Northern California Indian Reservation
The issue: A small reservation in northern California had recently acquired a few older buildings and built new ones to house their administrative departments and Tribal members. The older buildings were often uncomfortable, and utility costs for the newer buildings put a strain on budgets already stretched thin. The Tribe was interested in sustainability, alternative energies, and conserving resources (including financial resources) while building a sense of tradition and community.
The Solution: Current-C Energy [Systems] was contracted to conduct an energy efficiency assessment of 4 Tribal buildings, supply an alternative energy feasibility study, provide basic weatherization training to Tribal members; presenting these recommendations to Tribal Council.
Current-C Energy [Systems] reviewed previous reports and the Governing Documents of the Tribe, consulted with Tribal officials and Tribal members, performed a site visit, and consulted with Tribal officials and staff members. The final site visit included training on weatherization concepts and techniques for staff members, as well as a report to Tribal Council on recommendations. Those were:
- Substantial energy savings could be achieved through improving the buildings and the way they are used
- Tribal members and staff could achieve substantial cost savings and significantly improved comfort by having a small team weatherize buildings and institute other “low cost / no cost” programs
- One building in particular used 50% more energy than other buildings of similar use in a similar climate, primarily in space conditioning; when a proposed addition is designed, a ground-source heat pump system was recommended
- Two solar generation systems were recommended, a DC stand-alone system for a small water pump and grid-tied system as part of an outdoor community gathering space, providing power to 1 or 2 adjacent buildings.