DTE's Energy Business program saving money for small Mich. businesses

Content sponsored and provided by DTE Energy.

When you hear the words DTE in southeast Michigan, your first thought might be your gas and utility bill. But DTE has been helping local Michigan business save energy and money since 2009.

Fenton's Jamaican Jerk Chicken in Southfield is just one of many Michigan business that's reducing it's carbon footprint.

"A friend of mine told me about it, and I also received a call from DTE," says restaurant owner Fenton Oscar Brown. "They came in and found out a lot of things wrong and they told me what to do. Also they stepped up and helped out."

How does the DTE Business Energy Program work and who can participate?

"The DTE business energy program has many facets to it. The one that we currently implemented at this sight was Business Energy Consultation. This is a program that's available to small- to medium-sized customers that allows us to do an audit at their facility to determine energy efficient ways and products that we can install to reduce their energy cost," says William Clemens, manager of Commercial Industrial Programs.

All DTE customers can participate whether they are electric or gas, or both, as long as they pay the energy surcharge. The way to tell that is to look on your bill and there is a line that says energy surcharge. If you are paying that you can participate in the program.

What changes did Fenton make to his building?

"We did a complete walk though we looked at the entire building envelope," says Clemens.  "We replaced all of the incandescent lights, converted them to CFL. We replaced all the aerators on the faucets in the bathrooms. We replaced the rinse spray nozzle in the food preparation areas. We counseled them also on how to reduce energy on their actual devices where they store the food and for food preparation."

From those small changes, Fenton has already seen his energy consumption decrease -- as well as his bill.

"I used to pay rent rent in this location over $900; now I'm paying less than $600," Brown says.

The program continues to grow as more local small to medium business want to conserve energy and save money

"We started out in 2009 with 2,000 customers. Last year we had up to 10,000 customers participate," Clemens says.

You can find more information from DTE's website here