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
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
Written by Quinn Mas-Aboudara, Community Catalyst for Klawock Cooperative Association
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:
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!
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!
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 ft2 in 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.
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.
The energy team is on the move! In Haines and Hoonah, we kshop for commercial buildings and provide energy audits financed by the Sustainable Southeast Partnership (SSP), Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mr. Fowler, owner of Energy Audits of Alaska, completed 20 audits in one week, totaling over 130,000 ft2. Interested private or public commercial building owners, managers or tenants should contact Shaina Kilcoyne (Renewable Energy Alaska Project) or Robert Venables (Southeast Conference) by August 5th. Two years of heating and electrical data is required to be eligible for an audit. The most simple way to do this may be with a fuel release form. Learn more about a Level I and Level II Energy Audit.
Photo Credit: Tim Leach
Energy costs can be debilitating for small businesses, especially in Alaska’s rural communities. In June, Energy Audits of Alaska traveled to the communities of Haines and Hoonah to help business owners save money on energy bills. This program included Commercial Energy Efficiency workshops and energy audits to public and commercial buildings (a service that would otherwise cost businesses upwards of $2,000). The audits were paid for by the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with support for the project from Southeast Conference, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, and Alaska Energy Authority.
Jim Fowler is a certified energy auditor for Energy Audits Alaska. In just four days Fowler was able to provide 20 audits to businesses and public buildings in Hoonah and Haines, totaling over 130,000 square feet of facilities! All businesses and public facilities were eligible for an audit by submitting their heating and electric bills. In just a few weeks, they will receive a complete energy audit outlining ways to save energy.
“Business owners in Haines and especially Hoonah have a very high level of awareness around energy conservation. That’s what happens when you pay 60 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity and still have to make a profit. They could probably write the book on best practices for reducing energy costs,” says Fowler. “But even with all this, there are more savings to be gained using technologies like LED lighting and lighting controls, hot water re-circulation timers, better building zoning, added insulation, etc.”
On average, businesses in Alaska can cut their energy costs by 30% and that can translate into some pretty big savings, especially for rural communities currently paying prohibitive energy rates.
Meredith Pochardt is the Executive Director of the Takshanuk Watershed Council in Haines, Alaska. She participated in the free program, receiving a Level I energy audit.
“As a non-profit organization owning an office building in rural Alaska, energy efficiency is crucial to us being able to achieve our mission. The information provided in the free energy audit and workshop will greatly help us reduce our energy costs and dedicate more of our funding towards programs and projects that support a healthy community and watershed. I would definitely recommend the energy audit and workshop to any business owner,” says Pochardth.
Next stop, Prince of Wales Island! Energy Audits of Alaska and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership are planning visits for Prince of Wales communities in August. Partners will begin implementing energy efficiency workshops and Level I Energy Audits to businesses and public buildings that register in advance.
These services are being offered thanks to the financial support of the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Expertise and on-th-ground support provided by Southeast Conference, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, Haa Aanì, and Alaska Energy Authority.
The energy team is planning to travel to Prince of Wales August 10-14. If you’re a non-residential building owner, manager or tenant in Prince of Wales, please contact Shaina Kilcoyne at 907-331 – 7409, email@example.com to see if you’re eligible.
Photo Credit: Tim Leach