Michigan Gov. Snyder delivered a speech on Energy and Environment at Michigan State University on Wednesday about the three pillars of energy, including reliability, affordability and a protected environment.

When it comes to energy efficiency, Snyder referenced the Michigan Saves nonprofit program that helps both public and private organizations make energy improvements with financing, grants and partnerships with private sector lenders. Energy conservation efforts, while they require an investment of time and resources upfront, is a long-term plan for saving money both for consumers, businesses and the state government.

Watch Gov. Snyder’s speech (source: Michigan.gov):

According to Michigan.gov, since October 2012, more than 1,700 Michigan residents have used the Michigan Saves program to improve their homes to save $350 per year on energy costs. In 2012, private financial institutions will make more than $68 million available for efficiency improvements in buildings.

The state initiative is aligned with ongoing federal energy efficiency initiatives. Since energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants account for almost half of all energy consumption in the nation (at a cost of over $200 billion per year), the federal government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an energy performance scale to measure energy usage in commercial facilities. Facilities that earn at least a 75 on a 1-100 scale qualify for the ENERGY STAR certification, placing them in the top 25 percent of energy efficiency within their industry.

Data centers are large commercial buildings that benefit greatly from energy conservation design. The NYTimes.com piece on Power, Pollution and the Internet harped on data centers for their wasteful energy usage – “on average, they [data centers] are using only 6 percent to 12 percent of the electricity power their servers to perform computations.”

EPA ENERGY STAR Certification

In March of this year, Online Tech became the first Michigan data center operator to achieve the ENERGY STAR certification for its Mid-Michigan data center. Online Tech has achieved balancing a fully redundant and audited IT infrastructure while meeting national energy efficiency standards. Read more here.

Online Tech's Mid-Michigan Data Center

Online Tech’s Mid-Michigan Data Center

How the Cloud is Changing the Data Center’s Bad Reputation for Energy Inefficiency outlines some ways in which data center operators can design and manage their facilities with energy conservation in mind. Find out more about how switching to cloud computing can significantly annual reduce CO2 emissions.

References:
Affordable and Reliable Energy, A Cleaner Environment, No Regrets for Our Future
Governor Synder’s Energy and Environment Special Message
MichiganSaves.org
The Cloud Factors: Power, Pollution and the Internet
The ENERGY STAR for Buildings & Manufacturing Plants