Success Stories


The Phipps Family
Charlottesville, VA

Year Built: 1947
Square Footage: 2,750
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3 1/2
2 Story Home
Heat Pump

Projected Energy Savings: 25%+

 Their Story

The Phipps family home had been remodeled a few years before they bought it, but the work was not well done leaving them uncomfortable especially in the sunroom. They worked with LEAP through the City of Charlottesville’s Energize!Charlottesville with a UVA Community Credit Union’s PowerSaver Loan. From adding insulation to fixing an “octopus” configuration of ductwork, their contractors took a “whole house” approach. The result is what the Phipps call “a home for all seasons.”

“Thanks to LEAP, we really do now have a home for all seasons. We enjoyed a much cooler home this summer, and already feel improvements keeping out the cold as winter begins to set in, too. Everyone involved, from start to finish — even the loan officer who helped with the PowerSaver loan at UVA Community Credit Union — was enormously helpful, patient, and thoroughly professional. You really made the whole process so easy that we’d have been crazy not to make the LEAP-supported improvements we made.” — Trish Phipps

Basic Issues Uncovered:

  • Eave attics and top attic were poorly sealed and insulated with fiberglass batts which were misaligned. A number of areas would have been difficult to address with extensive demolition
  • The home’s ductwork, located in the attic, had an “octopus” like configuration which provided significant resistance and leaking at most junctions so that conditioned air could not be delivered in a controlled and balanced manner
  • The crawlspace, which connected to the conditioned part of the home through a mechanical room was in poor condition and a blower door test showed significant air infiltration and excess humidity

Home Energy Improvement Measures Implemented:

  • Insulated attic roof deck and gable ends with open cell foam
  • Installed a heavy duty vapor barrier in the crawlspace
  • Insulated the foundation walls and end joists and bands with closed cell foam, thereby encapsulating the crawlspace
  • Reconfigured ductwork in attic to improve airflow


Weatherseal Insulation

The Sprinkle Family

Year Built: 1960
Square Footage: 948 plus 948 unfinished basement
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 1

Single Story Home
Oil Furnace, Central Air

Projected Energy Savings: 40%

 Their Story

As the Sprinkles started to do some remodeling to their home to accommodate their family, they reflected on the impact humans have had on the climate and felt like they could be doing more to reduce their carbon footprint. The house was older with no upgrades, so they expected some major changes for heating and cooling. But working with a finite budget, they were eager to get recommendations on the best choices and what issues they should tackle first. They came to LEAP looking for an impartial third party to help them navigate a market where most companies claim to be “green.” With some work still on their to-do list, their house has already stayed warm this cold winter.

In Their Words

“It’s so easy to be influenced by every article you read. And there was no way we felt like we could afford to do everything we were reading. The LEAP expert helped us match our budget to an effective strategy, which allowed us set and reach goals we could be excited about.  We were thrilled with how easy it was to do the right thing for our energy use and the environment.” — Kristin Sprinkle

Basic Issues Uncovered in Home Energy Assessment

  1. Extremely low attic insulation
  2. Crawlspace is damp, poorly insulated and allowing significant air leakage
  3. Oil furnace and air conditioner are older and low efficiency
  4. Ductwork is not sealed or insulated, and one duct was disconnected
  5. Appliances and other features haven’t been updated in many years

Energy Improvement Measures Implemented

  1. Applied sprayed foam insulation to underside of roof deck
  2. Installed 10 mil vapor barrier to cover all exposed soil in crawlspace
  3. Applied sprayed foam insulation to crawlspace ceiling
  4. Replaced older oil furnace and air conditioning system with ENERGY STAR heat pump and new sealed & insulated ductwork
  5. All new ENERGY STAR appliances for kitchen; upgraded and added ceiling fans; electric service upgraded, and natural gas manifold installed to supply new gas range


Weatherseal Insulation

Mack Morris Heating & Air

The Rafi Family
Arlington, VA

Year Built:  1958
Square Footage: 3,155
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3

1.5 story Single Family home with attached garage
Natural gas forced air Furnace

Projected Energy Savings: 20%

 Their Story

When the Rafis spotted LEAP’s rebate offer in the Arlington County newsletter, they knew it was finally the right moment for a home energy assessment. Although they had upgraded the attic insulation and added new windows to the front of their 1950s house, they still dealt with uneven temperatures in certain rooms – most notably above the garage and in the master bedroom suite.

The assessment confirmed some of their suspicions and shed light on other problems. They knew there was poor air flow to the master bedroom, but the assessment found that the connection between the master and the main house was not tight, letting in significant air from the exterior. Since they’ve completed the weatherization, the master bedroom is particularly better.

In Their Words

“This winter, we have not needed to use our extra space heater, whereas in prior winters we used it day and night. The air flow coming through the venting is significantly stronger now, not only in the bedroom but all over the house. It is quite astonishing how much better the conditioned air reaches all parts of our home now.  We’ve been extremely pleased with our results and have recommended the process to countless people – in fact our neighbors just had an assessment done this week.” — Teresa Rafi

Basic Issues Uncovered in Home Energy Assessment

  1. No insulation installed in garage ceiling
  2. Crawlspace under master bedroom not insulated properly
  3. Significant duct leakage/poor flow to vents furthest from HVAC air handler
  4. Sufficient insulation, yet no air sealing in attic area
  5. Master bedroom kneewall insufficiently insulated

Energy Improvement Measures Implemented

  1. Duct cleaning and sealing with the Aeroseal procedure
  2. Dense packed cellulose insulation into garage ceiling
  3. Sealed exposed band/rim joists in basement
  4. Crawlspace encapsulation
  5. Lighting upgrades (completed by homeowner)


EDGE Energy

Solarize Success
Nelson County

Year Built: 1997
Size of installation: 9.3kW
using import Axitec 310W panel (30) panels ground mounted
Installed by AltEnergy during the Solarize Nelson 2015 campaign.

Why did you decide to explore your solar potential and sign up to participate in the Solarize program?

I visited an Environmental Center for a 10th grade class trip and I was so impressed. That was 40 years ago, but I remembered the solar panels and knew someday I would power my own house with solar. We installed solar panels on the barn so the animals are fully off the grid. The timing was right for the house to be powered by solar with a grid connected system.

What did you think of the Solarize process?

I was excited to get the community involved. I would like to see the world go solar and the Solarize process helped to pass on the enthusiasm.

What was your experience working with LEAP?

LEAP helped make the link with the solar contractors and educated the community by holding the workshops. They passed on a lot of great information. We also got an energy audit by LEAP. We completed the recommended items on the list. I think the most notable was the blown in insulation in the attic. This winter, the house was noticeably warmer.

What was your experience working with your installer?

Alt Energy was professional and very interested in helping us understand our solar setup. they want the world to go solar too so we shared a common goal.

Why did you ultimately decide to sign your contract?

Price with tax credit was great.

What benefits are you seeing now as a result of your brand new solar system?

There have been electric bills that are just the fee from the company – no usage cost.

Would you recommend Solarize to neighbors?

Oh yes – clean renewable energy is the way to go. No need to pollute the environment and pay large corporations.