Awards honour top energy savers in NWT

Awards honour top energy savers in NWT

Nominations for the 2012 Energy Action Awards have closed. The Arctic Energy Alliance received 18 nominations for individuals, businesses and institutions that have made informed choices about energy conservation. The awards are now in their 12th year of celebrating contributions to the environment by local people and organizations.

The Arctic Energy Alliance, founded as a not-for-profit society in the Northwest Territories in 1997, has for more than a decade used the awards to further its agenda of helping people and communities to not only reduce their impact on the environment, but also to help them save money that can be better used elsewhere. The Energy Action Awards recognize environmental achievements related to energy and utilities.

“This is a long-standing tradition of recognizing individuals, businesses, communities that are really making a difference,” said Louie Azzolini, executive director of Arctic Energy Alliance.

Azzolini said the awards are not there to reward specific behaviours, but to encourage people of the Northwest Territories to make informed choices about their energy and water usage.

“We’re obviously hoping that by promoting and letting other people know what others have done successfully that they might consider it. If there is a behavioural change, it’s one where we encourage and support folks to go out there and give it a try. It works,” Azzolini said.

For instance, Ethel Blake of Tsiigehtchic, who was nominated for her role in helping to install and replace seven EPA-rated wood stoves in the homes of elders, won an award last year. The initiative she helped drive forward resulted in elders using less wood and getting more heat from every block of wood, in turn creating better living environments.

“Its purpose is to help individuals, communities, businesses save energy, save money and to help them look and consider and adopt alternative energy solutions,” Azzolini said.

With a variety of options available to people beyond traditional electricity, the Arctic Energy Alliance recommends the use of biomass (wood heating), solar power, wind power and geothermal, all of which are being evaluated and have their place in different communities in the NWT, he said.

“At Fort Simpson, they recently inaugurated the largest solar installation in the Northwest Territories. There are plans for the possibility of having wind power. It’s been planned and ready to go in Tuktoyaktuk. There’s geothermal work going on in Fort Liard and the possibility of having geothermal in places like Fort Providence and Fort Simpson, as well,” Azzolini said.

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