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The Native Village of Shishmaref (Shishmaref) will complete weatherization retrofits to two community buildings, the Clinic and the Tannery, based on recent energy audits. Located 5 miles from the mainland, 126 miles north of Nome, and 100 miles south of Kotzebue, Shishmaref sits on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea. As such, Shishmaref experiences a transitional climate between the frozen Arctic and the continental Interior. Summers can be foggy, with average temperatures ranging from 47°F to 54°F; average winter temperatures range from -12° to 2°F. With heating fuel costs of almost $7/gallon, the goal of this project is to reduce energy costs at the Clinic and the Tannery by at least 30% to 50% through energy efficiency and weatherization measures and through the installation of a residential-size wind turbine to supplement power for the Tannery building.
The Native Village of Shishmaref was awarded Strategic Technical Assistance Response Team (START) Program assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and the Denali Commission in 2013. This grant is a result of the technical assistance provided to Shishmaref under the START award.
The current population of Shishmaref is 605, up from 563 in 2010 (Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development 2012). Shishmaref has been inhabited for 4,000 years, but in July of 2002 considered relocation. Rising temperatures and a reduction in sea ice along the coast are allowing higher storm surges that now reach shore. Thawing of permafrost makes the shoreline more vulnerable to erosion. The town's homes, water system, and infrastructure are being undermined. Fourteen homes and the National Guard Armory had to be moved in 1997 when a severe storm eroded 30 feet of the north shore. Five additional homes had to be moved in July 2002. And storms continue to erode the shoreline an average of three to five feet per year. Eleven potential relocation sites were thoroughly vetted and ruled out one by one. The community recently decided to remain in place while taking measures to stall the inevitable. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has provided assistance to build a seawall along the coast to slow erosion.
The Alaska Village Electric Cooperative provides power to the community at the following prices:
- Residential/Community Facilities/Small Commercial (1–700) $.6077/ kilowatt-hour (kWh)
- Residential/Community Facilities/Small Commercial (701+) $.5077/kWh
- PCE Rate* $.4127/kWh
* PCE = Power Cost Equalization – applies to first 500 kWh of Residential usage and to all Community Facility usage to a limit of current population x 70.
Homes and businesses are heated by diesel fuel. Homes were designed for warmer climates and built with inefficient boilers installed. The average home uses about 200 gallons of fuel/month in winter —55 gallons every 5–7 days. Heating fuel costs almost $7/gallon. Extreme energy costs in remote Alaska make economic development difficult. Shishmaref Traditional Industries was no exception. The high cost to heat and power the local Tannery, established in 1985, forced the Village Council to shut down the otherwise successful business in 2011.
The goal of this project is to reduce energy costs at the Clinic and Tannery by at least 30% to 50% through energy efficiency and weatherization measures and through the installation of a residential-size wind turbine to supplement power for the Tannery.
One energy conservation measure (ECM) considered for the Tannery is a reconfiguration of its internal spaces to reduce heating requirements. Others include: retrofit the lighting to reduce the cost of electricity use, replace double doors and windows to reduce air leakage, replace boiler and replace piping, install waste oil burner, add blowfill insulation, add 2" insulation. The project scope also involves creating a village “energy champion,” and providing two days of training to implement and sustain these ECMs.
The following ECMs will be completed as part of this project.
|1||Lighting – power retrofit: occupied & heated spaces||Replace T8-32 Watt (W) lamps with 31 FLUOR (2) T8 4ʹ F32T8 25-W Energy-Saver Instant StdElectronic|
|2||Lighting – power retrofit: infrequently used spaces (mechanical room, tank room, storage)||Replace T8-32 W lamps with 31 FLUOR (2) T8 4ʹ F32T8
25-W Energy-Saver Instant StdElectronic
|3||Lighting – power retrofit: unheated spaces need for moving between heated spaces||Replace T8-32 W lamps with 31 FLUOR (2) T8 4 ʹ F32T8
25-W Energy-Saver Instant StdElectronic
|4||Air tightening: replace double entry doors||Replace double entry doors with new, pre-hung, insulated doors to reduce air leakage by 480 cfm at 75 Pascals|
|5||Waste oil heater||
Install a waste oil heater, similar to Reznor RAD-150: acquire waste oil from city and Village operations and burn for heat in the Tannery during the 5 months of operation
|6||Interior spaces demo and build-out||Demo and build out the interior spaces to reduce the size and amount of heated space (125 gallons, 1,931 kWh saved)|
To meet the energy needs of the Tannery, a small residential-size wind turbine will be installed near building.
For the Clinic the following ECMs will be implemented:
|1||Setback thermostat: main building - FT baseboard||Implement a heating temperature unoccupied setback to 64.0 deg F for the main building - FT base-board space|
|2||Air tightening||Perform air sealing to reduce air leakage by 1,500 cfm at 75 pascals|
|3||Exterior door: entry doors||
Remove existing door and install standard pre-hung U-0.16 insulated door, including hardware
|4||Ceiling w/ attic: main building||Add R-42 blown cellulose insulation to attic with standard truss|
Re-commission the boiler, valves, circ. pumps and thermostats in the building
To correct the excessive fuel oil consumption that occurred in 2012 (270 gallons per year savings, assume 8 hours labor + $1,500 travel by certified mechanic)
Located 5 miles from the mainland, 126 miles north of Nome and 100 miles south of Kotzebue, Shishmaref sits on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea.
The project was competitively selected under the START Program in 2013, was awarded funding in 2014, and began work on September 1, 2014.
Native Village of Shishmaref
Tribal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment Assistance
Type of Application
DOE Grant Number
See project status
Project Period of Performance
Start September 2014
End December 2015