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Michigan offers free energy and pollution audits to businesses

Corey Seeman

A  state program is offering free help to businesses looking for ways to conserve energy and reduce waste.

Teams of retired engineers perform about 100 efficiency audits each year for businesses with 500 or fewer Michigan employees – and for any public institution.

"Our intent is simply to help them be more efficient and cost effective while at the same time helping to improve the environment," said David Herb, manager of the Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program, also called RETAP.

RETAP clients are given written, confidential reports with specific recommendations to reduce energy use, conserve water,  eliminate waste, and save money.  Herb said the program helps businesses grow while also preventing pollution.

The businesses don't have to adopt the audit recommendations, according to Herb. But most clients report acting on 70 percent or more of the recommendations within two years.

"On average we identify over $40,000 in potential cost savings per facility assessed," said Herb. In the case of manufacturing facilities, the potential cost savings average $65,000.

RETAP has conducted over 1,900 audits since it began in 1994.  Herb said there are more than 40 engineers active in the program, and each has 30 to 40 years of experience with Michigan industries.

– Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom