Date: January 13, 2012
Contact:Gregg Bruff, 906-387-2607, ext. 208
To mark the successful conclusion of the Alger Energy Savers program, George and Diane Culter of Munising were awarded $2,500 toward the purchase of new Energy Star appliances. The Alger Energy Savers community engagement effort launched in January 2011 to help area residents understand the linkage between energy use and climate change and to increase energy efficiency throughout Alger County.
The goals of the project were to (1) educate Alger County citizens about the science of and solutions to climate change as it affects National Parks, (2) achieve quantifiable reductions in energy use, and (3) motivate and enable Alger County citizens to pursue further energy use reductions. The program set objectives of visiting at least 300 homes, installing over 3,000 energy efficient measures within these homes, and providing building energy assessments, free energy efficiency measures, and matching funding to at least 50 businesses.
The Alger Energy Savers program was developed by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust in Marquette. Project funding was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Installation and energy outreach discussions were conducted by Michigan Energy Options, also of Marquette. ICF International contributed with program design, analysis and branding.
Alger Energy Savers was an effort to "think globally - act locally" to reduce our collective carbon footprint. This is at a time when a recent report from the Global Carbon Project notes that 2010 recorded the largest increase in world carbon dioxide production since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010 and the concentration of carbon dioxide is earth's atmosphere is now 392 parts per million (ppm). The Global Carbon Project is an international collaboration of scientists tracking emission numbers. National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis has called climate change "fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced. The current science confirms the planet is warming and the effects are here and now."
According to Chief of Heritage Education Gregg Bruff, Alger Energy Savers was developed and implemented in two phases. In phase one, the residential program focused on developing and rolling out the program to the communities of Grand Marais and Munising. During phase two, the business program was developed and rolled out to the business community of Alger County and the residential program was expanded to include residents throughout Alger County.
Both the residential and business programs targeted the communities of Grand Marais and Munising in Alger County and then expanded to engage the general county population. Grand Marais and Munising were chosen as the focus communities because of the role that they play as "gateway communities" for visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a unit of the National Park Service.
Seasonal Park Ranger Andrea Chynoweth presented numerous programs in the county and facilitated many of the home and business owners signing up for the program. Over 10 months, the Alger Energy Savers residential program visited 305 homes or 11% of Grand Marais and Munising residences. The visits inspired almost 95% of participants to either take, or plan to take, next steps to improve their home energy efficiency.
The Alger Energy Savers home visit program installed 3,194 energy efficiency measures, resulting in an estimated 1,783,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity saved over the lifetime of the products and reduction of an estimated 2,054 tons of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Over the lifetime of these measures, AES estimates that residents will save $320,900. The most installed measures in the residential program were the CFL light bulbs (1,963 bulbs), followed by low-flow faucet aerators in the bathrooms and kitchens (565 aerators).
Through 30 business visits, the AES program delivered 527 free energy efficiency measures for businesses to install, resulting in an estimated 124,430 kWh saved over the lifetime of the products and an estimated carbon abatement of over 150 tons. Over the lifetime of these measures, AES estimates that businesses will save $9,100. The most installed measures in the business program were coil CFL light bulbs (234 bulbs), faucet aerators (170 aerators), and low-flow showerheads (103 heads). The business program provided $20,600 of matching funding to motivate businesses to take further energy efficiency steps.
Alger Energy Savers provided incentive programs for participants to both motivate individuals and businesses to participate and to spread the word about the program. A raffle was developed in which residents were entered after participating in the program and had the opportunity to win Energy Star appliances. Each household was entered into the drawing eventually won by the Culters.
In addition to reductions in carbon dioxide, program success was evaluated by Superior Watershed Partnership. SWP report that residential participants found the program to be both well implemented and informative, giving the program an average rating of 4.84 and 4.23 out of 5 respectively in follow-up surveys.