It’s a Handyma’am’s World

Heather Eggleston with her secret weapon, a radar gun.

Fact: according to the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment report, women account for only one-fourth of energy efficiency workers. Here at LEAP, our own Heather Eggleston consults with the majority of our constituents on a daily basis. We sat down with Heather, an expert building-analyst, to get her insights into the world of energy efficiency.

Before starting at LEAP, Heather ran her own business, Heather’s Handyma’am Services. She gained valuable experience in construction, and even did a rebuild on her own home. With her degree in environmental studies from UNC Asheville, Heather’s professional experience and sustainability interests led her to her current position at LEAP, where she performs energy audits and provides recommendations for energy-efficiency upgrades.

Heather realizes the importance of representation in any field, “Sometimes female clients are excited to have a woman auditor, because they want to support women in traditionally male-dominated fields. It is exciting for them to see a woman who knows how a house is built.” Likewise, Heather sees the work she does at LEAP to be particularly important for empowering women homeowners: “By doing what we are doing… educating. Women can get educated about their homes – even basic things like – is my water heater electric or gas? At what temperature should it be set? They can learn from a little non-profit (that is not trying to sell them anything) what is the highest priority for their home.”

In the coming years, Heather hopes to expand her impressive resume of certifications and trainings, so that she can help her clients address more specialized home energy issues. Her biggest tip on energy efficiency? It’s all about the attic: “Most people think that the first thing they need to do to make their house more energy efficient is to install new windows. They are surprised to find out that the 3” of 60-year-old insulation in their attic has an R value of 3. We are recommending that people insulate their attics to R49. Most of the home’s energy is being lost to their attic, not the windows. Attic first!”

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently held its first Women in Energy Efficiency panel at their Summer Study Industry event, and featured the experiences of 3 women in the field on their blog. For more stories, inspiration, and advice, check out what they had to say.

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