Tagiugmiullu Nunamiullu
Housing Authority (TNHA)

TNHA Receives New Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
Award of $471,168 and $1,884,672 in HUD IHBG Match 
to Improve Energy Efficiency and Reduce Utility Costs on the North Slope

Saving $25 million over 10 years!!!!!

From time to time funding opportunities are made available for purposes other than new housing development, and TNHA does our best to take advantage of those funding opportunities. Last spring TNHA staff and administration, in response to an Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) notice of funding availability, proposed a project which will dramatically improve the energy efficiency of single and multifamily housing in each of the communities served by TNHA. 

This proposal has been newly approved and fully funded. It will consist of conversion of two hundred sixty-two (262) single and multifamily housing units from incandescent lighting to energy efficient LED lighting, and the installation of solar hot water heating in seventy-eight (78) single family homes.

The seventy-eight target homes for hot water heating upgrade to solar hot water are located in villages which utilize fuel oil for routine household heating. The villages of Barrow and Nuiqsut are not included in the solar heating project, as those villages utilize natural gas for home heating purposes and the return on investment would be minimal. However, as a matter of fairness, the village of Nuiqsut and the 1937 Housing Act low income housing stock in Barrow will be identified for priority service on the LED conversion portion of the project. The project Total Development Cost (TDC) is estimated at $2,355,840 and, of this total, the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development will provide $1,884,672, and AHFC has awarded TNHA $471,168.

Incandescent/CFL to LED Conversion is long overdue on the North Slope. TNHA intends that the conversion of our first 262 residential units will be the first step toward 100% conversion of public and private facilities in our North Slope villages over the next two years. The benefits of a LED lighting conversions are well understood and well-documented.                                                                                                                

Of course, the most important feature of LED lighting is energy efficiency.  LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.  LED products are extremely long-lasting and provide 20,000 - 50,000 hours of light depending on the model.  That is up to 50 times the life of an average incandescent bulb, and 5 times the life of an average CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light).  Using LED lights 8 hours per day, it would take approximately 17 years until a replacement light is required.  For example, one
Lighting Science, dimmable, energy star rated LED bulb using only 13.5 watts of energy is equivalent to the power of an incandescent bulb using 60 watts.  This “warm white” LED uses 13.5 W to produce 800 lumens and last 50,000 hours. Aside from using much less energy and creating less heat than other types of lighting technology, LEDs are also environmentally friendly, mercury-free,  leave a small carbon footprint, and do not contain any toxic chemicals or hazardous substances.  

The green project conversion of 262 units, estimated outcomes follow:



Units Ea.

Energy Star

Monthly Savings

Annual Savings

Ten Year Savings

100W Incandescent

20 Watt Sylvania A21Soft White LED






60 W Incandescent

13.5  Watt Lighting Science Soft White LED  A21






50 Watt Incandescent Globe

8 Watt Lighting Science Dimmable Globe LED-G25






14 Watt 24” Fluorescent

T-5 Multi-LED Linear Lamp






Total Estimated Savings







Computations of combined monthly, one year, and ten year, savings with conversion of only 262 housing units and reveal the probability of dramatic savings, and with the addition of seven (7) Cooper Wiring, Occupancy/Vacancy Detector, 8 amp motion sensor light switches per unit, it is anticipated that the actual savings will prove to be even greater. These estimated outcomes more than justify the initial investment, and support the reasonable expectation of even more dramatic savings with the conversion of additional future units.  Environmental Impacts also include: CO2 Emissions Reduction of 10,493.98 Metric Tons.

Notes: Computations contain the following assumptions:

  • Average NSB household annual electrical energy consumption 8,230 kilowatt hours
  • 285 Consumption Days @8hours per day
  • $0.15 Rate to 600 kilowatt hours per month $0.35 Rate 601 kilowatt hours and up. Average combined KWH Rate per household $0.2498.

Integrated Solar Hot Water

One of the largest energy users in a home is the domestic water heater.  On an annual basis in a very well insulated home, the energy consumed to heat domestic water can often equal the energy required to heat the home. The simplicity, efficiency, low maintenance and life-expectancy of solar thermal systems can make them an excellent renewable energy source, even with the variable sun exposure found in Alaska. With appropriate storage capacity, they can also be utilized for space heating.

One of the challenges with using photovoltaic solar collectors in northern climates, especially high latitudes, is that the peak energy use comes during the cold, dark winters, when solar energy is relatively unavailable. However, the summer months in arctic Alaska bring 24 hours of sunlight, warm temperatures and mild weather. This is an optimal environment for solar thermal technologies, according to research by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Center for Energy and Power. Heat derived from these systems can be used to meet domestic hot water demands, which remain fairly constant throughout the year, or supplement low-grade heating requirements sometimes necessary during arctic summers.

TNHA utilizes a Gobi Heliodyne three (4’x8’) panel system to heat a Superstor 80 gallon water tank. It is estimated that this system will offset 7 million BTUs March through September. That equates to approximately 50 gallons of fuel. Data TNHA is collecting in the village of Kaktovik already indicates that the BTUs produced by this system far exceed these estimates. Data TNHA is collecting in the village of Kaktovik is already indicating that the BTUs produced are far exceeding these estimates. At subsidized residential fuel rates, the payback is much slower, however the subsidy savings cost for the NSB would be dramatic.

The cost of these systems is steadily decreasing. Technology for storage of thermal heat is continually being developed. The cost of fuel is increasing rapidly.  It is sensible to offset our dependence on fossil fuels in a variety of ways. Using the sun to heat water is an ancient idea that resonates in Alaska. 

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