Scotts Family Earns Governor’s Citation

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The Russell Bartholomew family in front of their office building. From left to right: J.J. Piper, Thad, Ruth, Russ, Jr., Brad Bartholomew.

Utility customers who want to write smaller checks have a clear goal: Reduce energy usage. A Kalamazoo heating company that began its business in Scotts has gained statewide recognition for helping people achieve those reductions.

The owners of Bartholomew Heating and Cooling, siblings, were named “Contractor of the Year” at the first annual Governor’s Energy Excellence Awards, according to co-owner J.J. (Bartholomew) Piper.

“My brother Brad has a passion for helping people achieve more energy efficiency,” she said. “We were selected for the company’s work in helping more than 1,240 customers submit applications for energy-efficiency programs sponsored by Consumers Energy. Since 2011, projects the company has worked on have reduced residential natural gas by more than 121 million cubic feet and residential electricity usage by more than 10,000 megawatt-hours,” she said.

“In Michigan we are way behind in utility rebates. We are not solving the issue. We need to get to the root cause and use less energy.

“To do this, we need to take care of the whole envelope in a building by venting it properly, sealing pipes, and finding other ways to educate the building owner,” Piper said.

Consumers Energy offers rebates for a large number of energy-saving improvement projects. They include $200 or more for efficient furnaces and air-conditioning systems and various amounts for insulation, replacement windows, new thermostats and appliances.

Brad Bartholomew has been involved with two trade associations. Together they seek to increase the awareness of legislators and policy makers on how important the energy efficiency industry is for Michigan’s economy. That includes the health of its citizens, its environment, and the sustainability of its businesses. He is past president of the Michigan Air Conditioning Contractors Association, and currently serves as president of the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association.

This three-generation company was founded by Russell Bartholomew Sr. Ruth and Russell Bartholomew Jr owned it in Scotts, where they had a home office. A move to Emerald Drive in Kalamazoo came as the company expanded. The first two generations are unofficially retired but still keep a hand in things. J.J. and Brad have been joined in the business by Thad Bartholomew. Another brother, Rod, works for Consumers Energy. Which means it’s all in the family.

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