100 Women Who Care to Fund New Alaska Heat Smart ‘HELP’ Program!

AHS is proud to announce that the Juneau 100 Women Who Care has chosen Alaska Heat Smart during its second philanthropic offering of 2023! The many caring women involved have raised more than $30,000 for Alaska Heat Smart and the foundation of a new, quick and nimble, Heating Emergency Lower-Income Program, or HELP

Since its first Juneau ‘giving event’ in early 2020, the Juneau 100 Women Who Care organization has raised nearly $400,000 for local nonprofit causes. The group has grown from roughly 100 women to nearly 350 members so each quarter’s offering to the chosen nonprofit can be quite substantial. Previous recipients of the generosity of Juneau’s 100 Women Who Care include the United Human Services of Alaska, Juneau Animal Rescue, The Glory Hall, and Renewable Juneau’s Carbon Offset Fund. 

Alaska Heat Smart board members and two friendly dogs join leaders from Juneau’s 100 Women Who Care to celebrate!

Current heating assistance programs offered by AHS are federally-funded and subject to income verification, home surveys, environmental reviews, historic preservation office constraints, and more. In short, while the end result of these programs is warm, dry, efficient, and economical homes, months can pass from the time of a homeowner’s application to the completion of work.

If a family’s heating system is failing or fails, especially during winter months, there is little time to act. Both the family’s health and that of the home are potentially at risk. Our HELP program will move the family in need to the top of the AHS project lists. Staff will work with the family to verify that gross household income is below 80% median area income. Pre-established arrangements with local contractors will allow for quick deployment of services. AHS and contractor staff will assess the home’s needs, form a work plan, order equipment if needed, and proceed with heating system improvements. If necessary, interim measures will be taken to provide temporary heat while parts are acquired and work performed. 

Please help us spread the word to Juneau families who may be able to benefit from this new assistance program. Winter has just ended, but we all know that the next cold and snowy season is not all that far off. Awareness of this new and valuable program will help to ensure its success.

More information will be available soon! For questions, contact AK Heat Smart at 907-500-5050.

Community Energy Efficiency Campaign Guidebook LIVE!

Months in the works, the Thermalize Juneau ‘how-to’ guidebook, “Thermalize Your Rural Community: How to Bring Clean Energy & Energy Efficiency to Your Community’s Doorstep” is now live. This tremendous body of work, made possible by the superhuman efforts of Alaska’s Information Insights, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Alaska Heat Smart, is THE blueprint to instruct any community on building a community-based energy efficiency campaign.

The Thermalize Juneau StoryMap guidebook has been designed to be interactive, engaging, informative, and fun! It is built to provide assistance to community leaders in small, rural locations to promote beneficial electrification through wide-scale adoption of energy-efficient technologies for homes and businesses. The guidebook details all stages of a thermalize campaign for rural cold-climate communities, from early planning to program evaluation. The tools, forms, and lessons that came out of the Thermalize Juneau 2021 campaign are linked for easy download throughout the StoryMap. A full list of resources, which includes outreach materials, heat pump specs, requests for proposals, surveys, reports, and more can be found in the Resources section.

This guide offers many best practices and recommendations from our own experience in setting up a campaign of this kind in a rural, isolated community. There is no single way to start on the path to beneficial electrification or to organize and implement a thermalize campaign. Our guidebook seeks to connect residents, leaders, organizers, and energy enthusiasts with Thermalize Juneau’s campaign resources and experiences so that they may design an approach that aligns with their opportunities and nee

Get started today with Thermalize Your Rural Community. We’d love to hear from you! Send is your thoughts, questions, takeaways, impressions. You’ll find other Thermalize Juneau resources on our Thermalize page.

ADVICE: How to Buy a Heat Pump for your Home

…thanks to an unprecedented flood of rebates and incentives from local, state and federal governments, they’ve never been this affordable…

How to buy a heat pump for your home – The Washington Post

This clear and concise article from the Washington Post (you should be able to view three articles for free without a subscription) lays out a logical process for planning a home heating switch to a heat pump.

  1. Assess your home’s present heating system condition and plan ahead for replacement
  2. Explore your home’s state of efficiency, looking at insulation, air sealing, as well as electrical capacity
  3. Look into potential system costs, paying attention to numerous available incentives, credits, traditional financing options
  4. Find a contractor and how to choose one

While this list may be easy for some to explore and achieve, many of us just aren’t all that comfortable looking at our home’s in these ways. Luckily, Alaska Heat Smart offers free advisory services to help you answer these questions and gain a better understanding of the interplay of your home and its heating systems. Every home is unique and there is no true one size fits all solution. While we at Heat Smart have learned that nearly every home can benefit from the addition of a heat pump, the specifics are important and ‘getting it right’ cannot be understated. Apply for a free home heat pump assessment to start your path to savings and carbon-free heating! And, check out our assistance programs that can help slash the cost of your switch to a heat pump!

But wait, there’s more!

Alaska Heat Smart has ‘made the news’ recently in three related stories about heat pumps and their ability to function in cold climates. You’ll be happy to know that yes, heat pumps really do move an abundance of heat when temps drop! Yesterday it was 12 degrees on my deck and my home was a toasty 70 degrees. And, I spent $3.40 yesterday to heat 1450 square feet over two stories.



