Anchorage, Alaska – Feb. 1, 2011 – In response to the energy crisis in northwest Alaska, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc.‘s (NANA) board of directors approved NANA’s participation in an exciting new partnership with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP) to deliver RurAL CAP’s Energy Wise program to NANA communities in 2011. RurAL CAP’s Energy Wise Program helps rural Alaskans save money on energy bills, while creating local jobs. Through Energy Wise, rural Alaskans reduce their energy consumption and lower their home heating and electric bills. Locally hired crews are trained to educate community residents and conduct basic energy efficiency upgrades through full-day home visits. This tested model uses community-based social marketing to save energy - a multi-step educational approach involving residents in changing home energy consumption behaviors. Energy Wise is not a substitute for Weatherization, but designed to complement this program by providing community-wide efficiency education that helps people understand how their actions impact household energy consumption.
NANA is the first private organization to fund a regional rollout of this program for six communities, committing $860,000 to the NANA region Energy Wise project in 2011. The expenditure addresses one of NANA’s board strategies and goals, which is to reduce the cost of energy in the NANA region. In addition to their partnership, NANA and RurAL CAP are working in cooperation and collaboration with the Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority (NIHA), the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) and individual village tribal councils to implement the program in northwest Alaska.
“The Energy Wise program in the NANA region is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through a public/private partnership,” said Cathie Clements, RurAL CAP’s Director of the Community Development Division. “In 2010, over 2,000 homes and residents in 32 rural communities received energy efficiency education and low-cost, efficiency upgrades from Energy Wise, and employed 160 rural Alaskans. By funding this project, NANA has demonstrated a strong commitment to reducing the high cost of energy in northwest Alaska. It’s a great opportunity to help tackle the energy crisis in their region head-on.”
The NANA region Energy Wise program will be carried out in three phases. Phase I of the project is set to begin in early February and end in June. Six NANA region villages (Ambler, Buckland, Kivalina, Noatak, Noorvik and Shungnak) have been invited to participate in the program. The total cost of implementing Energy Wise is estimated at approximately $1,700 per home. Homes receive a full day home visit from a trained, locally-hired crew; assessment of household energy/kilowatt consumption conducted with the resident; education on energy cost-saving strategies; installation of $300 worth of basic, home energy efficiency supplies; and a follow-up visit and survey 2-3 months after initial home visit. Planning and development for Phases II and III are underway.
“We are blessed at NANA to have the resources to be able to fund this project, and working with RurAL CAP will allow us take our efforts to the next level,” said Marie N. Greene, president and CEO of NANA Regional Corporation. “Not only will this program help us address the cost of energy, but it is also an excellent village economic development tool that offers training and employment opportunities. It is a win/win for all involved.”
The Energy Wise program will hire and train 10 crew members in each village for eight to 12 weeks.
NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) is one of the 13 Regional Alaska Native corporations (ANCs) created pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971. NANA’s mission is to provide economic opportunities for its more than 12,500 Iñupiat shareholders and to protect and enhance NANA lands. Join the hunt at www.nana.com/regional.
The Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc. (RurAL CAP), founded in 1965, is a private, statewide, nonprofit organization working to improve the quality of life for low-income Alaskans. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors representing every region of the state, RurAL CAP is one of the largest and most diversified nonprofit organizations in Alaska. In fiscal year 2010, RurAL CAP employed 1,048 Alaskans in 91 communities statewide. Please visit www.ruralcap.com for more information.