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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Fond du Lac Continues To Lead In Energy Efficiency
by Zachary N. Dunaiski - Fond du Lac Newspaper

Fond du Lac has been working hard over the last decade to decrease carbon emissions, and it has been paying for itself in many ways, most recently on Nov. 2, when members from Minnesota Energy Resources presented the Fond du Lac Band's Reservation Business Committee and other FDL employees with a check for $129,013 as a rebate for FDL's energy services contract. Back in 2007 was when this all began. The council invested 4.7 million in our energy services contract with NORESCO, who is an energy services company who does detailed energy audits. The Environmental Program partnered with NORESCO to perform an energy savings audit on Fond du Lac owned buildings. Bruno Zagar, Environmental Specialist/Energy Projects Manager, has been working to help Fond du Lac lower its energy use since the projects began in 2007.

"My mission was to come up with projects to save energy on the electrical end of it. They wanted to produce 20% by 2020 of renewable off the electric side. On the Kyoto protocol, what we found out is that we can do twice the amount by doing energy efficiency projects. We have actually cut the energy by 40% and we've produced 5-6%," Bruno said about the projects, in particular the Biomass project. "And we've produced 5% with the solar project. We'll actually be at 46% by 2020, more than double."

The Kyoto accord was signed by the RBC in 2007 which is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.

"Our main focus was energy efficiency because it's the big bang for the buck that with the renewal is how we get to 46%," Bruno added.

The partnership with NORESCO, along with the Fond du Lac Band's Environmental staff, led to 24 buildings being identified with the greatest need for energy conservative measures. Fond du Lac began taking a look at what would be most efficient, lighting, building optimization units (air conditioning/heating). One way to help efficiency was in the gym so the heating and cooling units can run at low speed, during times when less people are using it, instead of high speed all the time. The Band is able to save a lot of money that way. FDL also put in operating software in all the buildings so that they would run more efficiently.

These updates are crucial to the Band saving money, with an annual savings total that equates to $772,403. That means the Fond du Lac Band will save approximately $64,366 per month. The project will take 6.1 years to payback, but the project alone can account for up to 25% energy savings.

"I really give the credit back to the council. In the past, I was going to the council, and now the council kind of comes to me to ask me to do more. They all just kind of know me now. Kevin was working on our LEED building, Vanessa was doing work in the courts, Bruce was in the building and Roger was involved too, and Ferd was on the Council at the time," Bruno said, of what has helped make these updates possible.

With the dangers fossil fuels present to the environment, it's really nice to see all the hard work and effort Fond du Lac is doing to ensure we protect our planet.

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