Alaska Heat Smart in Sitka!

Alaska Heat Smart (AHS) dips it toes into the waters of Sitka! We’ll soon conduct our first out-of-town heat pump assessment, lay some groundwork for a developing heat pump incentive pilot program, and begin building what we hope is a Sitka home heat pump advisory service.

The Sitka Carbon Offset Fund (SCOF), a project of the Sitka Conservation Society, recently asked AHS to perform a heat pump assessment of the landmark ANB Hall. This will be the first ‘on the ground’ assessment foray for AHS outside of Juneau and we hope that it will be the first of many! While in Sitka, Alaska Heat Smart energy advisor Bob Deering will meet with representatives of the hall, visit with Baranof Island Housing Authority staff, and if time permits, perform one or two additional ‘walk through’ heat pump assessments of homes brought to AHS by our on-the-ground coordinator, SCOF project director, and Southeast Sustainable Partnership catalyst Chandler O’Connell.

The ANB Hall, which opened 108 years ago, is a national historic landmark and according to the National Park Service, the

Alaska Native Brotherhood, Sitka Camp No. 1, is the original chapter of a pan-Alaska Native federation of local camps in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded in 1912, developing out of the efforts of Tlingit communities fighting bans against Alaska Natives in restaurants and movie theaters. For the first half of the 20th century the Alaska Native Brotherhood was the only such group representing Alaska Natives.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood & Sisterhood was instrumental in fighting racial segregation practices in Alaska and in gaining full U.S. citizenship for Alaska Natives. Today, the Alaska Native Brotherhood & Sisterhood camps are an important force in preserving native heritage.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka serves the community as a camp headquarters and is open to the public for social events and community activities.

Alaska Native Brotherhood Sitka Camp No.1 | Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress

The old historic structure is relies heavily on oil for heat and propane for hot water. ANB hall managers hope that the building’s dependence on fossil fuels can be supplanted by heat pumps that draw heat from the surrounding air and power from the waters of Blue Lake. Much more information about the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood is available on their website.

AHS is also excited to announce that discussions are underway with a diverse group of Sitka stakeholders to craft a pilot heat pump incentive program. If successful, roughly 21 lower to modest income Sitka homes could be awarded between $1,500 and $3,000 to assist in the addition of a heat pump to their home. Full details will be forthcoming over the next month or so. Teaming up an incentive of this size with the new ‘up to’ $2,000 Inflation Reduction Act tax credit for heat pump installs puts these projects into no-brainer territory.

Hand in hand with a heat pump incentive program is our foundational heat pump assessment program. In order for an incentive program to be successful AHS relies on a solid home heat pump assessment program. It is vital to ensure that a home not only qualify for a heat pump incentive based on overall income, but also on home readiness. Most homes will see great benefit from the addition of a heat pump – reduced heating costs, reduced emissions, reduced health and environmental risk. In some cases, a home may need other energy efficiency work performed first. Air sealing, insulation, electrical panel upgrades are realities that need to be considered when adding to a home’s energy and heating mix. If a home can be deemed heat pump ready, the benefits of the investment will be a sure bet, resulting in happy homeowners, savings, and slashed emissions. AHS hopes to be able to train an interested SItkan or two to become our newest home heat pump advisors.

There is more to come as AHS works with Sitkans to develop these new programs. Don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts. You can share them at andy@akheatsmart.org or by phone at (907) 500-5050.

Home Energy & Heat Pump Classes!

Energy auditor and renewable energy specialist Chandler Kemp, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Energy at the UA Dillingham campus, is offering two new online classes! These great classes start Tuesday, September 20 and Thursday, September 22 so time is running out!

These online class runs for four or five weeks, meet one evening per week, and offer one continuing education credit each! See pdf flyers below and download each class syllabus for full information!

Tuition for these great classes is free and you can register for the classes online HERE!

Local group has $2 million for home energy upgrades | Juneau Empire

You can put your name on our waitlist HERE! And, if you know others who may be interested, please, share our information with them! We hope to have our Healthy Homes program up and running by late July.

The Healthy Homes program is designed to provide a range of upgrades to low-income homes, according to Andy Romanoff, Alaska Heat Smart’s executive director and a member of Renewable Juneau, and the group has decided to use the funds from an energy-efficiency approach.

“The program isn’t intended to just install heat pumps, it’s a whole home remediation program,” Romanoff said. “Heat pumps are just a component of what that home will receive.”

HUD places a limit on how much can be spent per home, Romanoff said, which in this case is about $15,000, but with Alaska’s higher costs that means Alaska Heat Smart will be able to upgrade fewer homes than would be possible in the Lower 48. Alaska Heat Smart hopes to provide upgrades to 90 homes, Romanoff said. Additional upgrades include installing certain kinds of insulation, mold and moisture removal and the removal of toxic substances.

Local group has $2 million for home energy upgrades | Juneau Empire

Local group has $2 million for home energy upgrades | Juneau Empire