LEAP Assists Piedmont Housing Alliance to Replace Old HVAC Systems

For Immediate Release

Charlottesville, VA

Just in time for the winter cold, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) recently replaced 26 space heating and cooling systems (HVAC) at Monticello Vista and Virnita Courts in the City of Charlottesville. Replacing the apartment building systems will not only save the residents money on their individual energy bills, but will also alleviate the need for a large investment by Piedmont Housing Alliance in the near future, as the systems were coming up for replacement soon.   

“This was a great opportunity for LEAP to help some of Piedmont Housing Alliance’s low- and fixed-income residents reduce their energy bills by installing more energy-efficient HVAC systems,” stated Chris Meyer, LEAP’s Executive Director. “We were able to update the systems thanks to $225,000 of additional funding under one of Dominion Energy Virginia’s mandated low-income energy-efficiency programs,” continued Meyer.

The 16-SEER replacement heat pump systems are estimated to save residents 10-20% on their energy use and will function for both heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one location to another, operating by extracting heat from the outside air and transferring it to refrigeration coolant – the coolant is then compressed, which increases the temperature inside your home. Heat pumps are significantly more efficient than other electric heat options, which often resort to resistance heating, not unlike a toaster oven. To cool a home, the process is reversed, transferring heat out of your home and returning cool air inside.

Virnita Court, built in 1966, is in central Charlottesville, serving families with incomes as low as 40% AMI, including families on housing choice vouchers. Monticello Vista Apartments is a re-purposed textile factory, originally constructed in 1924. With apartments ranging from efficiencies to 3-bedroom, the community serves extremely low-income individuals and families. LEAP supplied Monticello Vista with 12 HVAC units, Virnita Court with 14 units, and provided the maintenance staff at both properties with HVAC installation training. 

“The replacement of older HVAC equipment with new high-efficiency ones provides direct benefit to the residents, increasing indoor air quality and reducing utility costs. It indirectly helps the property overall, by removing the cost burden of replacement and allowing maintenance dollars to be stretched for other uses,” shared Sunshine Mathon, Piedmont Housing Alliance’s Executive Director. 

LEAP wants to remind everyone that an efficient HVAC system is important to keep your home comfortable while reducing energy usage. While HVAC systems can be expensive to replace ($8,000-$15,000) depending on the size of the home, properly insulating and air sealing your home are normally the most cost-effective steps a homeowner can take to increase comfort and reduce energy usage. Prior to replacing the HVAC systems at Monticello Vista and Virnita Courts, LEAP utilized a different funding source to insulate and air seal units a few years ago.

LEAP delivers a number of low-income energy-efficiency programs for Charlottesville Gas, Dominion Energy, Albemarle County, and the City of Charlottesville. Contact LEAP at info@leap-va.org or 434-227-4666 to see if you qualify for assistance.

Erin Morgan, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, erin@leap-va.org, 540-407-2412‬
Simone Joye, Director of Development and Communications, Piedmont Housing Alliance, sjoye@piedmonthousing.org, 434-806-4021


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

About Piedmont Housing Alliance

Founded in 1983, Piedmont Housing Alliance is the largest affordable housing organization in the Charlottesville, VA area. The mission is to create affordable housing opportunities and foster community through education, lending, and equitable development.
Website: www.piedmontalliancehousing.org
Email: info@piedmonthousing.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PiedmontHousingAlliance
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piedmonthousing