The City of Royal Oak officially became the 23rd member of the Southeast Regional Energy Office earlier this month, with a unanimous vote of the city commission. The Energy Office is a coalition of nonprofits and communities that work to help local governments reduce their energy use and save money for their citizens through energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
As an Energy Office member, all Royal Oak residents are eligible for BetterBuildings for Michigan, a grant-funded program designed to help residents reduce their energy bills. Residents may sign up for a $100 energy audit that helps them identify ways to save energy and money at home, and also includes installation of CFL lightbulbs, a low-flow shower head and a programmable thermostat to start saving immediately. Participants save an average of $230 per year on energy bills.
Giving residents access to energy funding through BetterBuildings for Michigan was a key reason for the City of Royal Oak’s interest in the Energy Office. “We are primarily interested in the BetterBuildings program,” said City Manager Don Johnson. “Grant funding is secondary,” he added, referring to grant seeking services for municipal energy projects that the Regional Energy Office also provides.
Royal Oak has chosen to pursue membership in the Energy Office at the recommendation of the Royal Oak Environmental Advisory Board, a group of citizens appointed to advise the City on environmental issues.
“We had a goal to provide low-cost energy audits to residents,” Tom Nagle, a member of the Advisory Board, said at the meeting. “I read about the BetterBuildings $100 audit being offered in Ferndale and wanted to find out how to get one at my own home.”
When Nagle learned that the grant-funded energy audit was offered only to Energy Office member cities, he encouraged the City of Royal Oak to join.
In addition to the BetterBuildings for Michigan program, the Energy Office also provides grant administration and technical assistance to help local governments save energy. More information is available at www.regionalenergyoffice.org.
Royal Oak residents can sign up for an energy audit at www.MiHomeEnergy.org or by calling Sheila Vanfield at 313-451-0380.
Source: City of Royal Oak