By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE — Residents wishing to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes through participation in a state grant program have until April 1 to contact the city.
Southgate was among a dozen Michigan cities selected last year for the The Better Buildings for Michigan Energy Efficiency grant.
City Administrator Brandon Fournier said that the state-funded $1 million program expires March 31, and that at least 200 Southgate homes participated in the program.
“The majority were from the original target area,” Fournier said. “Some took advantage of all of the programs, some just the subsidized package.”
The original grant offered to Southgate residents last year included a designated area near Grogan Elementary School.
Homes in the neighborhood qualified due to age, materials used at the time of construction and building characteristics.
Participating residents paid a nominal $50 fee for an audit of their home with state-of-the-art equipment to identify energy waste or loss.
Depending upon the results, participating homeowners qualified for additional incentives, rebates and discounts and, in some cases, low- or no-interest loans. Participants received a kit that included energy-saving devices, programmable thermostats, water-efficient shower heads and other home upgrades.
Response to the program was strong enough that it was expanded to include all homes in Southgate, and residents need to apply prior to April 1.
Fournier said that at the moment there are no plans for a similar residential program, either by the state or city, but this year Michigan launched a similar program, Michigan Saves, for commercial businesses. Fournier and city officials expected to encourage and work with eligible businesses in the city.
Applications for the Better Buildings grant are available online at the city website, www.southgatemi.org.