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Wrapping up Energy Audits – Thank You!

This summer, SSP’s Regional Energy Catalyst brought together energy experts to the communities of Haines, Hoonah, and Prince of Wales Island to help commercial building owners identify energy savings through a Level I Walk Through Energy Audit. With the help  of on-the-ground Community Catalysts, the team was able to identify plenty of interested commercial building owners, managers and tenants.  Jim Fowler of Energy Audits of Alaska audited 35 buildings totaling nearly 230,000ft2! These Level I Audits were paid for by the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with support from Southeast Conference, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, and Alaska Energy Authority. By coordinating the audits all together, the cost of these audits was cut by an estimated 2/3. The effort also included free energy workshops and outreach to numerous other building owners, managers and tenants through a ‘walking workshop.”

Direct follow up is being provided for all building owners that received an audit report.  The real results will hopefully be realized in the coming weeks and months.  We are optimistic that businesses can save money on their bottom line with energy efficiency measures, and hopefully re-invest in their businesses and community.  Thank you to all participants and partners!

EE Workshop Partners


Haines and Hoonah: Save energy and money in your commercial building!

Find out if you can save 30% on your energy costs!  With the help of many great partners, we are excited to bring this commercial energy efficiency workshop to Hoonah and Haines!  Limited availability- sign up for the workshop and energy audit today!  Public and Private commercial buildings that submit two years of energy data are eligible for the free Level I energy audit. What is a Level I Energy Audit?  Learn More HERE.

EE Workshop PartnersSchedule of Events:


June 9

Free Level I Energy Audits by Jim Fowler of Energy Audits of Alaska

For a free Level I audit, submit your building energy form to s.kilcoyne@realaska.org by June 3 or contact Shaina Kilcoyne at 907-331-7409 for assistance.  It will take about 1.5 hours to do the walk through with Mr. Fowler.

June 10

Free Commercial Energy Efficiency Workshop at the new Hoonah Indian Association Office from 9 – 10:30am

Stick around to speak one-on-one with the experts from 10:30 – noon


June 11 

Free Commercial Energy Efficiency Workshop at the Haines Borough Public Library – Community Room from 9 – 10:30am

Stick around to speak one-on-one with the experts from 10:30 – noon

June 12 

Free Level I Energy Audits by Jim Fowler of Energy Audits of Alaska

For a free Level I audit, submit your building energy form to s.kilcoyne@realaska.org by June 3 or contact Shaina Kilcoyne at 907-331-7409 for assistance.  This will take about 1.5 hours to do the walk through with Mr. Fowler.

Commercial Energy Efficiency Workshop Topics:

  • The business case for energy efficiency
  • Funding options
  • Practical next steps from audit to savings
  • Protecting your investment – the value of good operations and maintenance
  • Direct support for taking the first step

Feel free to contact Shaina at (907) 331-7409 or s.kilcoyne@realaska.org with any questions

The Energy Secret Everyone is Talking About

Across the board we see an average savings potential of about 30% through the implementation of cost effective efficiency measures. Energy efficiency generally has the highest return on investment of any energy project. The high cost of fuel can have a real impact on the bottom line. Although you can’t control the cost of fuel, you can keep costs down by managing how much energy your building uses. However you look at it, energy efficiency is a smart investment.

Photos from Alaska Energy Authority

Photos from Alaska Energy Authority

Sustainable communities need sustainable businesses that aren’t stifled by volatile energy prices. Tightening up buildings, changing out lights, and properly using programmable thermostats are some of the ways to allow businesses to keep costs down and even bring on more local employees. We are working to identifying as many building owners, tenants and managers as possible in the SSP communities with the help of community catalysts, in order to help them develop an energy saving strategy.

Taking the first step to get an energy audit can seem daunting. SSP communities with need will have the opportunity to participate in an efficiency workshop for non-residential buildings. Interested parties (private and public) should contact Shaina, the SSP Energy Catalyst at s.kilcoyne@realaska.org.

Striving for a Clean Energy Future in Southeast

Over the past few weeks I have been working through Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP’s) Rural Issues Committee to support funding for the Village Energy Efficiency Program (VEEP) in the Governor’s Budget.

About VEEP:

Over the past decade the State has funded the program; which was managed through the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). In FY 14, VEEP was funded to the tune of $1.2 million to fund seven different rural communities (out of 84 applicants) across Alaska to implement energy efficiency measures in public buildings, school districts, and tribal offices. These funds have successfully leveraged additional local and federal resources and will save the State millions more over the next ten years. By providing funding for efficiency measures that allow a community to leverage their own resources and manpower against the state’s funding we can collaboratively reduce the cost to run school districts, city offices, washeterias, tribal offices and clinics.

This program offers opportunities to southeast communities, many of which suffer from diesel dependency and high-energy costs. Last year I worked with a high energy cost Southeast community to submit an application to VEEP. This program has high demand and an impressive payback ($3 return for every $1 invested, according to AEA). I will continue to work with the Rural Issues Committee and Southeast communities to support further funding for VEEP and welcome others to join us.

Hoonah: A Hotbed for Entrepreneurship?

Working with the Hoonah Indian Association has allowed me to be involved in the many opportunities for localized, clean energy in Hoonah. In October, I spent some time in Hoonah with HIA discussing different opportunities with consultants looking at various outside the box possibilities. John Hillman of Hoonah Indian Association likes to say that if it can’t be done in Hoonah, it can’t be done anywhere.

