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Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Project Title: Sault Tribe Building Efficiency Energy Audits
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002520
Project Amounts:
DOE: $95,000
Awardee: $0
Total: $95,000
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: January 2010
End: December 2011


The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is working to reduce energy consumption and expense in tribally owned governmental buildings. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will conduct energy audits of 20 tribally owned governmental buildings across five counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to provide a basis for evaluating and selecting the technical and economic viability of energy efficiency improvement options.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will follow established tribal procurement policies and procedures to secure the services of a qualified provider to conduct energy audits of 20 designated buildings. The contracted provider will be required to provide a progress schedule to the tribe prior to commencing the project and submit an updated schedule with its monthly billings. Findings and analysis reports will be required for buildings as completed, and a complete Energy Audit Summary Report will be required to be submitted with the provider’s final billing. Conducting energy audits of the 20 governmental buildings will disclose building inefficiencies to prioritize and address, resulting in reduced energy consumption and expense. These savings will allow tribal resources to be reallocated to direct services, which will benefit tribal members and families.

Project Description


The Anishinaabeg are indigenous to the Great Lakes region of North America. The City of Sault Ste. Marie is known by the Anishinaabeg as Baawating, the place of the rapids, and has been a traditional gathering place in the Great Lakes region due to the abundance of resources. Federally recognized in 1972, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is centered in the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Currently, the tribe's membership is approximately 40,000, of which approximately 13,000 reside in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with over 2,000 residing on trust land in the tribe's low-income housing.

In the Preamble to the Sault Tribe's Constitution, the tribe affirms its commitment to protecting the tribal community by stating, "We, the members of the tribe known as the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, in order to provide for the perpetuation of our way of life and the welfare and prosperity of our people, to preserve our right of self-government, and to protect our property and resources, do ordain and establish this Constitution and By-Laws." Based on these values, the Sault Tribe's vision of energy conservation and self-sufficiency addresses both economic and environmental concerns.

While a comprehensive energy plan is still being formulated, the tribe has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to research of energy options. In 2002, Sault Tribe was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to conduct a feasibility study of wind energy as a renewable source of electricity for tribal buildings and housing sites. While the grant findings, based on the lower power costs and higher technological investment requirements at that time, did not support further development, there is a renewed interest today at the Tribal Board of Directors level to explore options for improving building efficiencies, explore renewable energy options for building heating and cooling, and revisit the feasibility of wind energy, plus other sources of renewable energy to generate electric power for the tribe's governmental buildings and housing sites.

Project Objectives

Conducting energy audits of the 20 governmental buildings will help define the extent of need for energy efficiency improvements, establishing a sound basis for long-term energy plan strategies and a benchmark for measuring future plan implementation success.

The 20 tribally owned governmental buildings designated for energy audits include a diverse mix of governmental use, such as Tribal Administration and Housing Division offices; recreational; community, day care and U.S. Department of Agriculture food distribution centers; health and human services clinics; culture camp, school, ceremonial, elderly and judicial facilities; and household retail and cleaning service storefronts. Building locations span five counties across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: Alger, Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac, and Schoolcraft.


During the first phase of the project (funded under this agreement), the project team will procure a qualified provider to conduct energy audits of 20 designated tribally owned governmental buildings in five counties across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Energy audits will be prioritized to address buildings in descending order from the highest to the lowest energy consumption. Prioritization may vary slightly based on availability of personnel and other scheduling considerations.

The tribe will follow established tribal procurement policies and procedures to secure the services of a qualified provider to conduct the energy audits, perform related analysis, produce and submit written findings per building as completed, and produce a final Energy Audit Summary Report to be submitted with the final billing. The energy audit findings will be reviewed as a basis for prioritizing and addressing building efficiency improvements and as a foundation component for the Sault Tribe's long-term comprehensive energy plan. Energy audits will include collection of pertinent data through interviews with facility management and on-site operations personnel, site inspections, and utility records analysis; evaluation of the technical and economic viability of building efficiency improvement options; and determination and selection of feasible conservation options. The project director, project team, and qualified provider will work closely to review findings and energy improvement options throughout the project. While the majority of the work performed conducting the energy audits will be completed by the provider, the project director and project team will coordinate arrangements for personnel interviews and site inspections; supply copies of supplemental building data, records, etc.; and prepare administrative reporting and communications with the tribal membership.

Project Location

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is part of the Anishnabe or Chippewa people; this culture has spread over a vast area of the Upper Great Lakes in the United States. Of the tribal members in Michigan, the majority live in the seven easternmost counties of the Upper Peninsula (Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, and Schoolcraft), with the largest concentrations in the cities of Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace. The tribe has reservation or trust lands over which it exercises governmental powers in a number of locations within the seven counties.

Project Status

This project is complete. See the final report.

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement "Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands" and started in January 2010.

The November 2009, October 2010, and November 2011 presentations provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Jeffrey Holt
523 Ashmun Street
Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783-1907