RuralCap, an organization which advocates for services for rural villages, has taken on the work of energy saving upgrades for many of Alaska’s most remote communities.
Kent Banks, a coordinator with the Energywise program for RuralCap in Anchorage, says the program has helped some of Alaska’s most economically strapped residents save on energy costs. Currently the program is operating with funds from NANA Regional Corporation.
Banks says the program is aimed at creating an awareness among rural homeowners on how and where energy is wasted. Energywise trained crews visit with residents to find out where “vampire power” is sucking up energy.. and raising costs.. in both old and new appliances.
Banks says about 20 percent of utility energy costs to the homeowner can be saved by going through the Energywise proram.
Most rural villages have diesel powered electrical generation facilities.
The Energywise program creates jobs, too. Energy workers, such as the ones brought into Kotzebue by NANA, are paid. A crew leader is hired and trained from each village. Crew leaders return to their own villages and hire energy workers locally, who are in turn trained in energy assessment work.
Banks says information on energy loss coming back from the villages will be put into a database. One of the big energy wasting culprits.
NANA is funding the program for all villages in its region. Banks says other Alaska Native regional corporations have expressed interest in helping with the program.
Listen for the full story