One of the most innovative features of the University of Michigan's (U-M) Energy Program is the Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) Fund. Established in 1988, this is a self perpetuating funding mechanism for supporting projects that reduce energy consumption in U-M buildings.

In 1996, the U.S. Department of Energy named the U-M ECM the number one project in the Building Technology category in their National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Awards Program. The competition involved more than 225 entries.


Applicable Regulations


Overview of Procedure
Nearly 10 years ago, the U-M established the ECM, a self-sustaining fund earmarked to pay for energy efficiency improvements in U-M buildings, with an initial allocation of $2 million. For each of the last seven years the account has received annual allocations from a fund transfer from the U-M utility account (where energy savings related to the ECM are reflected).

The fund is overseen by a committee representing various segments of the U-M community. Applications for funding are accepted from any source; however, each application must be supported by sufficient engineering analysis to confirm the soundness of the project. As a general rule, only projects having a payback of five years or less are supported by the ECM.


Waste Minimization Procedure
Not applicable.


Known Limitations
None known.


Safety & Health Precautions/Personal Protective Equipment
Not applicable.


Often, lack of funding is a major obstacle to implementing even the most promising of energy conservation projects. This in turn can lead to energy conservation projects that are done inadequately or not at all. The ECM insures that funding will be available for those projects that are shown to be viable to reduce energy consumption in U-M buildings.


None known.


Project Related Costs
Since its inception in 1988, the program has supported 79 separate projects, costing approximately $8 million. Beginning in 1995-96, the account achieved "profitability" in terms of total accumulated savings exceeding total project costs. To date, the U-M has documented over $8 million in energy cost savings. The quantity of energy saved is roughly 2.5 trillion BTUs, representing enough energy to supply about 150 large office buildings for one year.