The Juneau Carbon Offset Fund is a special project of Juneau non profit Renewable Juneau. The Fund offers a unique Alaskan option for carbon offsetting. The Fund has a two-pronged approach. It offers a carbon footprint reduction tool for Alaskans, summer visitors and any lover of the Last Frontier, AND the Fund directs offset purchase revenues towards the replacement of oil-burning heating systems with efficient and emissions-free air source heat pumps, addressing affordable housing in Juneau by targeting lower-income Juneau family homes. Nearly all existing offset programs allow carbon to be offset far from home or far from the area you’re visiting. The Juneau Carbon Offset Fund puts your offset purchases into action on the ground in Alaska’s capital city. Each heating system upgrade eliminates an average of 17,000 pounds/year of CO2/home, while more than halving the annual heating bills for these lower-income homeowners.
Why the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund?
This summer, 2020, nearly 1.4 million cruise ship visitors will experience the beauty of Alaska’s capital city and its surrounding wildlands. The impacts of this influx of visitors on a town of 32,000 reach far and wide. The fossil-fuel infrastructure required to support Juneau’s summer tourism activities is enormous, and fuel thirsty. In short, the majority of the fossil fuel that drives this industry has traveled nearly 3000 miles to Juneau — from Alaska’s north slope, to refineries in the lower 48 and back north to Alaska — a journey heavily dependent on the burning of additional fossil fuels solely for the purpose of moving fossil fuels.
By purchasing carbon offsets with us, the need for some of the high-mileage, imported fuel can be eliminated, and the homes of the lower-income families who clear our application process will have their heat come from Juneau’s rain-and-snow-fed hydropower and the magic of air source heat pumps. It is important to note that the bulk of Juneau’s hydropower has been developed in a manner that has little to no impact of salmon stocks. Juneau’s reservoirs are either far above salmon spawning areas or utilize lake-bottom drain systems. For more information on the benefits of air source heat pumps, details on how they function and information on the Juneau businesses that install and maintain them, please visit Renewable Juneau’s heat pump page.
How We Calculate Our Offsets
Our carbon offset calculations are based on the gallons of heating oil that are saved (because they are not burned) once an air source heat pump is installed as the primary replacement to an oil-burning system. This is a forward-looking calculation that projects the annual average savings in carbon emissions across the number of years of estimated useful life of the heat pump. The average annual heating fuel use by Juneau households is 780 gallons of diesel #2 while the average living space is 1800 sq ft. (2017 Juneau Housing Assessment). When burned, each gallon results in 22.4 pounds of CO2 emissions. Multiplying 780 gallons times 22.4 pounds / gallon = 17,472 pounds of CO2 each year.
Current data estimates the useful life of an air source heat pump to be 15 years (Fischerheating.com post on ASHP life spans). and the average expense for installation, parts, labor and electrical work of our projects is just under $5,000. The carbon offset cost calculated using these values is $0.015 per pound of CO2 produced. This cost is above the average per pound CO2 cost found on many other offset fund sites. For residents of Alaska, this will come as no surprise. Nearly every commodity in Alaska costs more than its counterpart in the lower 48 states as all products, including fuels, must be shipped nearly 1000 miles north by ocean-going barge, or, be flown in by jet plane.
For additional information on our calculations, as well as links to many of the resources that we’ve utilized in pulling together out numbers, please visit Our Calculations page.
Your Offset Purchase Does Make A Difference
The average offset purchase with the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund is roughly $100. At this rate, it only takes 50 purchases to to convert a lower-income family home to clean and renewable heat and eliminate 780 gallons of diesel heating fuel per year. Additionally, this home’s heating bills will be cut nearly in half, allowing for more money to remain and circulate here in Alaska and not be ‘exported’ to large fuel vendors in the lower 48.
Renewable Juneau is a Juneau, Alaska based 501(c)(3). Through education and advocacy, Renewable Juneau works toward a clean energy future for Alaska’s capital city. Visit us at renewablejuneau.org or on Facebook. Juneau Carbon Offset is a project of Renewable Juneau and operated by its board of directors. Decisions about application of funds are made by the Juneau Carbon Offset Fund’s advisory committee.
The Juneau Community Foundation acts as the Fund’s administrative assistant and manages all Fund revenues. The Foundation’s EIN for tax deduction purposes is 52-2395867.