2017 Annual Report

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation

Home Energy Rebate Program

Home Energy Rebate Program winds down

The Home Energy Rebate Program has, since its inception in 2008, had a substantial impact on improving quality of life and contributing to energy savings for Alaska’s families. The program is now in its final year of execution.

AHFC allowed new applicants through March 25, 2016 and gave those eligible 18 months to complete residential energy efficiency upgrades.

At the end of FY17, 856 participants were in the program. It is estimated that the program will wind down entirely in summer 2018.

More than 26,000 homes were upgraded through the program that translates to 16 percent of all owner-occupied homes in Alaska. Energy savings for the program coupled with AHFC’s Weatherization program is estimated at 3.8 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) annually, equivalent to 27.7 million gallons of fuel oil.

Snapshot of the Home Energy Rebate End of FY17

Initial ratings 41,034
Rebates paid 26,199
5 Star Plus paid 3,371
6 Star paid 264
Average rebate $6,968

Escaping the Silent Killer

Saving more than just energy and money

AHFC’s Home Energy Rebate Program ended its enrollment in March 2016. Since inception in 2008 the program has been saving energy costs for more than 26,000 Alaskans. For Anchorage couple Roberta and Darren Richardson it might have saved more.

When considering energy efficiency upgrades Roberta and Darren didn’t plan to replace their furnace but their energy rater convinced them it was a good idea.

“When the heating contractor came to the house he told us it was a good thing we were replacing the furnace since it had a crack in it and could leak carbon monoxide,” said Roberta. “I did not have a CO detector in our home so this news was absolutely worrisome.”

Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas responsible for several deaths in Alaska every year. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indoor carbon monoxide typically comes from malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances, such as furnaces. For information about how to protect your family from the “silent killer” consult with EPA’s publication Protecting Your Family and Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Through the Home Energy Rebate program Roberta and her husband were able to make energy-efficiency upgrades to their home that included a new furnace, new windows, a new garage door and new appliances.

“I’m so grateful for the Rebate Program and really believe that it may have saved our lives.”

Roberta and Darren’s home went from a 2 Star Plus energy rating to a 4 Star Plus, increasing not just its efficiency but also its safety, livability and overall value.

“We have learned so much through this process, including what to look for and what to avoid in our next home. More importantly, I know that when we are ready to sell this home we are going to be selling a home that is worthy to another family.”

Even though the Home Energy Rebate program has ended, Alaskans still have an opportunity to make their homes safer, more comfortable and energy efficient. Through federal and state funding, the Weatherization program is available to those who meet certain income limits. The program is free for those who qualify.

Healthier Homes

40 years of making homes healthier

The State of Alaska has invested heavily in the income based Weatherization program. Since 2008 the Legislature has made more than $355 million available. In FY17 AHFC weatherized 410 homes through partners like RuralCap and Interior Weatherization whose combined work bring the total number of weatherized homes to near 20,000 and achieving approximately 30 percent in energy cost savings.

The Weatherization program is the nation’s oldest and largest whole-home energy efficiency program that celebrated its 40th anniversary in FY17. Since its inception in 1976 the income-based program has made more than 7 million homes more comfortable and energy efficient across the nation.

Efficiency Loan

City of Galena pioneers energy efficiency loan

The first financing through AHFC’s Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund took place in FY17 when the City of Galena was approved by the AHFC board for a loan of $2,445,000 for energy improvements of the city’s central boiler plant.

The $250 million loan fund was created in 2010 by the Alaska Legislature when they passed Senate Bill 220 that allowed AHFC to provide financing for permanent energy efficient building improvements owned by regional educational attendance areas, University of Alaska, the state, or municipalities. Savings from improvements are used to repay the loan.

Governor's Energy Challenge

AHFC gets behind Governor’s Energy Challenge

AHFC’s joined Governor Bill Walker’s initiative Great Alaska Energy Challenge, a voluntary competition between state agencies to reduce facility energy use during a six month period starting in October and going through March 2017.

The AHFC cross-functional team collected energy usage data for six buildings that included Anchorage headquarters, Anchorage Family Investment Center, Fairbanks Family Investment Center, Nome Housing Operations, Bethel Housing Operations; and 4319 Reka Drive in Anchorage, a public housing rental property.

The buildings competed in four categories:

  • Greatest reduction in heat consumption (Winner: Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center, Bethel)
  • Lowest heat consumption (Winner: Northern Region Administrative Headquarters, Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities, Fairbanks
  • Greatest reduction in electricity consumption (Winner: Yukon-Kuskokwim Correctional Center, Bethel)
  • Lowest electricity consumption (Winner: Alaska Public Health Laboratory, Anchorage)

Although AHFC did not win the competition, multiple energy efficiency and conservation initiatives were executed including building energy audits, lighting upgrades and building control systems optimization. The most significant benefit from participation in the Great Alaska Energy Challenge was the formation of the cross functional team of employees who continue to further AHFC building efficiencies.

EE NOW Conference

EE NOW Conference lights up downtown Anchorage

Champions for energy efficiency gathered in Anchorage to explore new technology and learn from each other at AHFC’s third annual EE Now conference that was themed Discovering the Value of Energy Efficiency in Commercial and Residential Buildings. The FY17 conference drew 120 people and included sessions aimed not only at commercial and residential builders but also real estate professionals.

