For the past 20 years, the Arctic Energy Alliance (AEA) has been helping Northerners implement a number of different energy-efficient systems, products and practices into their homes and businesses.
They’re a non-profit organization that has worked with over 30 communities throughout the NWT, and as they outline on their website, their mission is “to promote and facilitate the adoption of efficient and renewable energy practices by all members of NWT Society.”
Although he’s been working at the AEA for well over eight months now, executive director Mark Heyck said that he’s still amazed by the reach that the organization has across the territory.
“One of the things that I’ve been really impressed with is that regional presence, and the ability in the organization to get out into virtually every single NWT community,” he said.
The organization has regional offices scattered in communities across the territory, with a new office space scheduled to open up in Inuvik sometime in the near future.
Heyck will be attending the town’s Arctic Development Expo from June 10 to 12, where he’s listed as a guest speaker for the “Energy Resiliency in the Changing Arctic” discussion on June 11.
The organization’s means of promoting green energy practices to NWT residents is through a wide variety of programs that offer rebates on a number of different energy-efficient or renewable energy products and services.
“There’s a lot of different products that we offer rebates for. Energy Star certified appliances, such as fridges, freezers,” said Heyck. “Heating appliances, including Energy Star certified instantaneous on-demand water heaters. We’ve got rebates for home upgrades, LED lighting and more.”
If you were to purchase a Energy Star certified fridge, for example, you’re able to receive a rebate of up to $400 depending on if you live in a community powered by diesel or hydro power.
“A lot of energy efficient products are priced more highly than their non-efficient cousins. We want to remove any premium that someone would be expected to pay for to get highly efficient product as opposed to an inefficient one,” said Heyck. “In fact, in some cases, I would say that we’re surpassing that premium, so really strongly incentivising consumers to make the choice to move to more energy efficient products.”
One of their existing programs for municipalities includes offering up to $50,000 in rebates for energy upgrades for those community governments who want to reduce their buildings’ use of electrical, heat and water energy.
“We like to preach energy efficiency before looking at renewable energy, so making sure that the appliances that you have and the way you use energy is being done as efficiently as possible,” he said.
The goal of the rebates, he continued, is to not only help the reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. But the rebates are also designed to encourage Northerners to take steps from just conserving energy at home to actually utilizing energy efficient products and services.
“Sometimes those first-two steps – the conservation and the energy efficiency side – get lost in the discussion because people like to talk about the sexy new technology in renewables,” he said. “But it’s really important that we remember to keep an eye on conservation and efficiency.”