Central Virginia LEAPS into Energy Savings

By Cat McCue

Guy Caroselli, senior technical advisor for LEAP, tests the energy efficiency of a home that has been retrofitted through the program to ensure quality. Photo courtesy of LEAP.

For a nonprofit organization just barely three years old, the Local Energy Alliance Program has racked up some impressive numbers: 1,000 homeowners served, 7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity conserved and a total of $500,000 annually saved on the homeowners’ electric bills.

LEAP started in 2009 with a seed grant from the federal stimulus package passed by Congress and a simple goal: use energy efficiency to help area homeowners save money and help strengthen the local economy.

Based in Charlottesville, Va., the energy services organization partners with utilities, colleges, developers, banks, contractors, environmental groups, government officials and others to connect homeowners with energy efficiency providers. The LEAP staff sorts through confusing energy rebates and tax incentives, finds funds to assist low-income homeowners, certifies energy efficiency contractors, and more. The end result is a one-stop shop for residents who seek easy-to-understand advice on weatherizing their homes, procuring low-interest loans, or claiming energy savings tax exemptions.

“Energy efficiency affects people in the most intimate of ways: through their homes and businesses, the places where we live and work,” says Executive Director Cynthia Adams. “LEAP has always had a mission of generating public good on the most individual level, and through aggregating those individuals, on a more macro scale.”

LEAP’s model has drawn much recognition; the organization was selected for the U.S. Department of Energy’s video on the BetterBuildings program, was invited to speak at the Governor’s Energy Conference, and received praise from the White House Council on the Environment.

In addition to Charlottesville, LEAP serves five counties in Central Virginia and last year expanded to Northern Virginia.

For more information, visit: leap-va.org.


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