Michigan Energy Conference Focused on Energy Conservation, Sustainability

Michigan Energy Conference 2012Ferris State University provided local educators, professionals and industry leaders the opportunity to discuss energy conservation efforts and sustainability practices at the fifth annual Michigan Energy Conference held Thursday, April 12 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. More than 240 were in attendance.

During the morning session, guests engaged with Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, who has implemented a variety of environmental measures to help the city “go green” since taking office in 2004.  Additionally, Ferris President David Eisler, President Thomas Haas of Grand Valley State University and President Steven Ender of Grand Rapids Community College conversed with the crowd during the “Presidents’ Panel” on sustainability initiatives at the three institutions and the vision for collaboration to continue to promote and educate on sustainable practices. Valerie Brader, Governor Rick Snyder’s senior energy policy advisor, rounded out the morning’s discussion by serving as keynote speaker during the lunch hour.

Numerous speakers presented in the afternoon on topics related to energy conservation and sustainability. Doug Zentz, associate professor and program coordinator for Ferris’ HVACR Program, presented “ASHRAE Standard 189.1-2011, Code Language for ‘What is a GREEN Commercial Building?’” Speakers from Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Macomb Community College, and numerous local organizations also presented throughout the afternoon.

Event organizers Brian Craig, Debbie Dawson and David Steenstra were especially pleased with the turnout.

“This is our fifth and by far largest and most ‘energized’ conference,” said Craig, director of the School of Built Environment in the College of Engineering Technology at Ferris. “The topic is timely and essential, as evidenced by the number and breadth of presenters and attendees and the lively dialogue.”

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy were exhibitors and platinum sponsors for the event.

Other exhibitors included Michigan Propane Gas Association; Dwelltech Solutions; Pleune Service Company; Quality Air Service, Inc.; Applied Technology Systems, LLC; Performance Engineering Group; Patriot Solar Group; R.L. Deppmann Company; Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design; and the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center (GRCC).

Bronze sponsors included Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber (FTC&H); Associate of Energy Engineers (AEE) – West Michigan Chapter; David L. Eisler; Ferris State University College of Education & Human Services; Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology;  American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – Western Michigan Chapter; Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative; and the Michigan Association of Physical Plant Administrators.

David Steenstra, academic department head for the Management Department in Ferris’ College of Business, remarked on how the conference provided students from two Ferris colleges with a unique opportunity to collaboratively develop their business skills in preparation for the event.

“The Management Department in the College of Business has been actively developing collaborative relationships with other departments in other colleges throughout the Ferris community. By leveraging the skills taught in so many of our world-class programs and coupling that with an appropriate foundation of business knowledge, we are helping our students achieve distinctiveness and enhance their success,” Steenstra said. “One of the biggest issues facing most college graduates in non-business fields remains the lack of business acumen. Our collaborations really address this issue. The relationship between the College of Business and the College of Engineering Technology has created a lot of synergies for each. The Michigan Energy Conference is just one more example of that wonderful relationship.”


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Last updated: 07-24-2012