Photo Credit: Tim Leach

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, to see if you’re eligible.

Photo Credit: Tim Leach

Photo Credit: Tim Leach