Our story began in the fall of 2009, when the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle jointly applied for and won a competitive grant to fund a community-based energy efficiency organization. After the formation of our Governance Board, LEAP became an officially recognized 501c3 nonprofit in 2010. The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) began its highly successful path of home energy upgrades by launching its Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program in July 2010, followed by a program for commercial property owners in 2011, and the start of renewable services with the first Solarize campaign in 2014.
In 2012, LEAP expanded its service territory into northern Virginia. Although our main office is located in Charlottesville, we also serve Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson and the counties and cities in Northern Virginia Regional Planning District, including Arlington, Loudoun, Prince William, and Fairfax Counties.
Since its inception, LEAP has established itself as a trusted leader in Virginia for home and business energy efficiency and renewables thanks to the relationships we have developed with our customers, contractors, key stakeholder groups and the community.
Homeowners in central and northern Virginia struggling with high energy bills or uncomfortable homes and business owners seeking to cut energy costs come to LEAP to take advantage of our trusted, pre-certified contractor network; third-party guidance and quality assurance, and when available, special rebates and loans to make home energy upgrades affordable.
LEAP’s mission is to lead the effort in local communities to implement energy efficient technologies in buildings to promote cost savings for families and businesses, job creation, energy self-reliance, local economic development, and the mitigation of climate change.
Our alliance model is a community-based, public-private partnership. Our programs serve as a tool to help local governments meet their carbon emission reduction targets, they improve the affordability and durability of our businesses and neighborhoods, and can stimulate the local economy through job creation and retention. Energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy upgrades benefit the local economy by enabling residents to keep their spending “local,” instead of spending all of their hard-earned money on utility bills.
To that end, LEAP:
- Offers credible programs, such as Dominion Virginia Power’s Home Energy Check-Ups and and Income and Age Qualifying Home Improvement weatherization program
- Helps communities go solar with our Solarize campaigns that offer discounts and a streamlined process for homeowners and businesses to add solar PV to their roofs
- Gives workshops on energy efficiency and renewables
- Provides low cost, in-home energy evaluations and recommendations
- Performs third party quality assurance inspections of energy improvements to ensure they meet our published program guidelines
Bill Prindle, Chair
Vice President, ICF International
“National leaders recognize that energy efficiency is the ‘first fuel in the race for a sustainable energy future.’ But like any energy source, efficiency needs infrastructure—pipelines, powerlines, etc.—to get it delivered. LEAP is a model for that infrastructure: LEAP’s expert staff, its contractor network, its education and outreach, its financing tools are the pipelines and the powerlines that bring efficiency to homeowners and organizations. For these reasons, it’s vital that LEAP remain a strong and capable organization for Virginia’s communities.”
Ann Mallek, Vice Chair
County of Albemarle Board of Supervisors
“The LEAP board has provided an education for me into operations of our energy companies, large and small. LEAP facilitates concrete, local steps to reducing our nation’s energy consumption, achievable by every home and business owner over time. The cooperative effort of the City, County, and University truly achieves much more than we could accomplish alone.”
Bob Lazaro, Treasurer
Director, Regional Energy Planning
Northern Virginia Regional Commission
“LEAP serves as a national model in sustainability with its programs linking energy efficiency and renewable energy. I am proud to serve an organization which is making a positive impact for families that live in the community and the environment.”
Supervisor, Better Buildings Residential Programs
U.S. Department of Energy
“LEAP’s successes with community outreach and market-based approaches to bringing energy, environmental, and economic benefits to the multiple localities it serves are undeniably impressive. Through a trail blazing path of partnerships and innovation focused on transforming the market and delivering energy efficiency for years to come, LEAP has earned a distinct place among frequently cited models of successful and strategic organizations in the energy efficiency field.”
Vice President of Forecasting and Member Services,
Old Dominion Electric Cooperative
“ODEC is excited to have LEAP as an energy efficiency program partner. This partnership will allow our Member Cooperatives and their members access to quality programs.”
Research Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, Founder of Skeo Solutions and Fermata LLC
“The Charlottesville/Albemarle area is well positioned to provide leadership to the nation with respect to energy retrofits. Our real estate market has demanded greater energy efficiency in newly constructed homes, and our contractor community has responded with their own commitment to this goal. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with LEAP leading the way.”
