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, the Local Energy alliance Program (LEAP) was incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit in 2010. 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 energy services with the first Solarize campaign in 2014.
In 2012, LEAP added a second office in northern Virginia and began offering a variety of services there. While our focus is on the greater Charlottesville and Northern Virginia regions, we’ve worked with partners and provided services and programs across most of Virginia. As we like to say, “every community needs a LEAP.” So, we go where we’re needed.
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, local governments, and many other partners.
Residents struggling with high energy bills or uncomfortable homes and business owners seeking to cut energy costs come to LEAP for building science expertise and, when available, special rebates and loans to make energy upgrades more affordable.
LEAP’s mission is to lead the effort in local communities to implement energy efficient and renewable technologies in buildings; to promote cost savings for families and businesses, job creation, energy self-reliance, and local economic development; and to mitigate climate change.
Our alliance model is a community-based, public-private partnership. Our programs help local governments meet their carbon emission reduction targets, improve the affordability and durability of our businesses and neighborhoods, and stimulate the local economy through job creation and retention. Energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy upgrades benefit the local economy first with local jobs and secondly by keeping utility costs down.
To that end, LEAP:
- provides energy evaluations of all building types including homes and businesses;
- provides low-income weatherization services funded by utilities;
- helps communities go solar with our Solarize campaigns that offer discounts and a streamlined process for homeowners and businesses to add solar energy systems;
- provides diverse sustainability services to local governments seeking to engage their constituents and implement clean energy technologies;
- host workshops and events covering diverse clean energy topics; and
- engages partners around the Commonwealth to advance our transition to clean energy and fight climate change.
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Bill Prindle, Chair
“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, and 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
Member, 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.”
Kristel Riddervold, Secretary
Environmental Sustainability Manager
City of Charlottesville
Member, City Council
City of Charlottesville
External Affairs Representative
Dominion Virginia Power
Director of Regional Energy & Sustainability Policy
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 on families that live in the community and on the environment.”
Environmental Compliance Manager
Matt O’Hare, PE
Director of Member Services and Community Relations
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
Research Associate Professor at the University of Virginia
Founder of Skeo Solutions and Fermata Energy
“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.”
Andrea Trimble, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, O+M
The University of Virginia
LEED AP, HERS Rater, Executive Director
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 and a RESNET certified home energy rater. 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, e-newsletters, social media, advertising, and media and community outreach. She has more than 12 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 helping diverse clients design and execute plans for improving energy performance in their homes.
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 for all.