Typically, small-business owners do not get into business to become experts at energy management.
Navigating energy usage, efficiency opportunities and utility relationships can often be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what the actual impact will be to your business’ bottom line.
Since 2017, the Small Business Association of Michigan has been partnering with Consumers Energy and DTE Energy through SBAM Energy Solutions, a one-stop approach to energy management for small business owners.
“The SBAM Energy Solutions program provides our members with a great opportunity to save money and improve energy efficiency,” said SBAM President Brian Calley. “Since the inception of this program, SBAM members have saved over $3 million in energy savings, grants, and rebates.”
That represents enough energy savings to power 2,500 homes for an entire year.
What can small business owners expect from SBAM Energy Solutions and why should you care? Members who engage with the SBAM team will be able to have a conversation about everything from rates to energy efficiency. A dedicated specialist will help perform a complete energy audit so you can learn about simple changes to make now and create a blueprint for efficiency improvements in the future.
“What I think is most valuable about this partnership is the ability for SBAM to offer our members red-carpet access to Consumers Energy and DTE Energy. We know our members are extremely busy and that energy management may not always be a priority. Our team is here to help deliver energy efficiency and money-saving opportunities that can have a real impact on their business operations,” said SBAM CEO Rob Fowler.
David Rhoa, owner of Marana Group in Kalamazoo, has been working with the SBAM Energy Solutions team since 2018.
“Let’s be honest. Most of us did not choose our energy provider,” Rhoa said. “We bought or leased our facilities and accepted that power and natural gas would be provided by the utility. Likewise, our energy provider did not choose us as a customer. It is a unique circumstance where neither the customer, nor the provider, actually pursued each other.
“With SBAM Energy Solutions we are able to actually create a meaningful, mutually-beneficial partnership with Consumers Energy. It has been a real game-changer for us.
“The savings I have been able to obtain for my small business through this program are real. Our account representative has been able to successfully guide us through no fewer than three separate programs that have provided cash incentives for improving our energy usage through lighting and HVAC improvements. This goes right to my business’ bottom line.”
When SBAM Energy Solutions began working with Sean Duval, owner of Golden Limousine in Ann Arbor, Duval was concerned about the lack of lighting in his workspaces. Duval worked with DTE Energy to upgrade lighting from fluorescent to LED, saving money on energy bills, improving work conditions for his employees and decreasing his energy footprint. Duval was able to offset project costs through DTE incentives, a low-interest loan from Michigan Saves and a Rural Energy for America Program grant from USDA.
The best part? Not only will Duval reap the savings (at about $14,000 to date), but he has also referred other small businesses to SBAM’s Energy Solutions program, saving those businesses an additional $16,000. For his efforts, Duval was awarded the 2019 SBAM Energy Champion Award.
Our team knows you are a busy small business owner. We want to help you navigate your energy plan so you can focus on running your business. Whether you’re a building owner looking to overhaul HVAC or a renter wondering about better lighting options, we can help. Our team knows how to connect with contractors and has details on available rebates and the best financing options. SBAM Energy Solutions services are available to all SBAM members. Request your free assessment at www.sbam.org/energy or by calling (800) 362-5461.