Habitat and LEAP Partner to Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs for Southwood Mobile Home Park Residents


Habitat and LEAP Partner to Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs for Southwood Mobile Home Park Residents

Charlottesville, Virginia – Support from Dominion Energy, Albemarle County, and Anonymous Donor Fund Energy-Efficiency Improvements

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) will launch an innovative pilot program this fall to improve the affordability, energy efficiency, safety, and comfort of 10 mobile homes in Southwood Mobile Home Park – at no cost to the homeowners. The program aims to significantly reduce the high energy bills many Southwood residents face as a result of poor insulation and inefficient HVAC systems in their homes. 

Habitat owns the trailer pads at Southwood, but not the trailers themselves. This program will allow Habitat to team up with LEAP to significantly improve the near-term quality of life for the most vulnerable residents of the park as the organization works side-by-side with the community to convert the neighborhood into a vibrant, 800- to 1,000-unit mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood of permanent homes, without displacing the residents. 

“The transformation of Southwood will take 10+ years, which means many of Southwood’s 1,500 residents will be living in aging, unsafe, energy-inefficient mobile homes for quite some time,” says Habitat President & CEO Dan Rosensweig. “This collaboration will improve the livability and affordability of Southwood homes during the ongoing redevelopment.”

LEAP’s Executive Director, Chris Meyer, says his organization is excited to expand their energy-efficiency services to include mobile home residents. “Older mobile homes can be expensive to heat and cool,” Meyer says. “We often hear about $300+ heating bills for the month of February from mobile home owners, which can really blow up a tight budget.”

Funding for the pilot is being provided by Dominion Energy’s weatherization program for low-income and elderly residents, Albemarle County’s climate program, and an anonymous donor. Habitat will work with the Southwood community to select the mobile homes for the pilot program by the end of September, while LEAP will execute all of the energy-efficiency work, like: adding roof insulation, tuning up and replacing HVAC systems, and sealing air leaks around windows and doors.

“This pilot program aligns with two of Albemarle County’s goals, reducing greenhouse emissions and increasing housing affordability,” says Ann Mallek, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors member. “The County is pleased to support this effort, and looks forward to learning the results.”

LEAP staff are currently receiving additional training on retrofitting mobile homes, and will begin work on the first home in October. The goal is to complete work on the initial 10 homes before the end of the year to maximize energy and cost savings during the winter season.

After the pilot, the partners hope to fine-tune and replicate the program. “The pilot can be a model for how partnerships like this can help tens of thousands of other mobile home dwellers in our region and across the nation,” Rosensweig says. “We look forward to learning from the pilot and hope to expand it.”

Meyer also sees the program’s impact reaching beyond Southwood. “Energy efficiency and lower utility bills are important pieces of ensuring affordable housing in our community,” he says. “Collaborating with Habitat is a great way to contribute a tangible solution to the region’s affordable housing challenge.”

CONTACTSErin Higgins, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, erin@leap-va.org, 540-407-2412‬
Chris Allerton, Communications Manager, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, callerton@cvillehabitat.org, 434-962-4898


The Local Energy Alliance Program (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.

Website: leap-va.org
Email: info@leap-va.org
Facebook: Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP)
Twitter: @LEAP_VA

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville brings people together to build and rebuild homes and communities while catalyzing new pathways to safe, decent affordable housing. Our work has evolved from building one house at a time to developing vibrant, sustainable, mixed-income communities, where hardworking local families can achieve their dreams of homeownership. Since our founding in 1991, we have built more than 200 new homes and safely housed 2,000 neighbors, thanks to the commitment and dedication of our thousands of volunteers and supporters.

Website: cvillehabitat.org
Email: info@cvillehabitat.org
Facebook: Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

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