Kalamazoo College Recognized as Green Generation Customer of the Year by Consumers Energy

Seven K representatives accept Green Generation Customer of the Year award

Consumers Energy (CE) named Kalamazoo College as its 2013 Green Generation Customer of the Year. From left are Binney Girdler, K associate professor of biology; Emma Dolce ′14, sustainability intern; Katie Ray ′14, sustainability intern; Paul Manstrom, K associate vice president for facilities management; Lisa Gustafson, CE business customer care director; Thomas Shirilla, CE business account manager; and Kevin Linders, CE senior corporate account manager.

[Sept. 27, 2013] Consumers Energy has named Kalamazoo College its “Green Generation Customer of the Year” in recognition of the College’s overall sustainability effort and its voluntary participation in this renewable energy program.

The 1,450-student liberal arts and sciences college located midway between Detroit and Chicago purchases 720,000 kilowatt-hours (KWh) of renewable energy annually from Consumers Energy, enough to supply 8 percent of the College’s total electrical usage.

“Sustainability is a strong focus at Kalamazoo College. Receiving this award lets us know that others recognize our commitment to the environment and that gives us reason to be proud,” said Paul Manstrom, K’s associate vice president for facilities management. “We began purchasing electricity through the Green Generation program as part of a project to renovate the Hicks Student Center on campus to standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, earning the first LEED Silver certification in southwest Michigan in the process. We’ve found that participating in Green Generation has been a great fit for us.”

Kalamazoo College has been a Green Generation participant since January 2009. It’s one of the Top 10 participants in the Green Generation program, having purchased more than 2.5 million KWh of renewable energy since enrolling. The recently-completed Athletics Field House and the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (currently under construction) will be the two “greenest” buildings on campus, furthering the college’s sustainability credentials.

“It’s with great enthusiasm we single out the achievements of Kalamazoo College in supporting renewable energy efforts in Michigan,” said Thomas Shirilla, Consumers Energy’s program manager for Green Generation. “K’s leadership in this voluntary program is commendable. It demonstrates commitment to and optimism for Michigan’s future.”

Past Green Generation customer of the year recipients are Irwin Seating, Grand Rapids Community College, University of Michigan – Flint, Dow Corning, City of Grand Rapids, and Wolverine Worldwide.

Consumers Energy’s Green Generation program has nearly 17,000 customer-participants and was the first voluntary renewable energy program in Michigan. It was launched in 2005 following authorization by the Michigan Public Service Commission. More than 100 organizations are enrolled in the Green Generation program.

Green Generation has led to the development of several renewable energy projects in the state, including the Michigan Wind 1 park in the Thumb region. Other Green Generation projects include biomass facilities located near Birch Run, Lennon, and Marshall. Consumers Energy also purchases electricity for the program generated by wind turbines near Mackinaw City. All of the projects are located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and all sources are Green-e certified as renewable.

The Green Generation program offers Consumers Energy’s electric customers an opportunity to support renewable energy by enrolling in the voluntary program and paying a small premium. Program information is available at https://new.consumersenergy.com/residential/programs-and-services/green-generation.

Kalamazoo College (www.kzoo.edu) was founded in 1833 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It is the oldest college in Michigan and among the 100 oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States. K is a nationally recognized liberal arts and sciences college with nearly 1,450 students and the creator of the K-Plan that emphasizes rigorous scholarship, experiential learning, leadership development, and international and intercultural engagement. Kalamazoo College does more in four years so students can do more in a lifetime.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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Consumers Energy Media Contacts: Roger Morgenstern, 517/530-4364 or Terry DeDoes, 517/374-2159