Industrial energy efficiency in Michigan - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  September 8, 2017

BASF, Steelcase make industrial case for efficiency


Energy savings measures recently taken at a BASF Corp. facility in Michigan have played a role in the creation of about 100 new jobs a year, according to a recent Crain's Detroit Business article outlining the efficiency efforts underway at corporations across the state. 

Illustrating the sometimes dramatic role energy costs play into business decisions, Crain's said four years ago, the facility had failed in an attempt to lure a new plant there that would have brought 100 jobs to Wyandotte, Mich., due to the state's high electricity costs. Greg Pflum, vice president and general manager of the company's Midwest regional hub, told the publication that energy prices made the site uncompetitive, and BASF instead decided to build the new plant outside the U.S.

The example, Crain's said, is a driver for leading companies in Michigan to reduce their energy use. Pflum, who oversees the Wyandotte facility, said actions taken at the site since the lost bid include shortening production cycle times whenever possible; using energy efficient lighting; and using programmable controls to reduce heating or lighting when areas aren't being used, according to the publication. Additionally, a new steam operation used to heat building and power manufacturing is saving the facility about $1 million a year.

The article also profiles the energy efficiency strategies of other companies across the state, including office furniture maker Steelcase, which is headquartered in Grand Rapids. In early 2016, for example, Steelcase completed a relighting project at a 1-million-square-foot distribution center that reduced the company's global energy bill by 2%.

"For a company with operations all over the world, that's a huge impact," the publication quoted John DeAngelis, Steelcase energy and specical project manager as saying. "We saved hundreds of thousands [of dollars]. It paid itself back in less than two years."

Crain's also noted that the state has had a PACE program in place since 2020, though companies have just started to utilize it.

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