RCE Grand Rapids-2011

1. General Information
Contact Name(s): 
Kristin van Reesema
Rennie Ramlal
Organizational Affiliation : 
employee of Consumers Energy
consultant/contractor for Consumers Energy
Role in the project: 
Project manager
Strategic implementation advisor
Project-relevant information: 
2. Project Information
1. Project title: 
Consumers Energy's SmartStreet project
2. Project Description: 
SmartStreet offers a sneak peek at emerging opportunities for saving energy, saving money and improving the environment. A year-long pilot project centered in the Grand Rapids Michigan community of East Hills, SmartStreet previews the ways Consumers Energy is preparing to meet growing energy demand with renewable energy resources and greater energy efficiency.
SmartStreet has installed smart meters at approximately 60 homes and businesses in the neighborhood. Particpants have received energy audits and energy efficiency upgrades which include lighting and occupancy sensors. Using web portals and home energy display units, participants can track and actively control their energy usage in near real time. A plug-in-electric vehicle (PEV) charging station and solar generator were also installed in the East Hills area to reflect the program's committment to clean, renewable energy. Finally, a Kill-a-Watt loan program was implemented in the East Hills neighborhood; residents can check out a Kill-a-Watt meter, monitor various appliances in the home and ascertain the energy usage and cost associated with those appliances-perhaps replacing/repairing appliances when operating outside of acceptable ranges as recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.The SoP is a living, learning, laboratory focused on developing an integrated urban community strategy that can be replicated in other urban settings and communities. The collective work and outcomes are driven b y three key principles: 1) those who live in an urban community need to drive their improvement strategy; 2) those who serve that community need to align the delivery of assistance and support to integrate with that improvement strategy; and 3) the community's improvement strategy needs to be self-sustaining.
The SoP also models the integration of sustainability and community vitality in social, environmental, economic and community impact areas. Other key principles which guide the SoP project include: asset-based community development, empowerment coaching, and continuous process improvement.
3. Project Status: 
4. Key Words
Key Words: 
energy efficiency, cost savings, environment, smart grid technology
5. Project categories
Project categories: 
Awareness building
Networking and partnership development
6. Expected outcomes:: 
Engaged members of the public (EMP) will learn to identify basic measures that can be taken in the home and business to increase overall energy efficiency with focus on lowering energy costs (bills) and reducing environmental impact
EMP will learn that basic energy saving measures include simple energy efficiency upgrades (efficient lighting, furnace/air conditioning tuneups, weatherizing windows and doors, etc.) and behavioral modifications (turn lights off in unoccupied rooms optimize programmable thermostat settings, unplug "vampire" loads, etc.).
EMP will appreciate the value and ease of use of renewable energy generation via the solar generator and display installed as part of the project.
Project participants will learn to use the smart meter web portal to monitor energy usage and optimize usage by means of the measures outlined above. Participants will also actively and regularly make use of the web portal. Additionally, participants will be able to view the environmental impact (carbon footprint) associated with their annual electricity usage. Kill-a-watt loan participants will identify sources of extraneous loads in the home and take action to address such loads.
Research institutions will collect and analyze participants' electricity usage data to determine the efficacy of the SmartStreet program, as well as uantif the energy and cost savings that are realized by way of SmartStreet participation.
Consumers Energy (CE) will also collect participants' data and feedback, make a determine on the efficacy of the SmartStreet project and use the results obtained to adapt future program and technology offerings to customers.
Consumers Energy will evaluate the vendors and various technologies associated with smart grid equipment and make a determination on vendor and technology selection for full (future) smart grid deployment throughout their service area.
Target outcomes include: families are developing more effectively; youth at Dickinson middle school are at or exceeding grade level skills; the community is creating and using its own capital; there is a significant increases in sustained residential employment; and a strong corporate social responsibility benefit has been achieved.
7. Duration of the Project:: 
Q4 2010-Q4 2011
3. Project Leadership & Vision
8. Project coordination (e.g. teams): 
9. Leadership structure
a. Administration: 
b. Transactional: 
c. Transformational: 
4. Project results
10. Project results : 
What are the current results of the project in terms of Outcomes:
Active participants have identified several energy usage anomalies (by monitoring the web portal) which when addressed, have led to energy and cost savings.
Project outreach and educational efforts have resulted in inquiries from individuals and organizations about participating in the project or any future projects of similar nature.
News and advocacy organizations have featured project efforts which have aided in furthering the project goal of education and driving awareness.
Smart meter installations have allowed CE to identify electrical-circuit issues at several properties that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Energy efficiency upgrades have increased customer traffic for some of the project's commercial participants-for example, one participant indicated that the newly installed LED lighting is much better than the previous incandescent bulbs and better showcases his wares. Store traffic has increased as a result of customers' positive perceptions of the quality of lighting in the proprietor's store.
The solar panel display h as prompted inquiries into CE's existing green generation and customer-owned generation programs.
