C3 and LEAP Launch Pilot to Understand the Benefits of Fuel Switching in Homes

For Immediate Release

Charlottesville, VA – August 19, 2020

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and Community Climate Collaborative (C3) are teaming up to launch a fuel-switching pilot program to benefit low-income households in Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville. The pilot aims to understand the advantages of converting households using fuel oil, propane, and natural gas for their heating needs to electricity as the primary “fuel” source. The nonprofits anticipate that fuel switching paired with energy-efficiency measures will lower household energy costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

LEAP’s Executive Director, Chris Meyer, said of the new pilot, “This is exciting and cutting edge work, and we are happy to team up with the Community Climate Collaborative in order to bring this to the community.”

The pilot is specifically looking to help low-income households who are likely to be energy burdened and have health-related situations that could be improved by a change in fuel type. C3’s recent Uncovering Energy Inequity report found that 1 in 4 Charlottesville households experience unsustainable energy costs. 

“Too many area households are burdened by high energy costs,” said Susan Kruse, Executive Director for C3. “These residents are more susceptible to heat-related and air quality health impacts and don’t have the ability to mitigate those impacts with energy-efficiency improvements. Fuel switching is a tool that we want to explore for our community.”

The benefits of switching fuel sources for space and water heating in homes has become clearer in recent years. New scientific reports on the health impacts of fossil fuel burning in homes show significantly poorer indoor air quality that can exacerbate existing health problems.

LEAP will be working with local subcontractors to manage heating equipment changes while also adding additional insulation to make homes as efficient as possible. C3 will assist in tracking the results of the project and educating local contractors and policy-makers about this work. The need for local contractor expertise to assist local residents in fuel switching is expected to grow exponentially as new local and state climate policies are implemented.

“LEAP works with many contractors in the community, and we hope to see all of them learn from this pilot so that they can have a leg up once new state and local funding opportunities present themselves,” added Meyer.

If you know of a friend, family member, or neighbor currently using propane or fuel oil to heat their home who might be interested in the pilot, please have them contact LEAP at 434.227.4666 or info@leap-va.org.

About C3
The Community Climate Collaborative aims to bring communities together to lead on climate. C3 works closely with citizens, businesses, and local governments to develop climate action plans to accelerate climate action with our residential Home Energy Challenge and the Better Business Challenge, delivering climate solutions that are practical, tangible, and quantifiable. Additionally, we develop and advocate for equitable climate policy solutions for adoption in the City and the County.

About LEAP
The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit headquartered in Charlottesville, VA. As a trusted nonprofit, LEAP delivers direct education and services for improved energy performance that address climate change; create cost savings for families and businesses; enable healthier, safer, and more durable buildings; and bolster local jobs and economic growth.

Press Contact
Teri Kent, Director of Programs and Communication, Community Climate Collaborative, (434) 466-5157, Teri@theclimatecollaborative.org
Erin Morgan, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, (540) 407-2412, erin@leap-va.org

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