Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) launched a regionwide energy efficiency initiative in Bristol Bay through the Southwest Alaska Energy Network. Seven building energy audits were conducted on May 7th to 9th in Aleknagik and Dillingham.
The City of Aleknagik and Aleknagik Traditional Council (ATC) started it off with Energy Efficiency Kickstarter Grants funded by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC). The grant covered the cost of Level 2 energy audits for two ATC buildings and three City buildings. After completing the audits, the energy auditor will prepare finance-ready retrofit plans that ATC and the City can use to make retrofits happen, reduce energy usage, and save money. Both the City and ATC hope to invest these savings into programs in their community.
Jim Fowler, the energy auditor with Energy Audits of Alaska, is also working with SWAMC on a program that provides low-cost audits for small businesses in Southwest Alaska. This Commercial Building Energy Audit program is funded by the US Department of Agriculture – Rural Development and administered by Information Insights. Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, Pen Air, and Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association have provided donations to support this program.
These low-cost energy audits are available to small for-profit businesses including lodges, restaurants, stores, office buildings, multi-family residences, and fishing vessels. Audit costs range from $150 to $3,000 depending on the type of audit, size of building, and complexity of systems. Energy audits will provide business owners with reports that show no cost, low cost, and medium cost options for improving a building’s efficiency and lowering operation costs. If a building owner knows of a specific system (heating, building envelope, refrigeration, etc) that needs work, then more targeted audits are available. Business owners who invest in the audit may also be eligible for a USDA grant that covers 25% of the retrofit cost for a small business.
Taking advantage of his presence in the Dillingham/Aleknagik area on May 7, Jim Fowler conducted energy audits for two Dillingham businesses, Lake Road Dental and Choggiung Investment Company’s Chog Center. These are the first businesses to participate in the program. The Commercial Building Energy Audit program runs through October 2018 and covers communities throughout Bristol Bay, Kodiak, and the Aleutians. Though the program is for businesses, SWAMC is working with the auditor to offer audits to buildings owned by others, such as governments and non-profits.
For more on signing-up for energy audits, click here.