As DTE Energy continues to transform how its customers get electricity and natural gas, they also achieved significant success last year in reducing energy use and waste at their own facilities. These efforts are expanding in 2017 as we work to become a leader in energy management.

“Our goal is to significantly improve environmental stewardship efforts over the next three years,” said DTE Energy facilities director Amy Joyce. “We’re broadening both our energy efficiency efforts and our focus on solid waste reduction.  We continue to look for more solutions to help us reach that goal.”

Increased recycling 

With consistent measurement and metrics, the amount of material recycled at the company’s Detroit-based headquarters complex continues to rise. In 2016, DTE recycled more than 150 tons of material and reduced our solid waste generation by 14 percent from 2015.

“DTE recently added compostable carry out containers to its cafeteria at the headquarters complex,” said Waste Management representative Steve Rosengarten. “Most of the materials are now recyclable.”

More environmentally-friendly changes are coming soon as well. The traditional trashcans in the Detroit headquarters cafeteria will be replaced with Bigbelly solar-powered trash compactors. After that, a re-usable dishware program will be launched to further reduce solid waste.

Enterprise-wide sustainability efforts

DTE also reduced electricity use by 1.95 million kilowatt hours thanks to workplace and lighting upgrade projects at a series of buildings in Detroit, Melvindale and other communities.

“We see big energy efficiency improvements when we replace older fluorescent lights with LED’s,” said Steve Orsargos, manager, DTE Facilities Portfolio and Space Management.

As this work continues, facilities throughout DTE will become more efficient. The vast majority of the materials used in building upgrade projects are environmentally friendly, including chairs that are 97 percent recyclable at end of life.

Broadening focus in 2017

This year, energy assessments at more than 40 DTE buildings will allow them to develop a roadmap for energy efficiency improvements by using a Energy Management toolbox to gather data and benchmark best practices for operational, maintenance and system upgrades.

“Using this tool enables us to prioritize and track energy efficiency projects identified through a performance dashboard based on actual data,” said DTE energy manager Frank Schulmeister.

Assessments are already underway in Southeast Michigan with plans to move to buildings in western Michigan before June.

How you can help?

  • Participate in recycling programs – Use any available recycling bins.
  • Turn off your vehicle – Eliminating eight minutes of idling per day in a four-cylinder vehicle saves 32 gallons of gas and offsets 704 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, so reducing idling is a great way to protect the environment and save resources.
  • Practice energy efficiency Learn about tips and projects that can help you save energy and money.

Together, these small, daily efforts can have a big impact in our communities.

“Our customers want us to operate sustainably – to leave our state and our world better than we found it,” Joyce said. “Efforts like this will help us reduce our impact on the environment which will help us exceed customer expectations.”

Committed to greener Michigan

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