Energy Efficiency and Building Codes, What’s Next for Voluntary Green Pricing Programs: This Week in Advanced Energy News

Welcome to the weekly newsletter of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council (Michigan EIBC), the business voice for advanced energy in Michigan. Here’s what’s new this week:

Building Code Update Can Unlock Energy Efficiency Gains and Drive Michigan Toward Electrification

Michigan EIBC is joining with other groups to call on the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to use the pending update of state residential and commercial codes to unlock new energy efficiency savings and put the state on track for more electrification of buildings. 

“There is an increasing demand for solar, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and batteries in our state,“ Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman said in a statement released by the over 30 organizations and officials who sent a letter to LARA urging action. “To ensure we are ready for these market trends, it’s more cost-effective to prepare by addressing homes and businesses being built or undergoing major renovations.”

For the first time in six years, LARA is updating the codes that set energy conservation standards for new buildings. Michigan codes are based on the 2015 edition of the model International Energy Conservation Code, but the 2021 version of the model code has much more ambitious standards that, if adopted, would lead to significant reductions in emissions from Michigan’s building sector, which is currently responsible for 20% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

The 2021 code would lead to “deep efficiency” measures that are currently difficult to implement for the building sector, according to the letter to LARA signed by Michigan EIBC and numerous other organizations, such as the Michigan Environmental Council, Vote Solar, Rocky Mountain Institute, and Michigan EIBC members Chart House Energy, Elevate Energy and Michigan Energy Options. For example, “an efficient building-shell is a key mechanism for improving the comfort of the building for the occupant and meeting the occupant’s needs and preferences by providing greater control and reducing unwanted temperature variations,” the letter said. But improvements to the building-shell are typically much more cost-effectively done when a building is under construction, so going forward it is important to require buildings to be better sealed as they are built.

Energy use by buildings stands to rise due to the growth of energy-intensive businesses like the cannabis industry. The commercial code should be changed so that lighting and dehumidification systems used in horticultural applications like cannabis cultivation are made to be more efficient, the letter said.

Michigan EIBC recently submitted proposed code amendments to LARA that would ensure that, in addition to increased energy efficiency, buildings are built with infrastructure to allow for easier installation of solar, storage and EV chargers. Changes to the codes supported by Michigan EIBC and the other groups would also make new buildings “electric-ready”—required to have the infrastructure in place to install all-electric systems like electric heating without having to go back and make expensive retrofits.

On July 20, LARA’s Bureau of Construction Codes held a public hearing about the need to update the current residential code with the model international code. One of the speakers at the hearing in Lansing was Michigan EIBC Director of Research and Policy Grace Michienzi. “Updating our building codes is one of the greatest tools the State of Michigan holds to support jobs and businesses working in energy efficiency and other advanced energy
industries in our state,” she said in her comments. She emphasized that the 2021 residential edition of the IECC model represents a 12% improvement in efficiency compared to the 2015 code, and so the 2021 edition should be accepted by LARA without changes that might weaken it. 

Another Look at DTE Voluntary Green Pricing Programs

 In a new blog post, Michigan EIBC President Laura Sherman and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Director Caitlin Marquis detail how the recent settlement over DTE’s voluntary green pricing programs will make direct procurement of renewable energy by corporations, residential communities and others more accessible, competitive and affordable.

The settlement, struck between DTE and a number of groups including Michigan EIBC, the Institute for Energy Innovation and AEE, represents the continued progress making utility green pricing programs more compatible with the needs of customers who want to purchase renewable energy. At the outset, these programs had problems, the blog post explained. “While large utilities like DTE and Consumers Energy had renewable energy options on the books, they were costly and not well matched to customer needs and preferences, especially for large commercial and industrial customers,” Sherman and Marquis said. The settlement continues to address those problems by including a wider diversity of renewable energy projects from which customers can buy energy, making the process to procure these projects more competitive and expanding community solar options.

But, “even after this settlement, there is room for improvement,” Sherman and Marquis said. Read the whole blog post for more ideas about what next steps are needed to keep this progress going. 

Tickets Available Now for the 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala on Sept. 14 

We’re excited to network in-person and celebrate individuals and businesses who have worked to grow Michigan’s advanced energy sector in 2021. Advanced energy business leaders & experts, legislators, regulators, state government officials, and other key decision-makers will be in attendance. Join the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council as we celebrate on September 14th, 2021 at The Eastern in Detroit, MI. 

