Becoming a HPwES Participating Contractor

Intro to LEAP: a HPwES Program Administrator

Headquartered in Charlottesville with offices in Vienna, Virginia, LEAP is a nonprofit energy services organization whose mission is to lead the effort in local communities to implement energy efficient technologies in buildings for cost savings for families and businesses, job creation, energy self-reliance, and local economic stimulus. LEAP’s alliance model is a community-based, public-private partnership. We have been approved by the Department of Energy as the exclusive sponsor of Home Performance with ENERGY STAR in central and northern Virginia regions.

Our HPwES program helps local governments meet their carbon emission and energy use reduction targets; it improves the affordability and durability of our neighborhoods, and can stimulate the local economy through job creation and retention. Energy efficiency improvements benefit the local economy by enabling residents to keep their dollars “local,” instead of wasting hard-earned money on unnecessary energy costs.

To that end, LEAP:

  • Administers the Department of Energy’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR and Home Energy Score
  • Pre-qualifies and manages a network of Participating Contractors
  • Performs third party Quality Assurance inspections of energy improvement projects to ensure they meet published HPwES Program Guidelines

What It Means to Be a LEAP Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Contractor

A contractor certified to work LEAP’s HPwES program has been carefully vetted; provides documentation of their licensure, certifications, and insurance; and is in good standing in the business community. LEAP also checks customer testimonials and references before allowing a contractor to participate in the HPwES network. An HPwES Participating Contractor has applied to join our program and agreed to adhere to national best practice standards for home energy improvements. Participating in LEAP’s HPwES network requires attendance at quarterly meetings, submitting required information for work performed in the program, and adhering to a standard of conduct that assures that the client has the best customer experience possible.

LEAP is strongly committed to upholding the quality of our contractor network, as we emphasize to homeowners the reasons they should choose an HPwES contractor rather than just any contractor found in the Yellow Pages. To that end, we continually communicate to homeowners and the public at large that LEAP’s HPwES contractors stand apart from their competitors. HPwES participating contractors know what energy efficiency improvements will benefit homeowners, and they are equipped with specialized training and diagnostic tools to determine how homes perform. They are better able to assist homeowners in solving their problems and achieving their goals – whether they be improving comfort, cutting energy costs, or reducing their impact on the environment. Contractors who participate in HPwES have been thoroughly vetted, and because they are well-trained, professionally certified, and willing to submit their jobs for Quality Assurance inspections, we can say with confidence that Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors are not only more qualified to offer energy efficiency services, but homeowner who enroll in HPwES will receive a better end product by doing so.

Benefits to Being a LEAP HPwES Participating Contractor

  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) brand. Our HPwES program offers contractors marketing support and association with ENERGY STAR, a brand that 80% of people nationwide recognize. Participating contractors may use the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR mark in promotional materials, including websites and advertisements.
  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Certificate. This valuable Certificate can only be offered by contractors who are in the LEAP HPwES network. Studies have shown that homes with independent, third-party certifications sell for 9% more than homes without them on average. Provide additional value to your customers with the HPwES Certificate.
  • Market differentiation and increased credibility. You will have an edge over your competition because you can use as a selling point the program’s third-party quality assurance inspections for customer peace of mind.
  • Pre-Qualified leads. LEAP’s marketing and outreach activities are geared toward educating homeowners and generating consumer demand. Our online home energy profile and easy enrollment help us understand a homeowner’s needs and guide them to the next step—working with you!
  • Tools and training. Access to software tools and specialized training provided through the program including marketing, sales, and weatherization installation techniques. LEAP will not only provide training opportunities but also keep you informed of any continuing education units/opportunities (CEUs) available through partner organizations.
  • Financial incentives for homeowners. LEAP provides access to rebates and low-interest financing through its partnerships with governments, utilities and financial institutions (where available). In most cases building owners must work with a LEAP Participating Contractor to be eligible for the offers.
  • Increased workscopes. Improve your business’s bottom line by offering a broader scope of services through HPwES.

Who should participate in this program?

  • Insulation and air sealing companies
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors
  • Home Energy Auditors
  • Home Performance Contractors
  • General contractors and remodelers
  • Siding, roofing, window and door specialists
  • Renewable energy companies (e. g. solar)

What is Expected of HPwES Participating Contractors?

LEAP is committed to a consultative approach with our network of Participating Contractors. We recognize that reputable businesses come in different sizes and have different challenges with respect to quality control, data management, and capacity. We strive to make our program as seamless as possible to your current business model, so that reporting and QA requirements can be met without being burdensome to your sales and installation processes. The following are expectations from the program of Participating Contractors:

  • Comply with HPwES reporting requirements – a customized plan will be created for your business during a consultation with LEAP staff member
  • Comply with HPwES Program Guidelines and ensure that all subcontractors adhere to LEAP’s Guidelines for HPwES
  • Have a representative from your company take a 20-question, online, open-Guidelines book test to demonstrate adequate understanding of the program and its requirements
  • Maintain good standing in the business community by being properly certified, licensed, bonded and insured according to applicable laws throughout participation in the HPwES program
  • Treat all customers fairly and deliver promised services in a timely, respectful, and responsible manner – this includes meeting HPwES Service Level Agreement (SLA) timelines
  • Attend quarterly program meetings
  • Maintain a Waste Management Plan and handle, remove and dispose of hazardous materials in accordance with local, state, and federal laws
  • Display the HPwES logo on your website and in marketing materials

There is a monthly fee of $100 to participate in LEAP’s network of contractors. Additionally, contractors wishing to receive highly pre-qualified leads from the program must agree to a fee-for-lead service that includes a percent of project fee.

How can your company participate?

Periodically, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) invites eligible contractors to apply for particular LEAP markets. These openings generally occur annually but may occur sooner in order to fill needed capacity.

LEAP will post notifications here when markets are open for contractor applications. When the invitation is live for your market, follow the steps below to apply. Please contact Lesley Fore at 434-282-2390 ( if you have any questions.

Currently, LEAP is not accepting new HVAC contractors in central Virginia. We are interested in receiving applications from new contractors in Northern Virginia and in the Fredericksburg area.

Step 1: Download and Review the Terms & Conditions

Start by downloading and reviewing the 2013 LEAP Contractor Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement makes multiple references to LEAP’s HPwES Guidelines. If you would like to review a PDF copy of the Guidelines prior to submitting a Participation Agreement, we would be happy to share that with you. If your application is approved you will need to provide a signed copy of the Participation Agreement before being accepted into the program.

Step 2: Complete the Application and Submit 

Download the participation agreement here: HPwES Contractor Participation Agreement 2013 . Detailed instructions are provided in the application document.


Solarize Charlottesville Request for Proposals

Solarize C'ville Logo

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) (“Project Organizer”) is soliciting proposals from solar installation companies for the Solarize Charlottesville Campaign. The primary objective of Solarize Charlottesville is to gather community-wide interest in residential solar energy systems to increase the total capacity of solar installations in the Charlottesville and Albemarle area. The program is also intended to reduce the average cost of residential solar PV installations through bulk purchasing, economies of scale, and the offsetting of client acquisition and traveling expenses.

Any solar installation company qualified to perform turnkey installations of complete, fully functional roof-mounted photovoltaic systems in the Commonwealth of Virginia is eligible to respond to the RFP. If you would like more detail or a copy of the RFP document, please contact LEAP’s Charlottesville Program Manager, Jon Proffitt, at Download the RFP here: Solarize Charlottesville RFP