Radio Centre, East Bay Plaza Net Energy Savings

Office buildings and shopping centers use large amounts of energy – but also represent major opportunities for energy saving measures.

Venture North recently approved two more loans from its Energy Efficiency Loan Fund with Traverse City Light and Power Co. for Radio Centre in downtown Traverse City, and the East Bay Plaza Shopping Center along US-31 in East Bay Township. Both loans are for lighting system replacements and upgrades that will reduce energy costs for both properties by thousands of dollars each year.

For Radio Centre, a mixed-use office and commercial building on East Front Street near the Hardy Park Deck, it’s the third loan tapped for energy upgrades for the building. The first, a $36,300 loan in 2013, paid for new insulation throughout the building, while a second $36,000 loan in spring 2016 funded HVAC upgrades that allowed for zonal heating and cooling of upper-level studio space used on the weekends without impacting the rest of the building.

The latest loan, for $26,000, will pay for LED lighting upgrades covering more than 40,000 square feet of office space in the building. Chris Warren, general manager of Midwestern Broadcasting that owns Radio Centre, said the lighting replacement will generate close to $10,000 a year in reduced electric costs for the building.

“For us, going to LED lighting was the next logical energy upgrade,” Warren said. “That’s created a pretty good return on investment.”

A side benefit, Warren said, is reduced labor and maintenance costs for less frequent light bulb replacement, as LED lights can last up to 10 years or longer.

Outdoor lighting replacement across the spacious parking lot at East Bay Plaza was the result of a $49,770 Energy Efficiency Loan, property owner Tom McIntyre said. Working with local energy consultants Keen Technical Solutions, McIntyre said their effort identified about $8,000 in energy savings each year by installing LED lighting through the plaza parking, which should be completed by year’s end.

“We were very happy to find out about this program,” McIntyre said. “It worked out really for us.”
Visit Venture North’s website to learn more about Energy Efficiency Fund.