The FNEI program focused on:
- Educating community members on the importance of energy conservation and how they can achieve this with simple actions
- Reducing energy use in all homes, thus saving money on energy bills
- Promoting a long-term sustainable conservation approach
We asked community members for energy tips for use in our 2012 calendar and other campaigns:
Cold Water Wash Campaign:
Postcards were printed with community members’ Energy Efficient clothes washing tips – mailed to everyone. Redeemable for a free jug of Sunlight cold water detergent at local Northern Stores.
For three winters between 2011 to 2013 the children of Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany each received a half-day, hands-on science lesson in their classrooms. Each year culminated in a community Energy Fair where everyone was invited to share with the children what they learned about energy production and conservation. This FNEI Program contributed funds to the schools to engage the educational organization Elephant Thoughts to deliver the classroom training and to host the Energy Fairs.
Window Film Event:
In 2011 under the FNEI Conservation Program, we purchased 3M Window Kits, one for each home in all three communities. Each box contained enough plastic and tape to cover at least 7 windows. The product installs over the windows inside the home, and when properly adhered makes an airtight seal, stopping all air leakage and condensation. A great way to keep your home warmer and to avoid mold growth on window ledges. The FNEI program kits were handed out over one day in each community’s Northern Store. The remaining boxes were distributed by the housing managers. The product can be reused year after year if handled carefully.
Pilot Project – Solar Thermal Wall Unit:
In 2012 the Belleville Rotary Club donated the funds to purchase this solar thermal wall unit. A home in Fort Albany, with no obstructions to the winter sun, was chosen for the pilot project. The unit uses no electricity to operate and provides free heat to the home.
How does it work? A small solar panel at the top turns on a small fan when the sun shines on the unit, drawing air from inside the home into the larger part of the panel, the sun heats the home’s air and the fan helps push the heated air back into the home.
A thermostat on the inside of the home controls how much free heat transfers to the home. The unit can be switched off for the summer. Solar thermal walls can be mounted on rooftops as well. It is hoped that additional funding could be found to purchase several more units to test their effectiveness to reduce winter power bills.
Pilot Project – Installed Permanent Window Film
In 2012, the Belleville Rotary Club also donated the funds to purchase rolls of security window film. This invisible film was applied to the inside of windows in many homes in Fort Albany as a pilot project. The intent was to determine if the film would provide air leakage control in the event of a window being broken while the occupants await the replacement of the broken window (which may be years). The installation was a bit tricky, but the product proved it’s worth many times – holding broken glass intact and eliminating air leakage through the holes and cracks. To date, no additional funding has been secured to allow the application of this film on all windows in the three communities.
FNEI program survey results assisted with planning future energy-saving programs, for example:
- Provide power bars to reduce phantom load
- Provide the opportunity for collecting CFL bulbs for proper disposal
- Education on the benefit of buying Energy Star-labeled appliances
- Education on the efficient use of baseboards and space heaters
Installed Energy Saving Products
FNEI hired local workers to install a variety of energy-efficient products, such as low flow showerheads and aerators, CFL bulbs, block heater timers, etc. in all homes.
We produced a series of calendars with energy-saving tips and conservation-related artwork and messages from local people. You can view the covers here, or download some of the calendars in PDF format below.
Addressing the Challenges
FNEI’s challenge was in maintaining education and awareness of energy efficiency. To address this challenge we:
- Set up a FNEI Conservation Program Facebook page for each Community
- Created community posters
- Published a yearly calendar with energy efficiency tips, local artwork, and photos
- Updated the FNEI Website with information about the FNEI Conservation Program
- Collaborated for three years with the schools and “Elephant Thoughts” for hands-on classroom science
- Collaborated with the schools and “Elephant Thoughts” to hold three annual Energy Fairs in each community
- Installed energy efficiency products and conducted energy use surveys in every home with local workers
- Held several community Energy Conservation events in each Northern Store