A Southeast Community Engagement Pilot Project in Sitka, Craig and Kake
Managed by Renewable Energy Alaska Project and funded by Alaska Energy Authority. The experiences in this pilot project have allowed REAP to segue into its current position as the Regional Energy Catalyst with the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.
Old Harbor Books building in Sitka makes energy upgrades, saves money
This project is about looking at how we consume energy, and evaluating how we can reduce our energy use and energy costs. Commercial buildings often present the opportunity for businesses and public building owners to save thousands of dollars a year in energy costs. The first step is to Get an Energy Assessment. The Old Harbor Books building, a multi-use building in Sitka, received an energy audit through Alaska Energy Authority’s Commercial Energy Audit program. Watch these short videos to see how they made their building more efficient: https://vimeo.com/album/2560336.
The Alaska State Legislature has set a goal of increasing our energy efficiency 15% per capita by 2020 (HB 306). Reaching this goal will take a steady education and outreach effort for the next eight years to implement efficiency measures, and to change behavior.
In order to reach the state’s energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) goals Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP) is working in Southeast Alaska through October 2013, using the demand side management (DSM) recommendations in the recently completed Integrated Resource Plan for Southeast Alaska (SE IRP) as the frame for our efforts. The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) is motivated to see the recommendations implemented, and thus agreed to partner with REAP on this pilot project. REAP believes that the methodology it is developing could be scaled and replicated to implement EE&C measures in other areas of the state.
The Project: Implementation Focus on Three Communities: Sitka, Craig and Kake
REAP is focusing its efforts on Sitka, Craig and Kake, communities in Southeast Alaska that it believes are representative of the different energy profiles in the region. This community-by-community approach has been used before in RurALCAP’s successful Energy Wise program. Sitka, Craig and Kake are also three communities that have exhibited a high degree of willingness and proactivity to address energy issues on a community wide basis. REAP is helping to help build from this momentum, finding ways to compliment current energy efficiency efforts and projects.
Total Community Energy Dollar
In order to motivate communities and individuals to change both their thinking and their behavior towards EE&C REAP is developing community specific estimates of energy use, and more importantly cost. This will enable the EE&C effort to be framed by communicating to residents of each community the total amount of dollars that they are likely to collectively spend on energy over the next eight years if they do nothing to change their behavior or efficiencies.
This number combines the estimated liquid fuels that the community would import in the form of heating oil, diesel for electric generation and transportation, and gasoline for transportation. Since none of the three communities that REAP is working with process or produce any of these refined oil products, the money those communities would spend on those products over the next eight years would all be exported out of the community.
Sitka has already begun to use this methodology in a recent report titled
The Future of Energy in Sitka (Energy in Sitka). That report estimates that with a 1% increase in EE&C over the next 20 years the amount of dollars leaving Sitka to purchase liquid fuels would decrease from around $957 million to $861 million. (Energy in Sitka, pp 4-5). In other words, Sitkans are projecting that they if they do nothing they will have to spend almost $1 billion over the 20 years to import liquid fossil fuels!
The report estimates that fuel prices over that time will only increase 1.6 times, in REAP’s view a very modest estimate. And yet, even with that conservative estimate of fuel price escalation over time the report estimates that a 1% increase each year in EE&C would still result in significant savings over the time period. Sitka’s methodology of starting out with a total amount of spending that would occur from no action whatsoever is also the starting point REAP is using to motivate other communities in Southeast to ramp up their EE&C activities.
Using this approach also helps define what 15% we are talking about when referencing the state goal that was passed by the legislature in 2010. The approach allows for population growth and economic expansion to occur between now and 2020, and then estimates what amount of energy would be used in 2020 if no EE&C efforts occurred. It counts all three legs of the energy stool – heating, electricity and transportation. Perhaps most importantly, it translates energy use in the form of imported fuels into dollars, a unit of measure that most people are far more familiar with and concerned about. Of course, money spent on energy produced in the community, such as hydro powered electricity in Sitka, are not counted toward to the total community energy dollar, since the money will not leave the community.
Get started now! Making your home more energy efficient can help save money and improve the indoor air quality of your home. Addressing energy use in your home can have a big effect on your family’s health and well-being. Healthy and efficient homes should be sealed while maintaining adequate ventilation. Here are a few simple tasks to get started:
- Lower your hot water heater to 120oF. The water heater is the 2ndlargest energy user in most homes. Turning down the water heater temperature saves energy, prevents scalding, and slows buildup, prolonging the life of your heater.
- Change out your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use 75% less energy and can last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Light emitting diode’s (LEDs) use even less energy and last longer. Energy efficient bulbs can fit most household sockets and fixtures, making the switch simple.
- Use a programmable thermostat. If you and your family have a regular schedule and leave the house for extended periods of time, a programmable thermostat can help save up to $180 per year on energy costs. Simply set the thermostat to your schedule and forget it.
Please let us know if you would like to be added to the contact list for updates on this effort.
Energy Efficiency Director, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP)Project Manager, REPOWER SOUTHEAST(907) firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP)(907) email@example.com