Annual Retreat Helps Chart Path Forward for Partnership

By Alana Peterson

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One key element to a successful partnership is communication. In the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, our partner organizations model deliberate communication that results in action. We meet on a monthly basis through Google+ video hangouts where we share ideas and information to strengthen our collaborative efforts. We also participate in daily dialogue on our Google+ community page. Our blog posts, emails, phone calls, and community visits all contribute to a network of individuals and organizations that are highly collaborative, sharing resources, and learning from each other along the way. Finally, we commit to communicating through in-person visits as frequently as possible and commit to two full partnership meetings twice a year (once in fall and once in spring).

This year’s autumn retreat took place in Hoonah, Alaska from October 3-7th. We used this time to develop year-long work plans for our individual and collective projects, learn about projects in Hoonah, and strategize ways to grow and strengthen the partnership in 2017.

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Our retreat included a site visit to the new deep water dock and Icy Strait Point, a cruise ship destination that includes adventure options, a zip line, restaurants, a museum and shops. The group was not only inspired by the expansive project that is unique to see in a small SE village, but was also excited to learn about how cultural values and the community have been a priority through the development and implementation of the tourism site. Our group was led by a local Huna Totem shareholder, Brittany who started working at ISP as a ticket taker, and has moved up in the ranks to now working administrative functions in the office. It was clear she has pride in her work, and impressed our entire group in her knowledge and ability to answer all of our questions. We learned that decisions at ISP are made based on a filter of authenticity. Icy Strait Point was built to be as true to the culture and community it represents as possible.

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We also spent time learning about the Hoonah Native Forest Partnership, a powerful new model for land management in SE Alaska.

The retreat also included a day-long workshop for community engagement. The workshop, led by Element Agency, gave each partner new skills and tools to plan successful community events such as meetings, workshops, etc. We put the new tools to use by planning and facilitating a community meeting in Hoonah. The goal of the community meeting was to introduce our partnership and outline the current projects in Hoonah. We then opened up discussion to the participants to learn about priority projects that the community has identified, and support those efforts through the SSP network. The meeting concluded with a beautiful performance from the Mt. Fairweather dancers who also prepared a tasty dinner for the event.

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Other outcomes of this years retreat included a review of 13 successes from last year’s projects. Between all SSP partners, over 50 projects are taking place in 2017. A full list of those projects can be viewed by clicking here. The partners also dedicated four hours to identifying four priority areas to strengthen the SSP in 2017, they include:

(1) Promote the SSP collective impact model and Triple Bottom Line approach to economic development in each of our communities through direct outreach.

(2) Catalysts & Partners will engage the community, new partners and new demographics to increase community ownership of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.

(3)  All partners will work towards making SSP self-sustaining by improving and implementing our metrics to communicate success for potential funders and by building capacity to fundraise within partner organizations (this includes capacity building activities).

(4)  All partners will demonstrate success in projects this year through strategizing community outreach through each communications output and achieving one clear project success in each community this year.

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For each of these four initiatives, each participant wrote down one or two actionable steps they will take as individuals this year to move the partnership forward on each initiative. Though tired and drained from a long week of collaborative work, each partner left Hoonah reinvigorated and excited about the year of work ahead.

Exciting Announcement for SE Businesses!

Southeast Conference, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP) are excited to announce a second round of funding for commercial building audits through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program.

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If you are a commercial building owner, manager or tenant in Southeast Alaska, now is your chance to get an energy assessment of your building. Thanks to the U.S.D.A. grant, businesses pay just 25% of the cost of the audit!Cost_Audits

Last year, businesses and public facilities in Hoonah, Haines and Prince of Wales Island participated, receiving 29 Level I energy audits and 5 Level II audits. The 34 audited buildings totaled over 230,000 ft2. In all, the recommended energy efficiency measures total $382,701. These lighting, HVAC and other recommendations will yield an estimated annual savings of $173,782, a 2.2-year payback if implemented.

Interested Southeast businesses should contact Robert Venables (energy@seconference.org) or Shaina Kilcoyne (s.kilcoyne@realaska.org). Communities will need at least three businesses to get them on the Auditor’s schedule, so talk to your neighbors!

