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LEAP, Charlottesville Gas Collaborate with CRHA to Improve Comfort and Save Energy in Westhaven Homes

##PRESS RELEASE##
For Immediate Release

Charlottesville, VA – Energy-efficiency upgrades to residents’ units will bring them utility bill savings at no cost to them.

The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), Charlottesville Gas, and the Charlottesville Redevelopment Housing Alliance (CRHA) are currently finishing up a series of weatherization updates to the Westhaven housing community. LEAP’s weatherization crews are adding insulation, air sealing, and installing other energy-efficiency measures to improve each home’s comfort while also saving energy.

“Energy conservation efforts are of great importance, and Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is very appreciative of all the work LEAP has conducted across our communities. Weatherizing the homes of our residents has helped to ensure our residents remain comfortable year-round, especially in the cold winter months,” commented Melinda Hite, CRHA’s Housing Programs Manager.

The effort, which began before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, was postponed until recently when work could safely resume while minimizing inconvenience for residents. LEAP was able to service several vacated units last year when the crews could not work in occupied dwellings.

Many members of LEAP’s weatherization crews were born and raised in Charlottesville, so serving their friends and acquaintances who live in Westhaven has been fun and rewarding. That sentiment rings true for LEAP Crew Leader Norman Bell, who added, “Westhaven, and neighborhoods like Westhaven, is where I come from, and I know first hand that these are the neighborhoods that had been forgotten and neglected for years. Those times are changing, and it feels great to give back while being a positive influence to the community.”

Major funding for the weatherization work, including insulation and air sealing, was provided by Charlottesville Gas, which provides gas to Westhaven for space and water heating in all of the units. Heating for all Westhaven homes is provided through a central, gas-fired boiler system that feeds into adjustable radiators in each home.

Lauren Hildebrand, Director of Utilities for the City of Charlottesville, is pleased with the collaboration, saying, “Weatherization updates at Westhaven support Utilities’ ongoing efforts to reduce natural gas usage in the community. We were excited for another opportunity to work with LEAP, and thrilled to help an increasing number of residents reduce energy bills and live more comfortably.”

LEAP also utilized Dominion Energy Virginia’s EnergyShare program funding to pay for lightbulb replacements and other energy-efficiency improvements. By leveraging multiple sources of funding for the project, LEAP was able to go “deeper” with the energy-saving measures implemented.

LEAP’s Executive Director, Chris Meyer, sees this project as a win-win, stating, “Both CRHA and Westhaven residents should see energy savings and lower utility bills – especially during the winter heating season. This was a great opportunity for collaboration, and LEAP looks forward to doing more projects like this in the future.”

Key Project Stats:

  • Units to be retrofitted: 126
  • LED lightbulbs to be installed: 882
  • Attics to be insulated: 116
  • Estimated utility bill savings: $10,500 in natural gas savings per year, $12,000 in electricity savings per year

CONTACT: Erin Morgan, Marketing and Outreach Manager, Local Energy Alliance Program, erin@leap-va.org, 540-407-2412‬

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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

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