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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Energy Efficiency and Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions on the Northern Cheyenne Tribe Reservation

Northern Cheyenne Tribe Reservation, Montana

Federal Funding: $200,000
Project Timeline: February 2010 – December 2013

Latest Update

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe completed an energy audit and feasibility study for the Tribal Environmental Protection Department (EPD) office, which included a preliminary score indicating Gold Level Certification. The findings were used to develop a plan to retrofit and install green power products in the building. The building retrofit plan has been prioritized into phases and the EPD will continue to fundraise to ensure completion of phases that are not covered by the Climate Showcase Communities grant. The Northern Cheyenne Housing Authority continues to retrofit the EPD building, including installing new windows, a new heating and cooling system, energy-efficient lighting, and new flooring. EPD set up an account in EPA’s Portfolio Manager and is adding electrical and propane data to track greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. Upcoming activities include measuring the GHG emission reductions and energy savings from the retrofit of the EPD building and holding an open house to educate the community once the retrofits are complete.

Photos

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TLakota Solar Enterprises hosted eight
trainees from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.

Red Cloud Center

In August 2011, National Wildlife Federation, Trees, Water, People and our Pine Ridge partner, Lakota Solar Enterprises hosted eight trainees from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.

A blower door test being performed on the Preble Town Hall.

Straw Bale Building

Visiting tribal members were trained in the theory and practice of straw bale building and actually built a straw bale structure that is now used to house trainees at the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center.

For one week, Northern Cheyenne trainees lived at the Center and learned how to build a straw bale structure from start to finish. The trainees were extremely excited to bring their new knowledge back to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The hope is to build a straw bale shop building for the Northern Cheyenne Sustainable Business Cooperative.

Cheyenne Trainees

For one week, Northern Cheyenne trainees learned how to build a straw bale structure from start to finish. The trainees were extremely excited to bring their new knowledge back to the Reservation. The hope is to build one for the Northern Cheyenne Sustainable Business Cooperative.

Photo of students in program.

Northern Cheyenne Energy Efficiency Training

Students receive field training on completing energy efficiency audits.

Northern Cheyenne Energy Efficiency Training.

Northern Cheyenne Energy Efficiency Training

Students learn the basics of energy efficiency in the classroom.

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Project Summary

Demonstrating Energy Efficiency Leadership on a Central Community Building

The Tribal Environmental Protection Department (EPD) Office on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation is one of the most energy-inefficient buildings on the Reservation, making it a priority for energy efficiency retrofits and green power. To reduce the Northern Cheyenne Tribe's GHG emissions, the Tribal EPD has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation to turn this building into an energy efficiency demonstration and training project.

To achieve its primary goal of reducing the Tribe's GHG emissions, the Tribal EPD is updating a previous energy audit to fully account for building maintenance activities and will use this audit to plan energy efficiency retrofits and green power projects. Recommendations from the previous audit identified solar panels, on-demand water heaters, and insulation upgrades as potential measures.

Contractors will implement these retrofits and green power projects with support from tribal college students and community members. A training program will cover three sessions on energy audits, energy efficiency, and small scale renewable energy. Participants will conduct audits and participate in retrofits of the Tribal EPD Office as part of a field training component.

The benefits of the project include costs savings from energy efficiency improvements, reductions in the tribe's GHG emissions, and improved employment opportunities for students and community members. By promoting the project as a replicable model, the Tribe is seeking to expand the project to other buildings on the reservation and share lessons learned with other communities. To implement the program, they will also develop partnerships with multiple stakeholder groups, including the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, Greenweaver Inc., Lakota Solar Enterprises, Tongue River Electric Cooperative, and Montana State University Extension. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe has a strong cultural and historical connection to the land, wildlife, and waters on the Reservation, and this project is a vital opportunity for the Tribe to align its energy needs and use with its ecological and cultural values.

Community Characteristics

Population: 4,000
Area: 318 square miles
Government Type: Tribal
Community Type: Rural
Median Household Income: $23,679

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of June 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 0 mt CO2e 30 mt CO2e
Job Training Participants 16 20

Media Coverage

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