2011 rebates are still available for energy conservation improvements to your greenhouse business

Most of the major utility companies in Michigan supplying natural gas or electricity to greenhouses, businesses and residential homes have commercial or residential energy efficiency incentive rebate programs available.

Greenhouse growers should be taking advantage of energy efficiency programs that are available to them from their energy suppliers. 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. Over 20 million dollars in incentives are available for 2011. It is expected that at least that amount would be available for 2012.

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)
  • Improving heating boilers (higher efficiency)
  • 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
  • Completing an energy audit for the business by approved 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.

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.

For more information on greenhouse energy related issues, contact MSU greenhouse floriculture educators Jeanne Himmelein or Thomas Dudek.

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