Two Local Residents Win $10,000 in Home Improvements from LEAP

Charlottesville, Virginia – Two local homeowners have been selected as the winners of the Charlottesville Home Energy Makeover Contest and will receive up to $10,000 each in home energy improvements.

The Kruse Family of Charlottesville and the Brooks Family in Albemarle County were selected from a group of 10 finalists – all of whom received free home energy performance assessments (“audits”) in recent weeks – and originally from a pool of more than 1,100 entries. All homeowners in the region can now take advantage of special rebates of $1,250 or more per owner to improve their homes’ energy efficiency and comfort and save money on utility bills.

To hear from the winning homeowners and learn more about their homes and upcoming energy retrofits, please visit Interviews and house visits with the winners are available; to schedule, please call Annie Suttle at 434.249.9817.

“Congratulations to our two winners, our 10 finalists, the 1,100 entries and the entire community,” said Cynthia Adams, Executive Director of LEAP. “There is clearly strong momentum for home energy efficiency in the Greater Charlottesville region, and sharing the experiences of these winners we hope will further inform and inspire action by all homeowners.”

The initial 1,100 were narrowed down to 100 entries, 50 from the City and 50 from the County, based in part on a ranking system of energy use per square foot. LEAP then looked up assessor data and made phone calls to many of the semi-finalists to get a better understanding of the age, shape and size of their home and how the people who lived inside interacted with it. Based on that information, LEAP selected 10 finalists from whom the winners were selected based on their audit results.

In the coming weeks the two homes will undergo energy improvements that can include air and duct sealing, adding insulation, heating and cooling unit work, appliance or water heater upgrade, installing LED and CFL lighting, etc.  All work will be conducted by local contractors who are pre-qualified to participate in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

“Dominion is pleased to be a major sponsor of a contest that helps homeowners reduce their energy use and costs,” said Brandon Stites, director of Energy Conservation at Dominion. “Our SmartGrid Charlottesville initiative exists to promote energy conservation and environmental responsibility. This program adds to the mindset that homeowners can indeed take action in their own households and be responsible energy consumers.”

Through LEAP’s Home Performance with Energy Star program, local homeowners have the tools and resources to save energy and money and enhance the comfort of their homes. Additionally, the program puts local contractors to work enhancing the community’s livability. LEAP offers pre-qualified contractors, special financing and incentives, third-party quality assurance on the completed work and certification that the home has undergone energy conservation measures projected to increase its efficiency by 20% or more. Special rebates exist exclusively for residents of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Louisa, Nelson, Fluvanna, and Greene Counties, including:
•    A $250 rebate for Home Performance Assessments (energy audits)
•    50% of the retrofit cost, up to $1000 (or more), as a cash incentive for homeowners who participate in LEAP’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.

Energy efficiency is a key strategy for economic revitalization and jobs creation in Virginia. A 2008 report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Energizing Virginia: Efficiency First, found that the Commonwealth can meet close to 20 percent of its electricity needs by 2025 through energy efficiency, a strategy that also would cut Virginians’ utilities bills by $15 billion by 2025 and create nearly 10,000 new jobs – the equivalent of bringing almost 100 new manufacturing facilities to the state.

Major sponsors for the Makeover Contest included the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle, C-ville Weekly, Dominion Virginia Power, Monticello Media, and NBC 29 News. Key local sponsors included: Airflow Systems, Abrahamse & Co., Albemarle County Service Authority, Albemarle Heating and Air, Anchor Insulation, APM Construction, Building Performance Institute, Charlottesville Gas, Charlottesville Water, Creative Conservation, Cree Lighting, E3/Greentech, Energy Star, General Electric, Jane Covington Restoration, JohnsManville, Lenox, Leslie Burns Design, Key Green Energy, Nature Neutral, Smart Building Audits, The Gaines Group, Trane, and Virginia Home Performance.  Five entrants won random drawings throughout the contest sponsored by Blue Ridge EcoShop, Feast!, Mountain Lumber, Savvy Rest Organic Mattresses, and Whole Foods.


For Immediate Release: September 28, 2010

Contact: Cynthia Adams, LEAP – 434.825.0232
Daisy Pridgen, Dominion – 804.771.6115