Improving Institutional Access to Clean Energy Incentives through Research and Education (2016)

Client Organization: 
Ecology Center
Project Location : 
Washtenaw and Oakland County, Michigan
Summary of Project Idea: 

We developed this project in response to a growing local-level demand for information and guidance on accessing local, state, and federal energy financing programs. Knowledge regarding these programs is currently scattered across independent websites and agencies, making it difficult for a lay user to identify available options for funding energy efficiency efforts. We collaborated with The Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor non-profit, to develop an information-based tool that would provide tailored recommendations to small businesses and organizations in need of financing to meet their energy efficiency aspirations. The tool was developed for use by The Ecology Center along with an implementation plan to strengthen their outreach to local stakeholders and assist their efforts in reducing Michigan’s energy consumption.

We researched and analyzed existing clean energy and energy efficiency policies and financing opportunities available from local, state, federal, and utility entities for institutions in the educational, medical, religious, and multi-family housing sectors. The design and content of the tool and its accompanying educational materials was influenced by a series of social surveys and interviews conducted with local business and non-profit representatives. The surveys and interviews revealed the level of existing institutional knowledge on energy efficiency, local barriers to accessing financing and implementing projects, and the motivations and concerns of individuals regarding efficiency upgrades.

The resulting information tool will help fulfill the project’s goal of improving accessibility to energy efficiency financing for qualified stakeholders in Washtenaw and Oakland Counties.

SEAS Program Areas: 
Environmental Policy and Planning
Behavior, Education, and Communication
Environmental Justice
Sustainable Systems
Contact full name: 
Katy Adams, Alexis Blizman
Job title: 
Education Director, Legislative & Policy Director
Ann Arbor
State or Country: 
SEAS Faculty Advisor: 
Paul Mohai and Tony Reames
Contact Phone: 
Contact e-mail: 
Contact information: 
Staff member of a potential client organization
Our Organization has been an SNRE master's project client in a previous year
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Brian La Shier, MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Junhong Liang, MS/MAE Behavior, Education and Communication 
  • Chayatach Pasawongse, MS Sustainable Systems 
  • Gianna Petito, MS Environmental Policy and Planning/Conservation Ecology
  • Whitney Smith, MS Environmental Justice 
Project Status: 
Past Project