Here at the Island Institute, we try to make our space available for good things happening in the community (for instance, meetings of the local Carbon Emissions Reduction group who have launched this offset initiative!). For the last few years since our move to 304 Baranof St, we've had a Toyo stove chugging away on one wall of the room, burning oil and contributing to global warming, even though better, cheaper alternatives for heating are available (for more information about Sitka appropriate alternatives, visit www.sitkarainpower.org).
We were recently awarded a grant of $500 through the Carbon Offset Fund, and we used that money towards two heat pumps in our building. Once we decided to do the installation with Matt Christner of Bay Contracting, things happened pretty easily and quickly. Matt came in, determined the ideal location of the heat pump and recommended an appropriate model. We applied for a simple building permit from the City of Sitka, heard back in just a couple days, and then scheduled a time for installation. It took about a day to get the heat pumps in, and then we brought in Sitka Electric to handle the wiring. Matt came back to confirm that the pumps were working properly, and we were all set. Including installation, costs came out to around $4,500 per unit. We expect we'll make that money back in savings on our utilities and oil heating bills in the next few years.
The second heat pump, which is installed in the apartment upstairs, will help us bring visiting artists, writers, and other guests to Sitka through the winter, or can help us better generate revenue to offer programs which will benefit the community in a variety of ways.
Now, our building is quieter, warmer, cheaper to heat, and isn't using fossil fuels. We're using local hydro power, which helps get user-ship up closer to capacity, which will eventually mean lower electric rates for everybody in town. It feels good! Thanks to Sitka Carbon Offset Fund for helping us get there.
Board & Staff of the Island Institute