Low-income neighborhoods have approached CE with respect to hosting educational seminars/events s residents can learn how smart grid technology can help households save money.
Some environmental groups, which are normally vociferous in speaking out against fossil fuel generation, have partnered with CE through the SmartStreet project and have become passionate project advocates.
11. Contribution to reforms and innovations: 
The project serves as an educational and instructional vehicle in the community and the utility with respect to energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid deployment benefits.
SmartStreet (SS) will enable CE to develop programs, products and services that are customized to the needs of its customers.
Demonstrate to communities and legislature the benefits associated with the SS project which will in turn influence current deliberations into the efficacy, safety and security of smart grid networks. Project success will result in full deployment activity which will help position the City of Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan along the national's leading edge of energy efficient entities with reduced overall carbon footprint.
12. Unexpected / unplanned results: 
13.Core Partners: 
City of Grand Rapids, East Hills Council of Neighbors, Environmental Defense Fund, Masco Home Services/WellHome, Full Spectrum Solutions, Honeywell Utility Solutions, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Choose Renewables, Cascade Renewable Energy, Silver Spring Networks, Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Community College, Rockford Construction, Habitat for Humanity-Kent County, Schaafsma Heating and Cooling, Uni-Solar, Michigan State University
5. Partnership and networking
14. Project Network
a. Information network: 
b. Knowledge network: 
c. Innovation network: 
6. Participation
15. Type of involvement: 
Partners supply valuable consulting services (design, outreach, etc.) and provide sponsorship in the form of grants and equipment donations. Partners also offer feedback on project direction and some are involved in data analysis. Finally partners serve as gateways for networking opportunities with other organizations within the industry.
16. Participation opportunities
a. Informational participation: 
b. Consultation participation: 
c. Decision influencing participation : 
7. Education & Learning
17. Educational activities: 
Comprehensive project presentations are offered to CE employees, sponsors partners, educational institutions and the public at large. Presentations are usually tailored to the specific interests of the listening audience.
Educational videos are looped onto monitors strategically placed in the East Hills area and are accessible to the public. Most are available on Consumers Energy's website or social media sites.
Guided and self-guided tours of the SmartStreet project area are offered to the public. Guided tours provide information to attendees during the tour. TOur maps which include important project information and markers are provided to tour attendees.
Project brochures and tour maps are available in many locations around the Grand Rapids area (including coffee shops libraries, colleges, etc.)
A diverse range of educational events are either hosed by or participated in by CE employees. SmartStreet sponsors many other events which provide the occasion to host presentations or distribute educational materials (for example SS sponsored an outdoor concert services in East Hills in summer, 2011).
SmartStreet team members presented project information to a diverse array of organizations such as the Michigan Solid State Lighting Association and the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
A wealth of information and resources are offered on the SmartStreet website.
Smart meter web portal training sessions are regularly offered to project participants.
Presentations are typically augmented with demonstration tools. For example, a portable lighting display was designed and constructed to demonstrate the different in electricity usage between various types of lighting-comparing incandescent bulbs to CFLs and LEDs.
Project participants, personnel and sponsors are encouraged to blog about learnings and experiences associated with the project on a SmartStreet weblog (blog). THe blog is accessible by the public, who can leave comments and facilitate further discussion.
Social media is employed as an educational tool to disseminate information as well as point the p ublic to educational resources and inform them of upcoming events and activities.
18. Learning activities: 
Meetings are held with various groups at different levels on a weekly or monthly basis. Meetings are typically informational, collaborative and strategic planning sessions. The SS blog is also used as a tool to facilitate learning and discussion. Internal newsletters inform project stakeholders and CE employees of project status and activities. A running "What's Happening" portion of the SS website keeps stakeholders updated on project activities. Project trackers and a "Lessons learned" document provide detailed documentation of project activities, issues etc. which are the basis of review, reflection and learning.
19. Educational activities
a. Theory: 
b. Discussion: 
c. Interactive and Multidimensional "action oriented education": 
8. Research Integration
20. Research & Development (R&D): 
Total energy usage, usage patterns, demographics, property statistics (size,age,etc) and energy efficiency upgrade results will be used to idetify trends within project parameters and constraints. Multiple regression analysis will identify drivers of energy usage, allowing for the modeling of human behavior modification/adaptation as a function of access to near real-time energy usage information. The economic and environmental impact of the project's activities will also be determined as part of the analysis.
Additionally, project data will be used in the development of a home-energy monitoring and control system whereby appliance signatures will be captured and identified by light and acoustic sensors. Information will be fed into a processing hub whereby differential algorithms will be employed to calculate individual appliance energy usage.
21. Research partners: 
Michigan State University -- computer science and engineering
Grand Valley State University -- accounting, economics, computer science and engineering
22. Description of research
a. Disciplinary: 
b. Interdisciplinary: 
c. Transdisciplinary: 
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