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SmartBuildings Detroit Energy Conservation Program Awards $296,000 in Grants for Five Projects
Federally funded program helps downtown Detroit building owners install energy-conservation measures.
The developers of Woodward Garden, a mixture of new construction and renovation in the 3900 block of Woodward are reviving the historic Garden Theatre as a performance, retail and conference center. C. Howard Crane, the architect who designed Orchestra Hall and the Fox Theatre also designed the Garden Theatre at 3919 Woodward. Woodward SA-PK, LLC Ave. will use its $100,000 grant to pay a portion of more than a million dollars of energy-saving features being completed as part of the makeover. Among the items on the list are energy-efficient lights, insulation for the roof, energy-efficient windows and doors, and a new HVAC system. The total project cost for the renovation is expected to be $10 million. “We have been working on this project for more than ten years,” said George Stewart, managing partner for the developing group. “We are very grateful to be receiving this assistance, and we are committed to energy conservation. Every dollar is important to help defray the initial cost of the energy improvements and help us to get to the finish line.”
The EDC also supported another significant revitalization project with a SmartBuildings grant. Vanguard Community Development Corporation is renovating a vacant building at 2777 East Grand Blvd. as a community food pantry. Vanguard CDC expects to use its $69,000 to pay a portion of the estimated $276,000 cost of new lighting, an insulated roof, solar panels, insulation, energy efficient doors and windows, more efficient HVAC, and a low-flow water and plumbing system. The remaining 75% of the cost of the improvements will come from foundations, corporations and other donors to the nonprofit organization.
Bedrock Real Estate Services, which manages parking garages owned by affiliated companies, is upgrading lighting in two of them under the SmartBuildings Detroit program:
At 160 E. Congress, also known as Two Detroit Garage, Bedrock expects to use the $46,700 grant to pay 25% of the cost of replacing 660 light fixtures. The new high-efficiency fixtures are expected to cost a total of $187,000. The owner of the garage, WWA Parking, LLC, will use its own funds and assistance from the DTE Your Energy Savings program to cover the remainder.
At 730 Shelby St., also known as Financial District Garage, Bedrock expects to use a $30,000 grant to pay 25% of the $120,000 estimated cost of replacing 424 light fixtures with high-efficiency prismatic induction models. The owner of the property, 719 Griswold Associates, LLC, and DTE Your Energy Savings will pay the remainder.
“Lighting makes a huge difference in a parking garage,” said Lynnette Boyle, senior property manager at the firm. “The new high-efficiency fixtures save money and create a much more inviting and secure environment for our customers.” Boyle added, “We took advantage of both the SmartBuildings and the DTE Your Energy Savings programs. When you partner those two programs it is a very powerful incentive. Anyone not taking advantage of them is really missing out.”
New Center Stamping at 950 East Milwaukee St. is another company combining the two programs to upgrade lighting. The automotive supplier expects to use its $50,000 to pay 25% of the $200,000 estimated total cost of replacing or upgrading nearly 600 light fixtures in its manufacturing plant and associated office building. The remaining share will be paid by the company and DTE Your Energy Savings.
Doug Braun, quality and environmental manager for New Center Stamping said, "We were very excited to be able to participate in this program because it made the investment to save energy much more attractive. This is still a difficult economic environment, and the new fixtures will be significant in reducing utility costs at the plant, while improving the lighting both inside and outside of the building."
The Economic Development Corporation is continuing to accept applications for the SmartBuildings Detroit Program grants and related Green Fund loans. In general, any improvements identified in an energy assessment for the building are eligible. Energy assessments can be done at program expense. These might include:
Building Enclosure - Insulation and weatherization, glass replacement.
Building Systems – Interior and exterior lighting and electrical, HVAC, low flow water/plumbing.
Alternative Energy Generation - Solar panels, geothermal, wind, & water systems are eligible as long as other energy savings improvements are also made.
The program area is generally bounded by the Detroit River on the south, the Lodge Freeway (M-10) on the west, Seward on the north and the Walter Chrysler Freeway (I-75) including the Eastern Market area - on the east.
The Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) is implementing the SmartBuildings Detroit Program using a $10 million U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) grant to encourage the installation of energy-saving improvements for commercial, institutional and public buildings in downtown Detroit to optimize the performance of city real estate. The program leverages other incentives and energy optimization programs available to commercial property owners. SmartBuildings Detroit is part of the statewide BetterBuildings for Michigan Program.
BetterBuildings for Michigan uses a community approach to deliver energy-efficient improvements for homes and businesses by providing access to incentives and affordable loans. The program is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and developed by the Michigan Energy Office; Michigan Saves; the City of Grand Rapids; the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit; and the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office.
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in the city of Detroit. DEGC is led by a 60-member board comprised of business, civic, labor and community leaders. Its 35 professionals provide staff services for key public authorities that offer tax credits and other forms of financing for projects that bring new jobs or economic activity to the city. Among them: the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA), Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), Local Development Finance Authority (LDFA), and Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA). DEGC also provides planning, project management and other services under contract to the City of Detroit.
More information about the SmartBuildings Detroit Program and how to apply for a grant or Green Fund loan are posted on www.SmartBuildingsDetroit.org. Grantees will monitor and report their actual energy cost savings from the completed work to the Economic Development Corporation.