Gartina Falls, Photo Courtesy of Bethany Goodrich

Gartina Falls, Photo Courtesy of Bethany Goodrich

Currently, a district loop sends waste heat from the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative’s (IPEC’s) generators to multiple buildings downtown, including the school and pool. IPEC is also in the midst of constructing a hydroelectric project, Gartina Falls Hydro, which is expected to supply about 30% of the community’s electricity with clean, local, inexhaustible renewable energy. There are certainly more energy efficiency and biomass opportunities in Hoonah, and I am excited to work with Hoonah Indian Association, the City of Hoonah, Icy Strait Lumber and Huna Totem on the vision for a sustainable localized energy plan. The community’s enthusiasm and collaborative efforts are vital as they seek sustainable energy solutions for future generations.





Community Catalyst Report: Sitka

I am fresh off of our trip to Vancouver for the Community Development coursework and looking forward to our SSP retreat this week. Here is a brief summary of some of the work and progress in Sitka!

• It looks like a tiny house with the UAS course is not in the cards this semester/year. There are several road blocks and issues at this time.However, I am partnering with the class to construct a new Visitors Bureau kiosk. So far we are slated to provide a portion of the materials through our project fundingI am also working with Pat to source as much lumber as possible through local millers. My goal is that we can also have some sort of interpretive signage and brochures at the kiosk highlighting the local materials. The structure will be about the size of a tiny home, so it is a nice compromise for now. I am meeting with instructors at the High School this week to revisit potential project options there. I also attended a meeting yesterday at the city with several community members interested in microhomes and affordable housing projects. I am hoping for two things: first some major policy changes that will facilitate future microhome projects, and second, a potential partnership with some of the attendees, SCS and Sitka High.

• Renovations are on-going at Sitka Kitch and we hope to have them wrapped up in the next two weeks or so. We are going to cap the Applooza event with a workshop on apple trees led by Jud Kirkness and help prepare a bulk order of fruit trees for interested Sitkans. The Sitka Kitch canning classes were wildly popular but we thought that the extension agent would only be able to travel once per year to communities. I have since learned that she may have received new grant funding for more travel. So I am hoping this will allow us to organize another set of canning classes, including the soups and sauces class that many participants expressed interest in.

• Sitka Collaborative Stewardship Group: We had a quick meeting last night. It was sparsely attended, but there was a lot of updated information from the FS about the Kruzof Island restoration projects. Andrew was also able to share info about the TAC and remind people that they can attend the TAC meeting in November (19-21st) here in Sitka.

• As I mentioned, Alana, Lia, Adam, Bob and myself ventured to Vancouver last week with other to begin our course work. It was really interesting and eye opening, I am very excited about the programming. It was also nice to have a chance to get to know  other SSP partners better as well as other people working on similar projects throughout Canada. Over the next several months we will be attending classes online and working towards a better understanding of Community Development and what that means for our communities.

• Wilderness Kiosk in Petersburg: SCS partnered with the Petersburg district so they could take advantage of the National Wilderness Association’s kiosk grant program. We are administering grant funds and helping them source all of the materials for building a kiosk. They have ordered everything through Gordon Chew in Tenakee and will have high school students building a kiosk entirely of locally sourced Tongass timber.

• This week I will be attending the SSP retreat along with the other SSP partners. I am really looking forward to all the new momentum and spending time connecting with everyone!


October Report from the Coordinator

Lot’s of good stuff happening in October. I actually got to spend a couple weeks in a row at home for a change!

Was able to stay put on Lemesurier during the first half of October and get started on some of my Fall chores!

I was able to stay put on Lemesurier during the first half of October and get started on some of my Fall chores!

Kicked things off during the first week of the month by submitting a large collaborative grant to the NRCS for holistic planning and project implementation on 150 thousand acres of mixed ownership lands surrounding Hoonah. This project is called the Hoonah Native Lands Partnership and includes Sealaska, Huna Totem, TNC, ADF&G and the USFS as primary partners. We are looking to combine workforce development and entrepreneurial opportunities with private and public land management goals for an increased triple bottom line for all stakeholders. We hope to find out about this award by November or December. Regardless of the outcome of this grant proposal, we created a shared paradigm for collaboration that I am confident we will build upon in the future.

A fair chunk of time was spent on getting things ready for Alana to take over as the SSP Director. I updated all of the SSP orientation documents to reflect the changes in our staffing and to incorporate some of our latest language for clarifying what it means to be an active member of the partnership. This effort fed directly into developing the next round of grant agreements for all current staff, most of which are completed or nearly so. I have a few more transition tasks to check off my list before Alana officially takes over on November 1st. I am very excited for her leadership.

Alana, Adam, Marjorie, Lia and I spent a week down in Vancouver to kick off our Community Economic Development certificate program. I have lots to report on here but for now let me just say that we learned a ton (indigenomics, locanomics and sustainable community development instructors) and had a great time working with our Canadian colleagues, all of whom are doing inspiring and unique work. I am especially excited about the ideas and concepts that Michael Shuman shared with us about localizing our community economies, particularly for food and energy systems. Lots of opportunity there!

Lia, Marjorie, Alana, Adam and I out enjoying Vancouver city after a hard day of learning about localizing community economies.

Lia, Marjorie, Alana, Adam and I out enjoying Vancouver city after a hard day of learning about localizing community economies.

There were a few other items that I worked on this month: participated in the Tongass Collaborative Stewardship group subcommittee on distributing retained receipts from stewardship contracting; worked with Sarah Bronstein of Sheinberg and Associates on the SSP indicators of community sustainability project; and, provided support for our friends who are participating in the Tongass Advisory Committee are some of the highlights.

All in all, a really great month.


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