Leaves are Changing and Sweater Time!

From the Desk of the Executive Director

My wife loves fall. The coziness of sweaters, soup, and the addition of the comforters on the bed, I guess.  I’m more ambivalent about it in general, but do like that for a solid two months, we don’t have to use our heating or cooling systems – which means lots of energy savings. 

I wrote earlier in the year about electrification and some projects in my house that needed to be done. The gas stovetop was swapped back in July for an induction (which my wife loves, btw), and the gas fireplace now awaits its swap. I’ve identified an Amantii electric fireplace model as a potential solution, but haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet. That needs to happen soon though, as the “coziness” definition of fall requires some kind of fireplace we can gather around. 

In September, LEAP launched a low-income fuel switching pilot with our partner, the Community Climate Collaborative. The first couple of “switches” have already happened, and we expect to complete all six home switches from propane, fuel oil, or natural gas to electric systems by the end of October. All of these homes are presenting learning opportunities, and, along with our HVAC subcontractors, we are doing a lot of learning. Look for stories and results from this pilot in late spring, after we have winter heating numbers year-over-year to compare. 

As LEAP as an organization adapted to the pandemic, I’m happy to report that LEAP financially transitioned from losing money because of COVID-19 issues to making money again. Kudos to our slowly expanding team for making that happen! While we still have a hole to dig ourselves out of because of COVID-19 work stoppages, knowing that we can not only survive but thrive in the current “normal” improved everyone’s outlook. 

As I look to the new year and projects – not only for my own home, but also for LEAP – Dominion’s new Time of Use program looks like a great opportunity. Adding a battery system to your house could now have real financial payback and not just be an expensive backup power system. LEAP will be looking into how our Solarize program, along with its partners, can promote the adoption of batteries for use in the Time of Use program. Hopefully, I can convince my wife that it is a good investment and will be able to be one of the 10,000 Dominion customers who participate. More from me (and LEAP) on participation and implementation to come.

Stay safe and cozy this fall, on orders from my wife!


Chris Meyer, LEAP Executive Director

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