Consumers Energy, Manistee County Habitat for Humanity partner

ONEKAMA–Consumers Energy has outfitted an affordable housing complex in Onekama with free energy efficiency upgrades, in partnership with Manistee County Habitat for Humanity and a local developer.

The appliances and upgrades will reduce long-term costs for customers residing in the complex and the property manager, ensuring it remains accessible for years to come. The collaboration provides a blueprint for similar partnerships in the future across Michigan.

“We know that clean energy is the future not only because it is better for the environment but because it is also more efficient and cost-effective for our customers,” said Lauren Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Consumers Energy. “This collaboration serves as an incredible template for other energy providers and housing experts to follow to meet a critical need in many communities around our state while also doing what is right for the planet.”

“Habitat for Humanity understands energy efficient utilities are part of the formula for sustaining affordable housing,” said Vanessa Buhs, Manistee County Habitat for Humanity executive director. “Thanks to this partnership with Consumers Energy, the residents of this complex will have a comfortable and safe place to live at a price point they can afford.”

During renovation by the new owner, Alex Zyskowski, the 8-unit complex received energy efficient refrigerators and water heaters, mini-splits for each unit, and air sealing and attic insulation, saving energy—and money—for residents. The upgrades also reduce long-term maintenance costs for Zyskowski, helping rent prices to remain affordable.

“Partnering with the Manistee County Habitat for Humanity and Consumers Energy made it economically feasible for me as a private developer to make these energy efficient upgrades possible,” said Zyskowski. “I’m grateful for their leadership as it allows us to bring affordable housing to the area without impacting the bottom line.”

Consumers Energy collaborated with Manistee County Habitat for Humanity staff to ensure residents of the complex, which is now full, were at 80 percent of the Manistee County area median income.

“This progressive approach to affordable housing is a great fit and asset to our community, and I look forward to seeing more projects like it developed across the state as others learn from this example,” said Randy Zakrajsek, Manistee County Habitat for Humanity board president.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan calls for eliminating coal as an energy source by 2025, achieving net-zero carbon emissions and meeting 90% of customers’ energy needs through clean sources, including wind and solar.

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