Dearborn Chamber Makes Energy Connection Henry Ford Would Appreciate

It should come as no surprise perhaps that Dearborn, Michigan—home to Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company, which revolutionized America by making cars accessible to everyday Americans—should have a chamber of commerce that grasps the appeal of energy efficiency and clean energy to everyday businesses.

Just ask Jackie Lovejoy, President of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, and a native of Michigan with deep family roots in Dearborn.

Her members may not ask about clean energy by name, she says. But “if you ask how often members ask me how to cut their energy bill, save money, or take advantage of energy efficiency rebates, the answer is, all the time!”

Since joining the Dearborn Area Chamber 18 months ago, Lovejoy has been a champion for saving money by reducing energy waste—leading the way in helping her members save through energy efficiency and clean energy.

One of the chief ways she is doing this is by making the connection between all the assets the city has to offer from the business community, the utility, and the City itself to help Dearborn businesses save on energy costs.

Dearborn’s business community includes the international headquarters of Ford Motor Company, the Henry Ford Museum, and FordLand, Ford’s real estate arm. Dearborn is also home to LED lighting companies and solar companies such as Srinergy.

Among the energy resources—and chamber members—Lovejoy highlights are:

  • DTE Energy offers energy saving programs and rebates and has worked with Ford Motors to build Michigan’s largest solar array, the second largest solar carport in the Midwest. Funded by DTE Energy, the project will provide 360 covered parking spaces and 30 charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles.

“The SolarCurrents canopy project is an example of how DTE Energy and Ford are working to build a more energy-efficient and sustainable future,” said Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy Vice President of Marketing and Renewables. “At the same time, this project will help us come closer to meeting Michigan’s renewable energy goals and diversify our energy portfolio.”

The program allowed DTE Energy electric customers to purchase and install solar photovoltaic systems at their home or business by offering financial incentives to help offset out-of-pocket costs.

  • The City of Dearborn (through the leadership of Dave Norwood, attorney and Dearborn Sustainability Manager and formerly head of the City’s Building Department) provides significant leadership in deploying LED lighting and financing for energy upgrades through property assessed clean energy (PACE), while exploring of ways to convert waste to energy.
  • Finally, The Dearborn Country Club, a property inspired by Ford, which has benefited from energy retrofits made possible by Michigan Saves, a nonprofit dedicated to making energy improvements easier for Michigan energy consumers. After installing LED lighting, the Country Club is estimated to save about $43,000 a year in energy costs. (Please let us know if you want to learn more about this Michigan Saves program for your members.)

We think Dearborn’s own Henry Ford would have been proud.