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Energy Challenge Winners Save Thousands on Their Utility Bills


Small Changes add up to Big Energy Savings For Local Businesses

Anchorage, AK – Winners of the second annual Great Alaska Energy Challenge were announced this week, with Nortech, The Nature Conservancy and Bosco’s Comics earning top honors. This friendly competition connects local businesses with state-run efficiency programs and encourages them to reduce their energy consumption during the winter months when utility bills are at their highest. 

Each year, Alaskans spend more than $5 billion on heat, electricity and transportation. The Challenge is part of broader statewide goal to reduce energy consumption 15% per capita by 2020, and mandate energy efficiency retrofits on 25% of Alaska’s public buildings by 2025.

Through extensive efficiency and conservation efforts, this year’s Challenge participants saved the equivalent of nearly 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel combined.  For Fairbanks Engineering firm Nortech, this translated into over $3,000 in savings on their utility bills over last winter.

“As energy efficiency specialists we recognize that a small investment and effort to conserve energy has the potential to make a noticeable difference in energy costs and more sustainable operating costs,” said David Scherer, Senior Engineer for NORTECH Environmental, Energy, Health, & Safety.  NORTECH worked with Rivendell Development, the building owner/landlord to complete an energy audit in order to identify cost effective energy efficiency measures.  They then replaced the inefficient front door, repaired the inner arctic entry door, sealed building envelope leaks and performed a LED light retrofit.

Bosco’s Comics owner John Weddleton of Anchorage had already made major efficiency improvements in his warehouse, including insulating his overhead door and exterior concrete block walls, installing programmable thermostats, changing out lights and more. 

“I’m amazed that more people aren’t doing this.  If little, tiny Bosco’s can do this, then any business can do this,” said Weddleton.

Winners were picked on the basis of four different categories: those who had the lowest heat and electricity use overall and those who showed the biggest change in heat and electricity use. Winners of the four categories were:

  - Biggest Change – Heat: Nortech

- Lowest Use – Heat: Nortech

- Biggest Change – Electricity: The Nature Conservancy

- Lowest Use – Electricity:  Bosco’s Comics (The Batcave)

The Challenge, which ran from October 2012 to March 2013, was organized by Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP), sponsored by Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and supported by Green Star Inc. It focused on private commercial buildings, with the goal of raising awareness about energy efficiency and conservation, and money. 

“Everyone wins by learning about energy efficiency and conservation,” said Project Manager Shaina Kilcoyne. “Energy efficiency is always the cheapest, cleanest and fastest energy resource, making it Alaska’s first fuel.” 

Find out more about the Great Alaska Energy Challenge (including 2011 Challenge results) and energy saving tips for home and work at www.akenergychallenge.org.  

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