology used in this installation is readily available. The initial installation required solar panel(s), an inverter, plus other pieces of equipment. Solar is not known for being “low cost,” but costs are significantly reduced by tax credits offered by the Federal Government. In addition, if you live in the Detroit Edison service area, solar is even more enticing due to rebates through DTE’s Solar Currents Program. Solar has never been more viable than right now. The MacInnis camp illustrates that even in the far north, solar is working!

MacInnis Camp

Refrigerator Rebate Program

Leon ZolkowerLeon Zolkower, Vice Chair
Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability

The Farmington Hills Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability works to help the City, its residents and businesses save money and reduce their environmental impact by advocating for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmentally friendly practices.

We are all familiar with the saying, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” Well, I recently had one such experience; however, it ended much better than I expected.

At the 2011 Green Expo held at Farmington Hills City Hall, I found out that Detroit Edison would not only remove my old refrigerator and dispose of it free of charge but, if it was in working condition, no matter how old, they would send me a $40 check!

Old RefrigeratorUsing this information, I purchased a new refrigerator to replace the 40+ year-old refrigerator that had been kept in my basement. I found a new Energy Star 16 cubic foot refrigerator on sale reduced to $200. I did a quick calculation by using the kilowatt usage of each refrigerator and discovered that by discarding the old unit and buying the Energy Star unit, I could save about $20 a month in electricity. Wow! It is amazing to think about all of that wasted electricity and money over the years. What an eye opener. I got a new second refrigerator, monthly energy savings, and a $40 check to boot. My new refrigerator will be paid for in eight months just from my energy savings! Too good to be true? Not in this case!

Energy efficiency comes in all shapes and sizes and can cost you a little or a lot up front. In this particular instance, attending the Farmington Hills Green Expo helped me find $240 per year in energy savings. I know that there are many more opportunities like this in my home and probably yours as well. Not sure where to start? Try the following websites:

EnergyStar
Energy Savers
Your Energy Savings
Consumers Energy