The Tlingit and Haida Regional Housing Authority and the University of Alaska Southeast are teaming up to provide energy efficiency training and certification and free weatherization services in Juneau and other Southeast communities for the Lyman Hoffman Weatherization Program.
The grants are part of bill passed by the Alaska Legislature in 2008 sponsored by Senator Lyman Hoffman of Bethel. The bill includes $3 million for weatherization statewide.
Weatherization programs save energy and reduce the use of fossil fuels, especially oil during winter.
Over several years, UAS was reviewed as a model for a two-year program for the U.S. Department of Energy Building America Program. UAS is one of only three places in Alaska and the only educational institution that provides weatherization certification, according to Marquam George, Associate Professor of Construction Technology and instructor in charge of training for this program.
“I’ve been developing a curriculum over a number of years,” said George. “Then Tlingit and Haida wrote [UAS] in their Department of Energy grant as the educational providers.”
The program is funded by more than $8 million in grants awarded to the THRHA to provide weatherization training. Classes are held at a home purchased by THRHA on Brittany Place in the Eagle’s Edge subdivision in Lemon Creek. The home provides a lab setting for hands on learning.
“This modular home has oil-fired forced air heating and a number of things that are good for testing,” said George. “We use this house for creating mock-ups, where participants can practice installing things and using other techniques.”
Students in the program praise George’s teaching style.
“The success of this program is really the instructor,” said Craig Moore, THRHA vice president for planning and development.
Moore believes the UAS curriculum for weatherization is one of the best available.
“Our curriculum is one of the most credible in the nation,” he said.
About 40 Alaska Natives from all over the State have come to Juneau for the training. Another 100 rural residents of Southeast received training through a Denali Commission program in 2008.
According to AHFC numbers, weatherizing your home increases energy savings by about 35 percent per year. Weatherization also boosts the Juneau economy by bringing in workers interested in training and finding jobs weatherizing homes in the community.
Weatherization classes are offered free of charge to Alaska Natives and for a fee to non-Native individuals interested in taking the training course. The program includes BPI Building Analyst approved certification curriculum. Class sizes are limited to 12 individuals.
The first training course was offered Feb. 28 through March 4. More classes will be offered throughout the year. For class offerings, qualifications for subsidized home weatherization, or additional information about the weatherization program, please visit www.thrha.org.