Alaskans pay some of the highest energy costs in the country, and most of us understand that saving energy means saving money. I’ve spent most of my efforts in Hoonah and Kake, focusing on improvements for heating and electricity for commercial buildings. Reduced dependency on liquid fuels for heating, electricity and transportation keep money in our local economies. Together, we’re looking at energy efficiency improvements and clean, local renewable energy generation options.
Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) has been collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Hoonah, Huna Totem Corp. and Sealaska to identify ways to reduce its dependency on fuel, specifically heating oil. After some outreach to local experts, HIA decided to pursue a feasibility study for a district-heating loop fueled with local or regional wood sources. Simultaneously, there seems to be interest in developing a community clean energy strategy to determine and align short term, medium term and long term plans. I look forward to continuing to assist Hoonah in building capacity through this process and in identifying more clean, local energy sources.
Further south of Hoonah on Kupreanof Island, the Organized Village of Kake (OVK) has been very busy with multiple energy projects, including a power system upgrade, energy efficiency improvements, and biomass, solar, and hydropower possibilities. Kake’s regional catalyst, Adam, has identified the OVK Office and Keex Kwaan Lodge as two buildings ripe for energy efficiency audits and improvements. We were able to get energy audits done through NORTECH Engineering, which has an office in Juneau. The draft reports showed these buildings do indeed have energy saving opportunities. Energy Audits create a clear path to increasing efficiency by identifying specific inefficiencies that are wasting energy (and money). These Level 2 Investment Grade Audits will now make it easier for OVK to make the investments or look for funding opportunities. The audits even included low and no cost recommendations, which can be implemented right away.