Michigan companies honored for energy efficiency at governor's ceremony

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Since taking office, Gov. Rick Snyder has made it a point to make the state a leader in renewable energy. Now he's recognizing the companies that are making Michigan a greener state.

Snyder praised green companies at Thursday night's third annual Governor's Energy Excellence Awards ceremony at the Detroit Marriott. A total of 23 businesses, organizations and individuals from across the state were recognized for their efforts to improve energy efficiency.

One of those businesses is Better World Builders out of Kalamazoo. It was the recipient of contractor of the year.

"We like to take old residential houses and make them perform like a new house, energy efficiency wise, comfort wise, durability wise," Mark Lee said.

First they find the parts of a building that are wasting energy and get that under control. The next step is to improve the heating and cooling systems and then look towards renewable energy.

"We have the passion for the industry. Both Mark and I are sort of experimenters and tinker-ers, and we really have the passion to make things net zero and to make things resilient, and we've made that our company motto - resiliency," Dale Neville said.

The Hycal Corporation of Gibraltar was recognized for best project in industrial and manufacturing. The facility was built on the old McLouth Steel plant in Trenton and turned it into an energy-efficient facility that now produces lightweight steel for auto suppliers and manufacturers.

"By insulating the entire building, we have created an environment now where we have a few heaters in there, but they don't have to run because we're recapturing all the heat off the process. We're keeping it inside the building by sealing up all the vents," Steve Swan said.