February 2019 Print

President's Message

Our amazing chapter president Jaime Rueffer wrote you a great President's message in  January...and I didn't get it published until I still wanted to provide it, with my apologies.  I will do better moving forward--Rob Terpstra, Chapter Newsletter.


Happy New Year West Michigan IFMA members!  Thanks to all who made it out for the annual Toys for Tots luncheon.  I’m so grateful that we have been able to partner with the Toys for Tots and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in support of families in our own community for so many years.  And, we were able to enjoy a delicious meal and catch up with our peers as well!


To recap 2018, we’ve had many great events such as the awards banquet, Whitecaps game, golf outing and shoot for scholars fundraisers as well as variety of interesting presentations on topics including integrated project delivery, updates to the IFMA credential certifications, Global Workforce Initiative, City of Grand Rapids development, new ASHRAE lighting code updates, and emergency preparedness.  These events and presentations would not be a success if it were not for the many great volunteers and members who support the chapter in so many ways and for that I’d like to say Thank you, all of you, for all that you do! 


We’re looking forward to another successful year and we already have some exciting topics planned for the next few meetings.  Be sure to check out the website or calendar periodically to see what is coming up.  You won’t want to miss this month’s presentation on Resilient, Low Energy and Net Zero Energy Buildings.  If you have some thoughts on topics for future meetings be sure to connect with Tera Wierenga, our VP of Programs.

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Welcome New Members

Welcome to our newest members

Ty Beckering, Triangle
Carol Helsel, Third Coast Test and Blance
Danyelle Versluis, Grand Valley Automation, Inc.

Considering becoming a member, contact our Director of Membership Alison DeKok with questions at  

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Calendar of Events

Join us on February 20th for an informative presentation by James Leidel with DTE Energy!  This meeting will be held in the Training Room of Pleune Service Company (park enter in the back off of Linden Ave SE) 750 Himes Street SE Grand Rapids, MI 49548

Resilient, Low Energy and Net Zero Energy Buildings Founded on Combined Heat and Power (Cogeneration)

For many businesses and institutions, energy efficiency and clean energy are now becoming part of everyday business.  Close to one half of Fortune 500 companies have set energy targets using metrics of greenhouse gas reductions, energy efficiency or renewable energy usage. What are the strategies utilized by highly efficient commercial and industrial facilities in both their building systems, processes and energy supply?  This presentation will provide an overview of strategies that can be implemented to achieve 50% and 75% energy reductions as well as the ultimate goal of zero net energy (ZNE).  The definition of zero net energy will be discussed.  We will consider the ability to engineer a low energy system based on the metric of net "source energy" that would have otherwise been provided by remote, central power generation combined with highly efficient building systems and processes, combined with on-site solar and wind energy installations.  Some amount of natural gas technologies, such as combined heat and power (CHP), can still be utilized using this definition of ZNE.  Lastly, off site, remote installations of renewables may be necessary to fully implement a ZNE energy operation.  Case studies will be offered to showcase successful implementations of individual strategies.

James Leidel has been involved in the energy and energy management industries since his graduation from Purdue University with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1990. From 1991 to 2001, he worked in various positions with Invensys Building Systems (formerly Barber-Colman) and Detroit Edison, followed by 10 years as Energy Manger for Oakland University’s Facilities Management Department. In 2011, James created the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) within the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University, and he then moved over to be the director, where he worked on prototypes and commercialization of several new clean energy technologies as well as support OU and other organization’s clean energy infrastructure needs. In August of 2017, James returned to DTE Energy to support the DTE Gas industrial and commercial group with a focus on Combined Heat and Power Systems.

While at OU, James assisted with the development of multiple power projects totaling over 8.3 MW encompassing solar PV, gas turbines and reciprocating peakers.  In the midst of the above career, James completed an MS in mechanical engineering from U-M.  He also provided studies for many other institutions for CHP, utility scale solar and wind systems.  While at Oakland U, James taught Environmental Science, “Energy and the Environment”, as well as multiple mechanical engineering courses including a newly developed clean energy curricula including alternative energy, CHP systems, CHP, green buildings and energy management.

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News Bites

The Home Builders Association of Western Michigan (Kalamazoo) has invited IFMA West Michigan to partner on skilled-trades workforce development projects that also have a positive impact on our communities across West Michigan.  Former IFMA Foundation Executive Director Jeff Tafel, now leading the HBA, is working to increase the number of individuals moving into skilled trades and built environment careers and providing opportunities for working families to get above the poverty line in Allegan County with the Allegan County Community Action Agency and other partnering organizations.  Contact Jeff Tafel for more information.

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