Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments

Choctaw Healthy Energy Living Project

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Durant, Oklahoma

Federal Funding: $189,817
Project Timeline: February 2011 – April 2013

Project Summary

The Choctaw Healthy Energy Living Project (Project HELP) promoted energy efficiency improvements and education throughout the Choctaw Nation Indian Hospital System. The community depends heavily on the hospital system—it is the sole source of in-patient, emergency, substance abuse and diabetic care within 25 miles. Five facilities within the system received lighting retrofits because of this project. Staff and facility patients participated in a comprehensive educational program intended to encourage sustainable energy habits.

Project HELP replaced existing hospital light fixtures with efficient fixtures that provide the lighting levels needed for effective care. The retrofits were coupled with an intensive employee and patient education program, including a brochure and six training sessions. As they oversaw the work, Project HELP coordinators identified barriers and best practices. These observations were compiled into a white paper and a DVD that served as a guide for hospitals undertaking similar projects.

The five facilities that received retrofits were the Choctaw Nation Indian Hospital, the Recovery Center, the Chi Hullo Li long-term residential substance abuse treatment center, the Diabetes Wellness Center, and the outpatient Rubin White Health Clinic. While these retrofits were projected to save almost 341,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and prevent 213 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, they ultimately saved 396,000 kilowatt-hours (396 megawatt-hours) of electricity and prevented 273 metric tons CO2e emissions, while also promoting healthy living and sustainable energy habits. Hospitals have reduced electricity consumption that has resulted in savings of $21,705 annually.

Project staff completed filming for the documentary DVD highlighting the success of the project, and distributed the DVD and white paper on Project HELP to 127 hospitals of similar size in Oklahoma. They completed two public service announcements, one on water conservation and another on energy efficiency, that have been airing on TV since early June 2012. They also conducted trainings on lighting retrofits at the Talihina hospital and for management staff at all outlying clinics, with light bulbs distributed to all participants. Additionally, the “Earth Day is Every Day” event was held for nearly 600 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. Finally, the Choctaw National purchased programmable thermostats and induction parking lot lights with photocells to help further reduce energy use and GHG emissions.

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Community Characteristics 

Population:                                 80,000

Area:                                         11,229 square miles

Government Type:                      Tribal

Community Type:                        Rural

Median household income:           $34,008

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Final Results

Projected Cumulative Results

Annual GHG Reductions

277.7 mt CO2e

213 mt CO2e

Annual Electricity Reductions

396 MWh

341 MWh

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Lessons Learned

  • Working with the community through additional training and media presence contributes significantly to the success of project goals.

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  • Project coordinators distributed a White Paper detailing the process and success of Project HELP to other small, rural, and tribal hospitals to encourage project replication and share best practices for hospital energy efficiency and GHG emission reduction projects.
  • Although the program has ended, the energy-efficiency strategies that participants learned will continue to be beneficial.

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Project Website

Choctaw Nation Going Green Facebook page Exit

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The Project staff held an “Earth Day is Every Day” event for students and teachers.The Project staff held an “Earth Day is Every Day” event for students and teachers.

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