Energy Efficiency Measures Cut Carbon Footprint and Save Tribe $450,000 Per Year

In this tribal energy snapshot, learn more about the Oneida Indian Nation’s Facility Energy Efficiency project. The project was cofunded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy.

Two lights on an outdoor light post.
Energy efficient exterior lighting reduces energy usage across the Reservation.
Photo by Joel Barkin.

Project Quick Facts

At the project onset, the Oneida Indian Nation’s project aimed to reduce the Nation’s energy use by installing energy efficiency upgrades throughout 27 Nation-owned buildings (office space, warehouses, police facilities, convenience stores, and entertainment venues), covering more than 3.8 million square feet of facility space.

Energy efficiency measures included interior and exterior lighting upgrades to light-emitting diode (LED) technology; remote heating, ventilation, and air conditioning management; and improvements to water heaters and refrigeration. This project furthers the Nation’s goal to preserve and protect its natural resources to ensure a safe, healthful, and productive environment for residents, visitors, and future generations.

Take a glance at the project by the numbers:

Infographic text states: "This system avoids 3,000 metric tons of emissions per year. Like removing 668 cars from the road annually."

Total energy saved:

The system saves roughly 4 million kilowatt-hours and 50,000 therms per year.

Emissions avoided:

The system avoids roughly 3,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, which is equivalent to removing 668 gasoline-powered cars from the road each year.

Savings to the Tribe:

The energy efficiency upgrades will save the Tribe an estimated $450,000 in energy costs annually.

Total project cost:

The total project cost is estimated at $2,036,714, shared between DOE ($1,523,946) and the Tribe ($512,768).

Insight From the Project Team

Portrait of Ray Halbritter
Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Ray Halbritter.

Learn from Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Ray Halbritter’s experience with the project.

Why did the Nation initially pursue this energy project?

The Oneida Indian Nation is committed to understanding how our actions today will affect the lives of generations to come. This commitment to future generations is a long-standing principle of our people. The way we consider our impact on the environment is one of the best reflections of this principle.

Undertaking this project furthers the Nation’s goal to preserve and protect its natural resources to ensure a safe environment for today’s members and the Seventh Generation to come, as well as for our neighbors here in Upstate New York and visitors to our region. It also supports our commitment to economic self-sufficiency as a sovereign Nation, enabling us to reduce energy costs and increase overall efficiency across these buildings today and in the future.

LED ceiling panels in a modern interior office space.
LED lighting illuminates interior office space while cutting energy use.
Photo by Joel Barkin.

What has been the biggest “lesson learned” from the project?

The value of a comprehensive approach to energy efficiency. Our enterprises have grown rapidly since their creation, requiring us to quickly construct or acquire buildings and facilities. This meant that energy efficiency was often approached one department or property at a time rather than holistically. With the findings of the 2017 Energy Master Planning Project and the implementation of the resulting energy efficiency measures, we have achieved the level of coordination across sites required to develop a truly comprehensive strategy.

Besides cost sharing, how has the Office of Indian Energy partnership benefitted your energy goals?

Beyond maximizing our own investment in energy efficiency across Nation buildings, this partnership with the Office of Indian Energy has helped us achieve the clarity needed to develop a strategy that meets our long-term environmental and economic goals. We are grateful for the support, resources, and guidance offered by the Office of Indian Energy and, more broadly, by the Department of Energy in achieving these goals.


Learn More

Learn more about this project, including additional background information, cost, and status on the project summary page.

Explore more tribal energy projects through the tribal energy projects database.