Retrofitting? LEAP on these rebates, cash incentives

onarch-ecomode-cherryavenue-webYour house may never be as energy efficient as this ecoMOD house on Cherry Avenue, but LEAP still wants to help.

On July 7 the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), an independent non-profit that was formed after Charlottesville and Albemarle County were awarded a $500,000 grant from the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance last summer, finally launched a host of programs to help people make their homes more energy efficient, including a contest that could win two people a $10,000 energy makeover.

"A livable community needs livable homes,” says Charlottesville mayor Dave Norris. “This contest and LEAP’s energy efficiency initiatives show we’re on the leading edge of energy solutions and sustainability.”

Equally attractive, however, are the rebates and incentives available to homeowners. For example, there’s a performance-based cash incentive for any retro-fit work you want to do. Increase the energy efficiency of your house by 10 percent, you get $500. Increase it by 30 percent, you get $1,500. Increase it by 40 percent”Š well, you get the picture.

You can also get a $250 cash rebate just for having an energy audit done, the first step in determining what your home might need.

The organization will also help you bundle the various rebates and incentives out there. For example, a retrofit that might include new insulation, duct sealing, replacing your electric water heater with a gas one, and upgrading your old furnace could cost you $8,500. But with LEAP’s home performance rebate and performance-based cash incentive, combined with a federal Energy Star tax credit, Charlottesville’s thermostat and gas water heater rebate, and a Virginia energy efficient appliance rebate could save you $3,700 on the job.

Rebates and incentives will be available to property owners living in the City of Charlottesville and Counties of Albemarle, Greene, Nelson, Louisa, and Fluvanna.

“Our monthly energy bills have dropped dramatically, and we expect our involvement in LEAP will help when we are ready to sell our house,” says John Tran, a resident of the Fry's Spring neighborhood in Charlottesville whose house went through a LEAP-guided retrofit this spring, “especially as the world is moving more and more green. Mostly, it feels great to know we are not wasting energy."

“LEAP is adding a million dollars in rebates, incentives, and customer support to the equation,” says Cynthia Adams, LEAP’s executive director, also pointing out that the programs will provide economic stimulus and create jobs.

What’s more, LEAP has recently partnered with the University of Virginia Community Credit Union to offer something called a “Green $ense Lending.” Basically, the Credit Union is offering low-interest rate loans to folks who want to make energy-efficient home improvements while working with LEAP.

“People know that their houses aren't functioning well. They have high energy bills and uncomfortable rooms,” says Laura Fiori of Key Green Energy, a local green energy consulting firm. “Contractors in our area have seen some difficult times and are anxious to hire their people back, get them trained, and start performing energy efficiency upgrades.”

Keep in mind: as a quasi-governmental program, there are hoops you'll have to jump through: signing up as a LEAP member, using LEAP approved contractors, getting your new energy efficiency documented, and filling out a lot of forms. Still, one of LEAP's objectives appears to be to make the process as easy as possible.

You can enter to win the $10,000 Home Energy Makeover Contest online at or mail an entry form to Charlottesville Home Energy Makeover, 401 E. Water Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902. You can also call LEAP at 434-227-4666 for further information about the contest or their energy saving programs.


Al Gore has nothing to do with this story.

"In similar fashion, leave off of Gore’s climate alarms; unless you’re a PhD climatologist or similar researcher in hard sciences you’re not remotely qualified to assess them."

Is Al Gore a PhD climatologist? A researcher in hard science?


I disagree. A home is not necessarily more livable just because you put in some more efficient water products. Less expensive maybe, but not more livable. Livable refers to the quality of life.

It is the height of hypocracy to state that you want homes to be more livable and then conveniently ignore the excessive noise pollution or even actively promote activity that increases that noise pollution.

@flatulentcow, sadly, I have to agree with you. @Antoinette W. Roades, thanks for explaining. It's very consistent with what the oseter was saying.

"A livable community needs livable homes,”

That is correct Mr Norris. But part of your home being livable and green is not being assaulted by late night noise and drunken violent crowds. Homes that are filled with loud concert music and thumping from cars are getting ruined with noise pollution.

Noise - unwanted sound - is pollution. Charlottesville has a eal noise problem.

When you finally accept that, you will be on your way.