Tickets are now available here. RSVP soon as we expect this event to sell out.

Details about the keynote speaker and more to come in the following weeks.

We also invite you to become a sponsor of this premier annual event. Sponsors will benefit from networking with a broad range of industry leaders from renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, and the utility sector. Sponsorship opportunities and benefits can be found here

Please contact Brianna Gerard, Director of Membership & Events, to reserve your sponsorship spot:

Event Sponsors

Gigawatt Level

Megawatt Level

Kilowatt Level

The Watt Level

New Member


Michigan-China Innovation Center

We are a 501c3 non-profit based in Detroit, Michigan with a dynamic and bilingual team, enthusiastic volunteers, and extensive local and international networks. Formed in 2016, Michigan-China Innovation Center has served as the State of Michigan government’s liaison to Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese businesses and governments. We have organized more than 100 exchanges and events, many on behalf of the Office of the Governor of Michigan and state agencies.
Our programs’ growing emphasis on sustainability today is driven both by the needs of our planet and the growing consensus that nations must cooperate to solve environmental problems even while competing in other arenas. We’re eager to apply our team’s expertise, together with Michigan’s strengths in clean energy vehicles, water resources management, and clean tech innovation, to advance cooperation between our regions of focus, and look forward to talking with like-minded people and organizations about how we can work together toward our common cause.


Michigan Energy News

  • The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) provides a $1.55 million grant to Michigan EIBC member the Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University.
  • Charles Griffith, climate and energy program director for the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, talks to WEMU about how Southeast Michigan is poised to lead the transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles
  • Consumers Energy explains why its new summer peak rate can help it meet its clean energy goals.
  • General Motors confirms that it will soon be releasing an all-electric, full-size pickup truck.
  • The Grand Haven Board of Light and Power is holding meetings with the public about its plans to build a new natural gas-fired power plant.

National Energy News

  • Vertical farms—”plant factories” in which crops are grown in controlled, indoor environments—are a natural market for microgrids.
  • Startup Form Energy announces its long-duration storage technology based on iron-air batteries.
  • A planned neighborhood in Austin, Tex., has become a testing ground for Tesla’s various home energy products.
  • Solar advocates are trying to reform the distributed generation program for Alabama Power, which has some of the highest fees for distributed generation users in the country.
  • The question of whether to steer billions of dollars to research on carbon capture and storage is dividing supporters of U.S. climate legislation.


Michigan and National Energy Events

The 65th Annual Michigan Energy Providers Conference 2021 at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island from July 29-30 will provide a unique perspective of the future of energy and related policy needs in Michigan, and offer an opportunity to build relationships with others in the industry. CDC guidelines will be followed and all proper protocols will be taken to ensure a safe event. The conference is sold out but has a waiting list in case of cancellations.

Michigan EIBC’s 9th Annual Michigan Energy Innovators Gala will be held in Detroit on Sept. 14.

Buy tickets here. The PlugVolt Battery Seminar 2021 in Plymouth, Mich., will feature an entire day of in-depth technical tutorials presented by world renowned professors from Top 50 US universities on Day 1, followed by Days 2 and 3 with industry subject matter experts presenting on Automotive and Stationary Storage applications respectively. Attendees will also get an exclusive opportunity to tour INTERTEK Battery Testing Center of Excellence in Plymouth, MI (USA). The seminar is scheduled for Oct. 5-7, and registration is open here

The U.S. Energy Storage Association Annual Conference & Expo (#ESACon21) will convene December 1-3 in Phoenix to bring together buyers, sellers, investors, and leaders in the energy storage industry for an event focused on driving deals and business in the energy storage industry. The #ESACon21 is a must attend for anyone looking to expand their business, invest in, or develop partnerships in the energy storage industry. Learn more here

Gov. Whitmer created the Council on Climate Solutions as an advisory body to help formulate and implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. The council is holding a series of meetings throughout the year on various topics related to cutting Michigan’s CO2 emissions and recommending solutions for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. Go to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Office of Climate and Energy website to learn how to join these meetings.


The Lansing Board of Water and Light will issue a Request for Information for electricity storage by the end of September. Vendors can register here.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Testing Grant gives mobility companies the opportunity to access testing facilities around the state, including Mcity at the University of Michigan. Apply here.

The Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce wasted energy. Those that achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. Visit to find out more information including how a building can apply.