While PI/KHS has always tried to operate in an environmentally conscious manner, the notion of environmental impact has been informed more by Inuit values and worldview than quantified measurements of our programs and organization’s energy footprint. In preparation for the construction of a green energy building, and assuming a stronger position of environmental leadership in Nunavut, it is essential that we receive basic training and awareness of key indicators and evaluations of energy use. Our staff, project supplies, and participants often travel thousands of kilometers to accomplish simple workshops and activities. Our facility keeps the lights on by burning diesel fuel. For most people in Nunavut (our all-Elder Board of Directors included), the specific language, technology, and strategies of energy conservation is a foreign concept. While many Inuit organizations conduct energy assessment projects without this knowledge, it is largely through contracting outside consultants to manage this knowledge for them. We have instead selected an Energy consultant with extensive Indigenous experience to coach us through understanding how energy use is measured and assessed, how much energy our building and practices consume, and how this compares with other similar institutions at a national scale. Understanding this data to the extent that we can synthesize and communicate it to the Government, future donors/building funders, and community members across Nunavut, will give us a critical starting point for realizing and contributing to new energy solutions.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, we have been working with the environmental organization Blue Sky Energy Engineering to source required information about our organization’s energy use and help us interpret the results into strategies to ensure action and change from year-to-year through attainable impact reduction goals through the creation of a Climate Action Strategy. Having benchmark data (and knowledge of what this data actually means) will allow our staff to assess the green energy options presented to us, and judge the efficacy of costly future infrastructure against other potentially less costly and more impactful organizational changes such as the prioritization of digital programming, minimizing staff travel, etc. The final Climate Action Strategy will help us outline our environmental targets and create short and long term strategies for meeting them through a combination of green infrastructure, technology and operational best practices. It is our intention that the resulting Strategy will address both mitigative and adaptive measures. It will outline technologies and practices to reduce our energy consumption, but will also identify key environmental thresholds and climate trends affecting our region (such as the decline of certain wildlife populations, changing ice conditions, impacts of coastal erosions). As our new building will be highly integrated with both its surrounding environment and land use activities, we have to structure the programming and research (and by extension, spatial and technological blueprints) for our new building around these very real concerns.
SCOPE OF WORK
The objective of this project is to not only quantify the Society’s current carbon footprint, but to shape a long-term vision and strategy with current actionable steps to reduce environmental impact and combat climate change. This climate action strategy is to be in step with plans completed by the Municipality of
Cambridge Bay and the Inuit Tapiritk Kanatami (ITK) and to mesh with the strategic priorities of the PI/KHS, (as set out in the 2019-2024 Strategic Plan).
We have divided our workplan in four tasks, namely:
Task 1 – Background document review including information and research and assessment of applicable arctic and Indigenous climate mitigation plans.
Task 2 – Energy data collection and assessment for both the existing facility and PI/KHS programs.
Task 3 – Interviews with staff, directors and the lead of the Green Technology Feasibility Study.
Task 4 – Development of the Climate Action Strategy.
Our work with Blue Sky Engineering will also include the following scope of activities:
Assess existing constraints to our organizational energy efficiency (energy infrastructure, shipping requirements, etc.) at a territorial and municipal level.
Review current territorial/municipal initiatives to reduce energy consumption.
Review existing and updated municipal strategies/policies to lessen energy use and environmental impact, and assess potential impact on our organization.
Review the energy use and efficiency of the existing facilities for our organization. Assist with the collection of required data for a chosen form of energy assessment of our facilities. This includes helping to compile required information for the Canadian Conservation Institute's National Museum survey to assess annual energy consumption of heritage facilities across Canada. We intend for this research to result in benchmark data to see how our existing centre’s energy consumption compares to other facilities across the country, and to use in future comparative assessments of our new facility’s efficiency.
Measure the carbon footprint of our organization’s programs, travel and non-facilities-based activities.
Review our projected programming and initiatives throughout the current strategic plan (2019-2024) to assess short-term changes that can be made to reduce environmental impact.
Work with staff and board at our organization to outline a Climate Action Strategy.
Create a final document/report outlining existing energy consumption/carbon footprint, and sets goals for emissions reduction over the next 10 years. This document will take into account the results of the Green Building Technology Feasibility study being conducted in tandem with this project.
Provide plain language results, reports and materials that can easily be converted into a Communications portfolio for our organization to share via website, social media platforms, and public-facing marketing materials.
Our project is currently in progress and will produce the following deliverables by March 31st, 2021:
A review of energy use at PI/KHS' May Hakongak Cultural Centre facility including an assessment of historical consumption analysis (depending on extent of data available), facility benchmarking and an
existing technology energy assessment. The compiled data will be summarized in a final report and a database format.
Determination of the carbon footprint of the current facility and the PI/KHS programs using standard protocols.
Development of a vision, goal and strategies for climate mitigation and the reduction of green house gas emissions with identified, specific short and long-term actions.
Completion of a community centered final report summarizing energy analysis and the climate change action plan in straightforward language.