A program that helps homes and businesses use less power has been honored by a regional group that seeks to raise awareness of energy-efficient building practices.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, the Southeastern Energy Efficiency Alliance’s EnergyPro initiative gave the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) an award for conducting over 2,000 energy audits and almost 1,400 retrofits since 2010.
Of 3,556 single home retrofits made in 13 cities coordinated by the alliance, 34 percent have been facilitated by LEAP. That’s the highest percentage of any regional entity, according alliance spokeswoman Annie Suttle.
“In three short years, we’ve touched thousands of home-owners all in the name of energy efficiency,” said Cynthia Adams, executive director of LEAP. She said the program has boosted jobs while lowering the cost of energy.
“Wait until you see what we do in the next three years,” she said to City Council on Monday.
LEAP officials said its efforts have helped consumers save $1 million in energy costs and have also provided contractors with $13 million in work.
The Atlanta-based alliance also recognized the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia Community Credit Union for their efforts to get LEAP off of the ground through loan programs and other forms of support.
Albemarle Supervisor Duane E. Snow received an award on behalf of the county. He also participated in the program, and said in an interview he saves $50 a month due to a retrofit at his home.
The alliance was awarded a $200 million grant from the Department of Energy to help subsidize programs like LEAP across the region.
“Over the past three years, LEAP and the many community-based partnerships that it has successfully nurtured and developed have established energy efficiency as a key driver of economic development, community engagement and quality of life in Virginia,” said Al Christopher, energy division director for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, in a statement.
LEAP serves Charlottesville and Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. In 2012, its coverage area expanded into the counties that make up the Northern Virginia Regional Planning District, which includes Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
Council also adopted a resolution asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the Clean Air Act by reducing greenhouse gases.