Project Overview

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Cherokee, NC

Project Title
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Facility Retrofit Project

Type of Application

DOE Grant Number

Project Amounts
DOE: $400,000
Awardee: $200,000
Total: $600,000

Project Status
See project status

Project Period of Performance
Start: July 2010
End: March 2011


The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is using the grant funds from the Department of Energy to complete the Energy Efficiency Improvements to seven EBCI facilities. The facilities are all located on the Qualla Boundary portion of the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina. Energy savings of at least 30% are projected. Retrofits of the tribal facilities will include replacement of lighting fixtures, building envelope improvements, replacement of HVAC units, and training for tribal people.

Project Description


The mission of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is to understand the needs of our people, and to address those needs in an ethical and responsible manner. As a tribe, EBCI strives for cultural integrity, economic prosperity, a healthy and educated membership, and a natural environment that is protected and respected.

On April 24, 2006, the Principal Chief issued a proclamation, Qualla Environmental Resources Initiative, to show the devotion of the EBCI Administration to promoting a healthy, sustainable natural environment within the Qualla Boundary and throughout the region. This legislation set forth the long-term energy vision of the EBCI by specifying that aggressive attempts will be made to implement alternative energy resources and to reduce energy consumption through lighting and heat/cooling changes.

Project Objectives

Overall, the primary objective of the proposed project is to reduce by at least 30% the energy consumption within seven tribal facilities, all of which are the largest energy consuming facilities in operation. Supporting objectives of this project are to reduce energy consumption in selected facilities by at least 30% and to retrofit seven tribal facilities. It is a goal of EBCI to preserve, enhance and sustain natural resources. As a result of this project, economic, environmental, cultural and social benefits to the tribe are anticipated. Local people will be trained for operations and maintenance activities; businesses will benefit through purchase and installment costs of improvements.

Project Scope

The EBCI will retrofit seven buildings to achieve at least a 30% reduction of energy consumption. These buildings are not historic. The energy audits identified do not require safety measures (i.e. , asbestos abatement). Measures such as installation of programmable thermostats, storm windows, and doors; maintenance or replacement of HVAC units; caulking; and replacing lighting fixtures will be conducted in each building. Staff training will also be an integral component of this project. The seven buildings to be retrofitted are:

  1. Fire Station #2
  2. Ginger Lynn Welch (fitness center)
  3. NC Cooperative Extension
  4. Cherokee Ceremonial Grounds and Exhibit Building
  5. Qualla Arts and Crafts
  6. Cherokee Historical Association
  7. EBCI Finance

The EBCI will sustain efforts by providing maintenance on all improvements and replacing equipment and fixtures upon breakage or failure. Service and repairs will be performed by the EBCI Facility Management program. Maintenance, replacement, and repair costs will be the responsibility of the individual programs that occupy selected facilities. Each program will pay from the specified line item in their respective program budgets.

Project Location

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a federally recognized Native American tribe consisting of more than 13,000 enrolled members who are direct descendants of those Cherokee who avoided the forced removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s "Trail of Tears." More than 8,200 members live on the more than 56,000 acres of land held in trust for the tribe by the federal government, known as the Qualla Boundary, bordered by the state of North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Project Status

This project is complete. For details, see the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country," and started in July 2010.

The November 2009 and November 2012 project status reports provide more information.