Q: Why should I consider purchasing carbon reduction ‘products’?
A: Purchasing carbon reduction products allows you to ‘lower’ your carbon impact. Minimizing your overall carbon output, or carbon footprint, should be priority number one. Yet, it is not always possible to completely eliminate all of the carbon output from our daily activities. For instance, it may be hard to justify getting rid of your old gas guzzler that only sees a few thousand miles of travel a year, vs putting out $10,000 or more for a new or used electric vehicle. Or, perhaps there is uncertainty about how much longer until your home seems too big and empty once the kids are out of the house and you’re entertaining thoughts of downsizing. Or, you’re hesitant to take on the 3+ year cost recovery that can come with swapping out an oil stove for a heat pump. Maybe you travel often and feel a responsibility to do something about the impact of your air time. Most of us have issues like these and carbon reduction programs provides you a vehicle for dealing with them.
Q: How does the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund work?
A: For those seeking to lower their carbon footprint and pay to another to assist with some of their carbon production, the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund offers a number of options. Carbon can be ‘offset’ for your family, household, travel, Juneau vacation, and more. Your purchases will finance the removal of carbon-heavy and expensive-to-operate oil heating equipment in lower-income homes and replace them with hydro-powered, high efficiency air source heat pumps.
Q: Many offset funds are third-party verified. Is the JCOF verified? How can I trust that offset money is actually going where you say it is?
A: Verification is an expensive component to an offset program, often requiring up to $20,000. A generous grant from Coeur Alaska’s Kensington Mine is helping the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund seek program verification. Until we attain this third-party seal of approval, we will continue to rely on studies, facts, and figures from JCOS, heat pump contractors, and other existing and successful programs for accurate numbers, data and carbon costs. We have confidence in our numbers and know that the carbon eliminated through our program would not be eliminated without the program.
Additionally, the non-profit Juneau Community Foundation provides administrative assistance to the Fund. The financial expertise of both the staff of the Foundation and its board is an invaluable asset to the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund. The Foundation receives some web store purchases from the program and provides the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund with funds as needed to pay for home heating conversions.
Q: Your program will swap heat pumps for oil-burning heating systems. How do heat pumps work? Don’t they use power too?
A: Renewable Juneau and our Juneau Carbon Offset Fund focus on converting heating systems to heat pumps and our websites offers a tremendous amount of heat pump information. A key feature of modern heat pumps is their ability to operate efficiently in the cooler maritime temperatures experienced during Juneau winters. Visit Renewable Juneau’s heat pump pages and the resources at Alaska Heat Smart for answers to nearly all of your heat pump questions. And yes, a heat pump requires electricity to operate. Even still, a heat pump can cut heating costs by upwards of 66%.
Q: How much oil can be saved per average home per year?
A: According to data gathered on the 37 JCOF heat pumps installed through December of 2022, the average JCOF home burns 605 gallons of diesel heating fuel each year. The average volume of oil eliminated from our first 37 installations is 510 gallons. Energy and home efficiency play large roles in annual fuel consumption. We encourage home owners to make energy efficiency a priority with the aim of lowering annual fuel costs and lowering their home’s carbon footprint. Carbon reduction efforts should follow.
Q: How do you determine what homes are eligible? Are there criteria or is there an application process?
A: Yes, there are eligibility criteria and there is an application process. For more infomation, visit our Apply page.
We rely on a federal process adopted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called ‘Part 5 Income Verification’. An applicant’s gross financial data in combination with home utility records are used to make determinations as to which homes are best suited to this program. Basically, if the applicant meets the income criteria, burns oil for heat, and has a relatively tight home, there is a good chance that this applicant will have a successful application. We use the services of Alaska Heatsmart to help in making an accurate assessment of a home’s ‘heat pump suitability’ and in determining what sort of equipment may best meet that home’s needs.
Q: My tourism business is interested in becoming a sponsor or partner to the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund. Yet, our trips are costly already and we hesitate to place additional expenses on our guests.
A: Carbon reduction programs do not have to be expensive. The per person offset price for a local whale watching or flight seeing excursion is a mere few dollars, or less.
Our business partners’ involvement shows their customers that they are actively engaged with both their community and its future. Supporting the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund is a flag that can be waved and is a proactive indicator of your commitment to Juneau, sustainability, climate action, and local families.
Businesses can partner with us by offering carbon reduction services to their guests. It is possible to donate administrative funds, distributing promotional materials, offering a link to our website in marketing materials, or by adding a small offset fee to the final bill of a trip guest or customer. JCOF actively promotes our partners. We will print your logo on our promotional materials, we display banners listing supporters at local events, and we will mention your support in both news, social media and on our home page.
Visit our business support page to provide us feedback on how you would like to participate!
Q: There seems to be an abundance of media addressing issues, often negative, with carbon offset programs and their effectiveness or their trustworthiness. Is the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund different?
A: Carbon offsets are a complicated topic, and failures – especially with forestry offsets, or with corporate greenwashing – are an big part of that. One distinction that is important, but which is often glossed over, is the difference between projects that eliminate carbon vs. those that sequester carbon. On the capturing carbon end, there are projects that move carbon into self-sustaining reservoirs and those that require active management to prevent re-release of the carbon. This spectrum ranges from the capture of methane from landfills and burning it for electricity (reducing emissions) to planting trees that must be kept alive (capturing carbon into a reservoir requires active maintenance)!
Our program is designed to eliminate the production of carbon emissions, not to capture emissions. There is no need for active management. A heat pump is installed, the burning of oil is either eliminated or greatly reduced, and the creation of carbon is eliminated. And, with the Fund’s focus on lower-income families, the carbon that is eliminated is ‘additional’, meaning that the elimination would not have occurred without the funds made available by the program.
Q: Can I pay for my offsets with a check?
A: If you would like to pay for your offset purchase by check, total your web store shopping cart and note the cost indicated. A check for that amount can me made out to ‘Renewable Juneau’ and ‘JCOF’ can be written on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to:
The Juneau Carbon Offset Fund
c/o Renewable Juneau
P.O. Box 22227
Juneau, Alaska 99802
The Juneau Carbon Offset Fund will email you a receipt for tax deduction purposes if you provide your email address. Or, provide your mailing address and we’ll mail you a printed receipt.
Q: I’d prefer to make a smaller and regular payment for offsetting. Is there a recurring or subscription payment option available?
A: The Juneau Carbon Offset Fund currently has three subscription options, $10/month, $25/month and $50/month. These will be charged to you each month and can be canceled at any time. A description of what each option can offset can be found by clicking on the options icon on the Preset Offsets page. Our subscription option makes it easy to take regular responsibility for your carbon output. And, once you set it up, you can feel confident the JCOF is investing your money wisely and applying it to actively eliminate carbon emissions.
Please contact us with any other questions you may have!