With an audit, businesses will be eligible for USDA’s Rural Energy for America grant and loan Program for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Loan Guarantees are competed continuously throughout the year.

Strategic Energy Planning in Hoonah

Community members clustered around tables at the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) community building in Hoonah on Sunday afternoon. Some had already celebrated Mother’s Day in the morning and now were here to discuss energy solutions in their small islanded-grid town of 800. Hoonah became one of five high priority areas for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory when HIA was accepted into the Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) program in 2015.

Participants categorize energy projects and goals for discussion

Participants categorize energy projects and goals for discussion

The first step of the program is to complete a three-day community meeting in order to develop a Strategic Energy Plan for Hoonah.  Many efficiency and renewable energy priorities were discussed throughout the three day meeting.

You can find energy data on Hoonah and all Alaskan communities through the Alaska Energy Data Gateway.

Community members discuss an energy vision with the help of moderator Paul Kabotie, Kabotie Consulting

Community members discuss an energy vision with the help of moderator Paul Kabotie, Kabotie Consulting

 

Energy Efficiency Competition: Calling Klawock to Action

Written by Quinn Mas-Aboudara, Community Catalyst for Klawock Cooperative Association

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Joshua Zimbrich finishing off installing the new LED lighting

Through the assistance and great patience of Shaina Kilcoyne of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP), the Klawock Cooperative Association, in partnership with the Klawock Heenya Corporation was able to submit our pledge for the RACEE (Remote Alaskan Communities Energy Efficiency) competition. RACEE is facilitated through the Department of Energy and the program is intended to “empower remote Alaskan communities to develop and implement solutions that can effectively advance the use of reliable, affordable, clean-energy and energy efficient solutions that are applicable throughout rural Alaska and potentially in other Arctic regions” (from energy.gov).

Before we even received confirmation that our pledge had been accepted and that we were eligible to continue to Phase 2 of the RACEE competition, the Klawock Cooperative Association took action and promptly began to implement Energy Efficient lighting throughout the Klawock Cooperative Association’s buildings.

As of last month, 90% of the lighting throughout the Klawock Cooperative Association’s Administrative offices had been converted from conventional fluorescent lighting to energy efficient LED lighting. In addition, the inefficient ballasts used in 80% of our lighting fixtures have been removed by the wonderful electricians from Prince of Wales Electric and Repair (PoWER) which will also improve our overall energy efficiency.

On February 15th, the submitted pledge for the RACEE competition was accepted. This qualifies the community of Klawock for Phase 2 of the RACEE Competition which will provide technical assistance as we push to decrease energy usage and develop projects that increase energy efficiency as a community. We will compete with 64 other Alaskan communities for between three and five Implementation Grants of up to $1 million. This potential grant funding would help Klawock to further implement energy saving measures and programs during Phase 3.

In 2008, the state of Alaska announced its goal of becoming 15% more energy efficient by 2020. In alignment with the state, Klawock as a community wants to become 15% more efficient in the next four years. So let’s all do our part and work together to meet this simple and attainable goal!

Here are some easy low-cost and no-cost ways to save energy in your homes and businesses:

  • Install a programmable thermostat to lower utility bills and manage your heating and cooling systems efficiently.
  • Use sunlight wisely, during the heating season, leave shades and blinds open on sunny days, but close them at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. Close shades and blinds during the summer or when the air conditioner is in use or will be in use later in the day.
  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Turn things off when you are not in the room such as lights, TVs, entertainment systems, and your computer and monitor.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use — TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F.
  • Take short showers instead of baths and use low-flow shower heads for additional energy savings.
  • Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • Air dry clothes.
  • Check to see that windows and doors are closed when heating or cooling your home.
  • Drive sensibly; aggressive driving such as speeding, and rapid acceleration and braking, wastes fuel.
  • Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on light bulbs, home appliances, electronics, and other products. ENERGY STAR products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Turn It Off,don’t forget to flick the switch when you leave a room. Remember this at the office, too. Turn out or dim the lights in unused conference rooms, and when you step out for lunch. Work by daylight when possible. A typical commercial building uses more energy for lighting than anything else.
  • LED Bulbs,a new LED (light-emitting diode) light bulb costs as little as $5. Thanks to its efficiency and long life, it will save more than $100 over its lifetime. LEDs are the way to go as they work great and use up to 85 percent less energy to deliver the same amount to light. Today’s LED light bulbs come in virtually any shape, light level or flavor you can imagine. They reach full brightness instantly, dim, and direct the light exactly where you want it. And check to see whether your local utility offers a rebate, sometimes as high as $5 per bulb, to bring the cost of the bulb down to just a few bucks.

Also something worth mentioning for many business owners and homeowners that utilize tube lighting:

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Sam Peters explaining energy savings of installing LED lighting (while basking in the glow of a said LED light)

Before purchasing LED tube lighting make sure that you know whether the fixture has a ballast or not.  Most LED tube lighting products do NOT state that they will not function properly if the fixture has a ballast.  So before making the LED switch it is highly recommended that you check with a licensed professional to ensure your fixtures are ballast free. As discussed with Sam Peters of Prince of Wales Electric and Repair, you will actually be able to decrease your power usage by removing the ballasts from older functions, which translates to even greater savings for the home or business owner. Mr. Peters recommends the Hyperikon T8 LED Light Tubes, stating that they provide clean, crisp light, and have an exceptionally long lifetime.

Together as a community, we can take great strides forward in energy efficiency and energy independence. The RACEE competition is an exciting way to build momentum for energy efficiency however, every action we take to become more efficient will benefit our community regardless of whether we receive future grant funding or  not. Happy Energy Saving Klawock!

 

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!

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From LEDs to Insulation, Team Electrifies Energy Discussion on Prince of Wales

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Jim Fowler auditing a shopping plaza in Craig with owner, Ken

The traveling energy team is on the move! After visiting Hoonah and Haines in June, the crew spent eight days in Prince of Wales Island. Kicking off on a Friday, it was a busy weekend as the group: Shaina Kilcoyne (Sustainable Southeast Partnership/Renewable Energy Alaska Project), Robert Venables (Southeast Conference) and Rebecca Garrett (Alaska Energy Authority), traveled with Karen Petersen (UAF, Thorne Bay) to Coffman Cove, Thorne Bay, Whale Pass and Naukati Bay, engaging community leaders and businesses about energy saving opportunities in their buildings.  We were fortunate to also be traveling in the company of Chester Carson, a Juneau native now staffing the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  As such, he works closely with Senator Murkowski and was interested in learning more about the realities of energy generation and consumption in rural Alaska.  Thanks for joining us, Chester!

Retired generating unit in Naukati Bay

REAP and Southeast Conference were joined by Carolyn Ramsey of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and Jim Fowler of Energy Audits of Alaska for the rest of the week. Working with the Chamber of Commerce, cities, tribes and businesses, Mr. Fowler provided 15 Level I Energy Audits totaling nearly 100,000 ftin just three days! As a result, they’ll receive an energy audit outlining ways to save energy.  These audits were paid for with funding from Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Hydaburg Totem

Hydaburg Totem

The team was able to wrap up the week in Hydaburg in a productive meeting with Minnie Kadake and Jess Dilts of the Hydaburg Cooperative Association and Lisa Lang from Haida Corp, discussing efficiency and renewable opportunities in Hydaburg. Hydaburg is a beautiful community with recent infrastructure and economic development activity. They are preparing to work through the Technical Assistance Program with the Department of Energy to develop a Strategic Energy Plan.  Among other projects, Haida Energy is busy with Híilangaay (Reynold’s Creek) Hydro, which will produce 5MW of power annually.

Businesses and public commercial buildings are able to save 30% on energy costs annually with energy efficiency measures, such as lighting and controls.

Improving their bottom line may allow businesses flexibility in their budget or even allow growth.  The energy team is committed to working with these businesses in order to see them improve and succeed in their energy goals.

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