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Charlottesville Home Energy Makeover Contest Kicks Off Wave of Residential Energy Efficiency Initiatives

Charlottesville and Albemarle Homeowners Could Win $10,000 in Energy Efficiency Home Improvements, are Eligible for $1 Million in Incentives and Rebates

LEAP logoCharlottesville Mayor Dave Norris and local business leaders joined the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) today to announce the Charlottesville Home Energy Makeover Contest, which will award two winners with up to $10,000 in free energy and water efficiency home improvements. LEAP also announced that $1 million in incentives and rebates will be available to area residential property owners in the coming months. Together these are unique, trend-setting opportunities for local homeowners to increase their homes’ comfort, safety and value while lowering energy bills, and it puts our local contractors to work enhancing the community’s livability.

More information about the contest, including online registration, is available at Check us out on Facebook “Local Energy Alliance Project (LEAP)” and follow us on Twitter @LEAP_VA.

Seeds for the contest and rebate packages were planted last year when the City and County successfully competed against 16 other communities in the Southeast for a $500,000 grant from the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance. A 2008 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Energizing Virginia: Efficiency First, found that the Commonwealth can meet close to 20 percent of its electricity needs by 2025 through energy efficiency, a strategy that also would cut Virginians’ utilities bills by $15 billion by 2025 and create nearly 10,000 new jobs – the equivalent of bringing almost 100 new manufacturing facilities to the state. 

About the Home Energy Makeover Contest:
Homeowners in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County can register to participate in the Home Energy Makeover Contest for a chance of winning up to $10,000.  Two winners will be selected to receive free home performance assessments and energy improvements and eight runner-ups will receive free home performance assessments worth up to $600.  A home performance assessment includes an energy audit, which identifies areas of improvement within the home.  Energy improvements can include adding insulation, weather stripping, and installing CFLs, etc.  All work will be conducted by local contractors who are pre-qualified to participate in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.  Non-profits are eligible to compete in the Non-Profit Challenge and win $1,000 for bringing the most entries to the Makeover Contest. 

Major sponsors for the Makeover Contest include Dominion Virginia Power, Monticello Media, and NBC 29 News.

About the $1 Million in Incentives/Rebates:
In the coming months, LEAP is launching its flagship residential program for energy efficiency: Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. This nationally known program is new to the Charlottesville area.   Administered locally by LEAP and funded by federal grant money, the program will provide pre-qualified contractors, special financing and incentives, third-party quality assurance on the completed work and, most importantly, certification that the home has undergone energy conservation measures projected to increase its efficiency by 20% or more.

  • A $250 rebate will be available for Home Performance Assessments (energy audits) which are performed in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

  • 50% of the retrofit cost, up to $1000, will be available as a cash incentive for homeowners who participate in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

Rebates and incentives will be available to property owners living in the City of Charlottesville and Counties of Albemarle, Greene, Nelson, Louisa, and Fluvanna; i.e., LEAP’s service territory of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. In addition to the rebate and incentive, Energy Star’s federal tax credit and the VA Appliance Rebate program can effectively reduce the cost for the retrofit by up to $3000 (assumes air and duct sealing, adding insulation, and upgrading heat pump or furnace).

If one out of two homes in Central Virginia switched out 5 of their most used incandescents it could save the bill payer $48 annually, for a community wide benefit of $2.5 M of savings. If we apply the same scale to an energy efficiency retrofit in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, the benefits could be $700 in savings for the property owner and $36.4 M community-wide (assumes air and duct sealing, adding insulation, and replacing inefficient furnace).

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