Greenhouse growers are encouraged to take advantage of energy efficiency programs and rebates that are available to them from their energy suppliers according to Michigan State University Extension. This was a result of legislation that was signed in October 2008 that provided customers of Michigan-based utilities the opportunity to annually obtain incentive funds to make changes in their electrical and natural gas usage that would save energy. A total dollar value for energy efficiency funding budgeted across Michigan’s utilities was approximately $230 million in 2012. It is expected that at least that amount is available for 2013.
These incentive payments are available as “rebates that will permanently show a reduction in electrical or gas energy usage for the business.” Example rebates for greenhouses include:
- Upgrading lighting (work area lighting in offices, break rooms, etc.).
- Improving heating boilers (higher efficiency, including “low mass boilers”).
- Improving forced air furnaces (higher efficiency).
- Upgrading motors to variable frequency drives.
- Improving coolers.
- Installing energy curtains.
- Installing IR greenhouse poly film.
- Improving water heaters with tank-less units.
- Installing Vending Miser on vending machines.
- Completing an energy audit for the business by an MSU-approved agricultural energy auditor.
There are rules specific to each utility company that you must follow, but growers who have already participated indicate that the rules and application forms are not complicated and the money rebated back to them is worth the time spent.
More than 21 energy audits done by Michigan greenhouses in the past three years show that, if they implemented all the suggestions, they would reduce electrical energy consumption by 39 percent for a savings of more than $750,000 a year. Most utilities will mail you a rebate check within six to eight weeks after receipt of a final application. Remember that projects must result in an improvement in energy efficiency to qualify.
Below is a list of websites with more details. They are listed by utility providers.