AHFC’s goal of the conference was to increase awareness of the value of energy efficiency upgrades among homeowners, appraisers, building owners, operations and maintenance, architects, engineers, weatherization specialists and others by using case studies and real world experiences from professionals in this wide range of fields.

Sandy Adomatis, nationally recognized expert appraiser for valuing green-energy properties, taught several sessions about how to properly value energy efficient homes and used Alaskan properties as examples.

Builder of the Year

Soldotna builder lands title Builder of the Year

Clint Hall, owner of Hall Quality Builders in Soldotna received AHFC’s Builder of the Year award in FY17. The award was presented to Mr. Hall by Alan Wilson, vice chairman of the AHFC Board of Directors at the Build AK conference in Anchorage that was organized by Alaska State Home Building Association.

The award recognized a builder for constructing the most energy-efficient home in 2016, and was ranked amongst homebuilder association members. Builder of the Year brings attention to the value of investing early in quality efficiency construction.

Of 438 homes rated and verified through AHFC’s Home Energy Rating System, the Hall-built home located in Kenai scored 96.1 of 100 total points for efficiency.

The home, measuring 1,191 square feet has projected annual energy costs of $1,972 per year, the bulk of which accounts for lighting and appliances.

Smart Energy Tech

Saving energy and money by using smart technology

AHFC continued to build out its building monitoring system in FY17. The corporation installed the system in an additional 14 buildings during the fiscal year, bringing the total number of AHFC buildings using the system to 29.

The building monitoring system uses computer software to track a wide range of data about the building, including occupancy, temperature, electrical and fuel use; and it captures information from multiple outside sources such as, weather stations, building automation systems and databases. Sensors relay up-to-the- minute information allowing AHFC’s maintenance team to ensure proper operation, shutdown during unoccupied periods, troubleshoot operational difficulties; and it aids in design consideration of renovation or new building
appliances.

Outside the agency, Mat-Su Borough School District is participating in an eight-school pilot project using the building monitoring system. Other interested entities are Department of Transportation, Southcentral Foundation and Cook Inlet Housing Authority. Alaska Energy Authority and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium have already started to use the monitoring system.

The result of monitoring and fine tuning of heating and cooling systems at AHFC’s headquarters in Anchorage resulted in an 18 percent reduction in energy costs, and similar savings are expected elsewhere.

The system uses open source software and is available at no cost at https://code.ahfc.us/energy/bmon.

Power Pledge Challenge

Lessons create lots of energy

Students completed a hands-on activity from the curriculum and learned how to calculate energy usage and ways to reduce it at home. Then, they conducted an online home energy audit with their families and identified specific actions they would take to use energy more efficiently.

More than 2,200 middle school students from 90 classrooms in 15 Alaska schools participated in the Power Pledge Challenge supported by Chugach Electric, Alaska Electric Light and Power Company, Municipal Light & Power, Alaska Energy Authority, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, Matanuska Electric Association and AHFC.

Each classroom that had 75 percent or greater student participation in the pledge was entered to win a grand prize.

Mayme Troutman’s fourth period science class from Wasilla Middle School was the grand prize winning class, and was awarded an ice cream party with a visit from Alaska’s First Lady Donna Walker.

Rural Grants

Grants pave the way for energy efficiency in rural Alaska

Providing safer, more energy efficient and affordable housing for residents in rural and urban Alaska is the goal for the Supplemental Housing Development Grant Program.

Funds may be applied toward energy efficiency design features, on-site water and sewer systems, access roads to development, and electrical distribution to homes on project sites. One example, pictured, completed in FY17 was Ketchikan Indian Community Housing Authority’s affordable Upper Jackson housing development. The seven-plex property has five two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units with original funding dating to FY15.

Funding for FY17 was awarded to nine regional housing authorities supporting construction of 65 units and rehabilitation of 197 units. Grants were distributed as follows:

 

Agency-Project Award
Aleutian Housing Authority $183,000.00
Bristol Bay Housing Authority $276,854.06
Bering Straits Regional Housing Authority $276,854.06
Cook Inlet Housing Authority $276,854.06
Copper River Basin Housing Authority $276,854.06
Interior Regional Housing Authority $276,854.06
North Pacific Rim Housing Authority $130,000.00
Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority $276,854.06
Taigiugmiullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority $275,875.64
TOTAL $2,250,000.00

 

Here's how funds are being spent:

AK Energy Smart

Energy education for tomorrow’s leaders

AK EnergySmart is a K-12 curriculum designed by Alaskans for Alaskan students to raise energy literacy. The Renewable Energy Alaska Project is contracted by AHFC to maintain the curriculum and train teachers in its use with the goal of widespread incorporation of the material into districts across the state.

AK EnergySmart has been presented to school district administrators, at teacher trainings, and in classrooms across the state during FY17. The curriculum was presented to more than 180 teachers and 3,200 students. Teacher trainings were provided in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Glenallen, Kodiak and Unalaska. Webinars were provided to participants in five communities, including Kodiak, Mountain Village, Larsen Bay, Hooper Bay and Numan Iqua.

To increase awareness and recruit more teachers to the program, AHFC and the Renewable Energy Alaska Project produced a promotional video featured on Facebook and other digital platforms.