Monday, January 19, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Does it add up for Kodiak?

+ Did you know that some garbage pick-up services are free?
+ Do you need to pre-sort your recyclables?
+ How does the global economy effect recycling in Kodiak?
+ Got a dumpster gripe or story?
+ Would you like to participate in a beach cleanup party?

For answers to these and many other questions, come to the next Sustainable Kodiak meeting, Thursday, January 29, at 7:00 PM at the Kodiak Refuge Visitors Center, downtown. The meeting will be a special "panel format" for questions and answers.

For more information about recycling, and solid waste in general, contact Tracy Mitchell at the Kodiak Island Borough (486-9348).

Positive Energy in Kodiak

At the December 8, 2008 Sustainable Kodiak meeting, a number of important energy issues were shared:

1. Jennifer Richcreek and Bob Coates from KEA (Kodiak Electric Assn) talked about current LED lighting projects around town, plus steps you can take to reduce your electric bill.

2. Dave Cooper introduced different bartering systems he's researching.

3. Chris Lynch provided an overview about Threshold Recycling's services and Cindy Harrington, a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Board introduced the idea of a committee to tackle litter problems.

4. Local high school teacher and builder Tom Kelly shared his inspiring experiences with building an energy efficient house in Kodiak. No easy task as Kodiak is one of the most expensive places to build in the State. In Tom's words:

The project at 512 Oak St. began when we noticed the original 1952 Aleutian house in a state of disrepair. The roof was collapsing, and the place was trashed. I have always been interested in sustainable building, and an advocate for housing with some dignity.

I know that construction costs are high and will continue to increase over time, so building quality is important. The increases in fuel costs through 2008 were scary, so we wanted to design efficiency to around $1,000 per year. The seismic concerns for building in Kodiak, coupled with the exposure we have, prompted me to build to the 2006 International Building Code vs. the 1999 UBC. That house is built to withstand a magnitude 8.o earthquake; a certainty in our future.

I know that my future housing needs will change, and I won't need 2000 square feet. I thought it would be a nice to build that home in 2008 and move in around 2020. If seeing is believing, and beliefs drive behavior, then we should see more use of sustainable technologies. Total electric, propane, and oil are still less than $200 per month, and will decrease as we get more daylight.

>>> For more information about solar technology for home builders:
>>> To contact Tom Kelly: (907) 481-2848; Email: