West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon program on Whirlpool’s sustainability and residential energy efficiency programs, plus Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, on Monday, December 8 at Kendall College of Art & Design in downtown Grand Rapids from 12 to 2 pm.  This month’s meeting presented by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber and Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University.

For the past several months, Whirlpool Corporation and Purdue University have been working together to transform a 1920s vintage home in West Lafayette, Indiana, into a net-zero energy structure: the ReNEWW House. It is the company’s hope that the research underway in this living laboratory will lead to valuable insights on resource sustainability that will inform future appliance designs and remodeling methods.

Maureen Sertich, North American Sustainability Lead for Whirlpool, will talk about the ReNEWW project and Whirlpool’s efforts to improve energy and environmental performance in its products and operations. In her role at Whirlpool, Sertich manages the sustainability initiatives for products under the Amana, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Aire Brands. Previously, she developed sustainability standards for products in the building industry, managed a university’s sustainability program, provided sustainability and risk assessment services for large industrial and commercial clients, and managed hazardous waste remediation projects.

Also on the agenda is Andy Levin of Levin Energy Partners and Lean & Green Michigan, who will talk about his firm’s work to develop PACE financing in Michigan. PACE financing allows longer payback periods with lower annual amortization and better terms, making many energy projects financeable that otherwise would not be. A PACE district allows a property owner to use the property tax mechanism to finance energy improvements. The property owner voluntarily takes on a Special Assessment, which it pays off as part of its property tax bill. A fundamentally different arrangement than a traditional bank loan, Levin believes the financing package can transform an energy efficiency or renewable project from an engineer’s great idea that a company CFO will not approve into a clear bottom line winner for the company.

Levin has been an innovator and leader in state and federal energy, workforce and labor policy and practice for many years. Throughout his career, Levin has created new organizations, initiatives and programs that have had transformative effects on companies, nonprofits, unions, and thousands of individuals’ lives.  He was previously leader of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG), an organization with a one-and-a-half billion dollar budget and over 4,000 employees that combined functions of an Energy Department, a Labor Department, and a Commerce Department.

Seating is limited.  RSVP online by Friday, December 5.

RSVP here.

WMSBF December Meeting
Monday, December 8, 12 pm to 2 pm
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University
“Old Federal Building”
17 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids
$10 Members / $15 Non-Members

Tentative Agenda
12 pm Networking & Lunch
12:30 pm Introductions
12:45 pm Introduction to PACE
1:15 pm   Sustainability at Whirlpool
2:00 pm  Adjourn

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