About a two-hour drive from Whitehorse, the Teslin Tlingit Nation lies in some of the most beautiful and untouched territory in Canada. With large scale forestry operations virtually non-existent in this part of the country, the Nation created and operates a wood mill to produce lumber for the construction of homes and buildings. However, in recent years their lumber mill failed to remain economically viable until Nation member Blair Hogan came up with an idea that would revolutionize his community. Biomass is the burning of organic materials to create heat energy. By seeing waste wood from the clearing of roads, land and infrastructure as potential fuel for biomass energy, the community found a new sustainable use for their wood mill and a cost effective, environmentally benign means of heating their homes. Host Melina Laboucan-Massimo travels to Teslin in the Yukon where Blair Hogan shares the story of how biomass energy is resurrecting their wood mill and creating new opportunities for his community. To explore the science of biomass, Melina visits the University of British Columbia’s Biomass and Bioenergy Research Center, where she sees how biomass energy will soon be heating 100% of the buildings on campus.
With their lumber mill facing an uncertain future, members of the Teslin Tlingit Nation found a way to turn a negative into a positive. Milling their waste wood into biomass fuel, new high efficiency boilers are now cost effectively heating homes in their community.