City Council Member
City of Charlottesville
External Affairs Representative
Dominion Virginia Power
Kristel Riddervold (ex officio)
Environmental Sustainability Manager
City of Charlottesville
Outreach and Marketing Staff:
Marketing and Outreach Director
Solar Program Manager/Building Analyst, Northern Virginia
BPI BA, Technical Director
BPI BA, Building Analyst
Client Relations Manager
Andrew Grigsby, ED
Andrew, who joined LEAP in February 2015, got his start in residential construction as a carpenter’s helper during high school summer breaks in the 1980s. He worked many years in homebuilding and remodeling and also served as a trainer and program facilitator in the experiential education industry. During graduate school he was hired by the City of Austin, Texas, and eventually became manager of their Sustainable Communities Initiative. In 2001 he founded Commonwealth Sustainability Works, a consulting firm focused on high-performance construction, sustainable land use, and green strategies for business.
Andrew is a LEED Accredited Professional, a RESNET certified home energy rater, and a BPI Envelope Professional. His formal education includes a master’s degree in community and regional planning from The University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree in social theory from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Lesley Fore, AD
Lesley joined LEAP in 2010 as the Client Relations Manager. Since that time, she has become well versed in all things LEAP, building science, energy efficiency, and the contractors who implement these technologies. She has also become deeply interested in the relationship between energy efficiency and affordable housing. Lesley has over 20 years of nonprofit management and operations experience having previously worked for the GreenBlue Institute, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and on her own as an interior designer.
Annie Suttle, Marketing and Outreach Director
As part-time Marketing and Outreach Director, Annie oversees LEAP’s communications initiatives including the website, enewsletters, social media, advertising and media and community outreach. She has more than 10 years’ communications experience in the nonprofit and energy/environment fields.
Ryan Van Patten, Solar Program Manager/Building Analyst
Ryan wears many hats with LEAP, managing multiple Solarize campaigns and working in the field as an energy coach since early 2015. Ryan has always had a passion for environmental sustainability and green energy. Prior to joining LEAP in early 2015, Ryan was a general manager at multiple restaurants where environmental consciousness was a top priority. There he worked to create even more environmentally sustainable corporate cultures. He graduated from Radford University with majors in Economics and Spanish and is certified as a Building Analyst by the Building Performance Institute.
Wilson Ratliff, BPI BA, Technical Director
Wilson graduated in 2007 from Appalachian State University with a degree in Building Science, one of the few such programs in the US. Joining the construction industry after graduation, Wilson holds a certification as a Building Analyst issued by the Building Performance Institute. He also completed training for certification as a RESNET Home Energy Rater, commonly referred to as a HERS rater. Formerly with Key Green Energy Solutions and Weatherseal Insulation (both of Charlottesville), Wilson has performed hundreds of energy audits and spent three years as an insulation salesman with an expertise in existing construction.
Tray Biasiolli, BPI BA, Building Analyst
A native of Charlottesville, Tray left for college to pursue a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana and a M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. In his first career, he worked as a wildlife biologist for several state and federal agencies, focusing on bird and mammal conservation. After years of working to make better homes for wildlife, he’s happy to be doing the same for people now. Tray joined LEAP in October of 2015 and is certified as a Building Analyst by the Building Performance Institute.
Amanda Chance, Client Relations Manager
Amanda joined LEAP in August of 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Studies from the University of Massachusetts and is deeply passionate about the relationship between energy efficiency, water conservation, and affordable housing in Charlottesville. After having worked with a variety of people from all socio-economic backgrounds at the University of Virginia Medical Center, she joined LEAP to work towards our mission of making energy efficiency more obtainable.
Nancy Kliewer, Finance Manager
Nancy joined LEAP’s team in the spring of 2015. Her office management experience is long and exceptional. With an MBA from George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in Business Economics, Nancy’s previous history with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, the Office of Admissions at George Washington University, and Cox Newspapers Washington Bureau bring vast experience to LEAP. Nancy is a busy mother of three boys who still keeps LEAP’s books in excellent order.