Odawa Casino Resort wins Governor's Energy Excellence Award - Insights

Odawa Casino Resort wins Governor’s Energy Excellence Award

Odawa Casino Resort, located in Petoskey, Mich., has been honored with a Governor’s Energy Excellence Award for Best Project in the Commercial/Private sector.

The Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards honors Michigan organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement in reducing energy waste. Nominations were spread across eight different categories in order to showcase exceptional commitment to responsible energy production and consumption across a variety of project types.

2016 Governor’s Energy Excellence Award Winner – Odawa Casino Resort for Best Project in the Commercial/Private sector. Left to right: Joe McHugh (Great Lakes Energy), Dave Heinz (Odawa Casino Resort), Ron Gatlin (Odawa Casino Resort), and Thomas Mann (Great Lakes Energy).

Odawa Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, completed a number of efficiency improvements by engaging employees in a company-wide grassroots movement to save energy. After a massive upgrade to LED lighting, improvements in IT infrastructure, and installation of variable speed pumps, the resort had saved nearly 1.4 million kWh of electricity and more than 26,000 MMBTU of natural gas by the end of 2015. These enhancements helped the tribe fulfill one of its most important responsibilities: protecting Mother Earth.

In addition to significant, ongoing utility cost savings (more than $400,000 annually), Odawa Casino Resort received $81,000 in incentives from their electric provider, Great Lakes Energy Cooperative, through the Energy Optimization program. Overall, the improvement projects boast an average return on investment of less than seven months.

Another Energy Optimization program participant, Miller Family Farm (Carney), was honored as a Finalist vying for a coveted Governor’s Energy Excellence Award. Established in 2013, Miller Family Farm specializes in aquaponics to grow vegetables year-round. This sustainable, organic method of farming is free of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, and uses a fraction of the water expended in traditional field growing methods.

After upgrading to high-efficiency LED grow lights in their greenhouse, Miller Family Farm expects to save more than 80,000 kWh of electricity annually. The farm earned $5,000 in incentives from their electric provider, Alger Delta Cooperative Electric Association, through the Energy Optimization program. The farm will reinvest the earnings in future energy-saving improvements.

Coveyou Scenic Farm Market (Petoskey), another Great Lakes Energy Cooperative Energy Optimization program participant, received Honorable Mention for their installation of a high-efficiency ground source heat pump. Other program participants nominated this year include Peterson Farms (Shelby) and Tecumseh High School (Tecumseh).

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