By Tom Lambert
Elm Plating Company is continuously taking steps to up its game and protect Michigan’s many environmental assets.
Company leaders at Elm Plating said that we have been a big help with their energy efficiency programs. By participating in these programs, Elm Plating has saved about $40,000 on reduced energy use at its four Jackson plants and benefited from additional rebates and incentives during the last two years.
“It’s been part of the company’s moral fabric to do the right things that will reduce our environmental footprint,” said Brian Boyer, Director of Environmental Engineering for Elm Plating. Established in 1951, the family-owned business specializes in quality metal finishing for products used in the automotive and construction industries.
“Our top priority is the quality of our services while protecting the environment. And Consumers Energy has been a big part of helping us to do this more efficiently.”
The savings have also led Elm Plating to create a sustainability committee in 2019. The 10-member team meets once a quarter and consists of company employees as well as a member from our energy efficiency team.
They discuss long- and short-term projects and determine if they will save money through reduced natural gas and electric use and if they are eligible for incentives or rebates offered by us.
“It’s another opportunity for us to come together to see how we can improve our energy management,” said Boyer. “It helps us stay in lock step while focusing on how we can stay ahead of regulatory and compliance requirements.”
Energy efficiency, renewables and demand response programs are all part of our Clean Energy Plan to protect the environment by embracing innovative and affordable energy solutions. We continue to partner with businesses to help them run more efficiently, save money and deliver a clean energy profile for our customers.
Elm Plating also participates in the demand response program, agreeing to lower energy use during a limited number of days each summer when customer demand for electricity is very high. The company enrolled three facilities in the program and has earned $76,250 in incentives the last two years by being flexible on its energy use.
Energy Savings Put Money Back Into Business
Boyer said some of the recent energy savings at Plant 1 can be largely credited to electric use reduction and rebates that resulted from 2019 upgrades implemented to the wastewater treatment system. Likewise, other savings have resulted from conducting a leak study to the company’s compressed air system and subsequently repairing the identified leaks.
“We will now save approximately $20,000 annually by using less electricity, and we put our rebate money right back into the business,” he added.
A total of 70 new LED lighting fixtures have also been installed within the Heat Treat portion of their facility, and the difference is like “night and day,” Boyer said.
“The new lighting definitely helps with visibility and safety with a much brighter work environment,” Boyer said. “It also really helps improve employee morale with regard to their work space.”
Another ongoing project our energy efficiency team is to measure and quantify Elm Plating’s new high-efficiency paint line for reduced gas and electrical use at their Plant 3 facility located on Hupp Street.
“We have two old paint lines that we are looking to update and replace with Consumers Energy’s help,” Boyer said. “Our new dip spin paint line is the most sophisticated paint line in the United States.”
“Our sustainability committee has put a sharper focus on Elm Plating’s commitment to not only our business operations, but also to our impact on the Michigan economy and environment through reduced energy use,” said Boyer.
“Our employees like that we have a sustainability commitment, it’s important in how we do business every day,” he said. “And our sustainability committee holds us accountable as a company to ensure we do our part.”