Remote, rural villages throughout Alaska often rely heavily on fossil fuels for the energy needs of residents. This, of course, has all sorts of pollution issues. A new demonstration project underway in one such village, Angoon, looks to showcase how energy efficiency and renewable energy can easily come to even these out of the way locations.
The project – a demonstration house altered by weatherization techniques and renewable energy design – aims to show how green retrofits such as this can cut energy cuts in rural communities by up to 65 percent. A group of project partners, headed by the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council), hosted a meeting in Angoon and the house of Peggy and Kelly Williams was selected to be the project’s focus. The Williams home will receive a complete green makeover next month, including new insulation, new siding, new appliances, and even solar panels and a small wind generator to offset some of the house’s energy needs with renewable energy.
The project will also result in a documentary film that will be distributed in Southeast Alaska and via the Internet. And, in a related effort, the project partners are also hoping to raise enough funds via donations to provide LED bulbs to all interested households in Angoon and four other diesel-dependent Southeast communities.
“This project is greatly needed in Angoon, especially for our elders, many of whom are forced to choose between heat and food during the coldest parts of the winter,” said Rocky Estrada, a young college graduate and lifelong Angoon resident who is now running the Angoon Business Center, in a statement. “Sustainability has always been a strong value in our Native culture. The community is happy to investigate the opportunity of using sustainable resources like solar and wind in place of unsustainable fossil fuels.”