I do not know how these people think they are god by trying to cut peoples energy cost right now in this economy , I am an hvac and foam insulation contractor and these numbers they throw out are not even close to what it cost to do all of what they want. Its more like $30000 to do these upgrades to save on average of $150 month on utilities. The green movement is nothing more than a political movement to line their pockets with green. Again I do this everyday and offer the most energy efficient insulation and hvac products in the industry. And again gas is the most costly way to heat your home and hot water. These people are nuts for misleading the public like this.
In this recession you need to be upfront and honest with the customers and let them make the educated decision on what they can afford to do.And do not be fooled by the $1500 tax credit given by the goverment because all of that money is almost gone and we will never see it again as we have had a few customers already get denied their credit because the funding for our state is gone.
Dont get me wrong I have the most energy efficient home in the entire state but it is only do to the closed cell foam and geothermal systems that we installed and the payback is way out there. I feel that it great that everyone can do their part to save energy but please do not fall into this "green" bull**** as I was doing these things way before they even thought of the marketing for the green movement. Its as bad as the bull**** we were told by al gore and global warming that cost my company over $120,000 in 10 years and it is all lies.
And as far as this house UVA and the habitat is marketing as the most energy efficient home. Its all lies. We have been doing this for 10 years and I have homes with 16,000 sq ft and they are paying under $100 month for the electric bills so lets see them beat those numbers buddy.
We can all do our part to save this country and to save energy but we shouldnt have do a second mortgage to do so. Just be smart on how we use our energy and do not fall for these "green" programs as they are all scams. I am feeling sick by all of this green b/s shoved down the american people throat because we could use all of that money to feed or poor and homeless and neglected kids in this country instead of helping others. We could give billions to help haiti but we cant even help the people in the gulf coast about to lose the business and homes and no one even cares.

"In similar fashion, leave off of Gore’s climate alarms; unless you’re a PhD climatologist or similar researcher in hard sciences you’re not remotely qualified to assess them."

ROFL. Like I would trust Al Gore or most of the smucks who have been fudging data.

Thanks for the article Dave, I am interested in the programs being offered and plan to look into them. The energy audit sounds like a good place to start and then to do one's own research. Clearly with so many older homes in the community there is enormous energy being wasted. My family has cut our water use in half just by installing a low flow washing machine and we haven't even replaced the toilets yet, which I'm told will further reduce our water bill.

"Is Al Gore a PhD climatologist?"

No he's a bore, a hypocrite (Occidental Petroleum), and a horny massagee.

But he's a mouthpiece for the general scientific consensus. There really aren't many (credible) scientists out there publishing research on the falsity of global warming claims.

@Sean T, "Study after study has shown that for every $1 invested in energy efficiency, one can get back up to $2 in benefits (savings, etc.)..." If this is true why does the government need to give the homeowner any more money than that? They didn't work for the government's money, that's why it's called welfare. Your stnt makes me think that you're saying that, if I spend $1500 on and energy efficient refrigerator, I'm supposed to get back $3000 in savings in return? Are you saying that the savings will pay for the refrigerator and I will earn $1500? Are you saying that, if I pay $2000 for a bigger frige, I'll earn $2000? Does this make sense to you? If this is true, why are there appliances in the stores?
"I assume that is a Lonesome Rhodes Beck quote." No, I quoted Miss Truth. Do you know her? Who is Lonesome Rhodes Beck?

dear I want to believe
Yes they are but most in the construction are ILLEGALS and living on our money and taking all of our jobs and also killing innocent families to get here is that what you want to believe. I want americans working for me . And just what do you want to believe, Oh all of this b/s thats right

Hey All4 that was the most forceful, cogent, and yet eloquent argument against Global Warming that I've read yet.

Noah Diffenbaugh, assistant professor of environmental earth system science at Stanford, would appear to disagree with you, but then again he probably doesn't know beans about HVAC:

Maybe rethink about hiring a "buch of hispanics"...they're hard-working and well adapted to the heat.

To everyone
Al Gore and all of the quack scientist have everything to do with this and every "green" marketing scam in this country, Open your eyes but I forgot you all are just like him,
And for everyone that agrees with this article I will be happy to come to your home and take your $30000 and in return you may save $150 month in your utilites and get $3700 in return and you will need to refinance your homes and pay a $350 month loan payment to you mortgage company or even to the all mighty UVA credit union. WOW what and investment. I your interested please let me know because I do energy audits everyday and unlike the LEAP quacks mine are free and I actually do the work instead of sub contracting to a buch of hispanics as most in this area do

jeezlouise, turn on something other than Faux News once in a while.

Michael Mann and all the other wrongly accused scientist in that phony climategate "scandal" have been cleared of all the false accusations leveled toward him

@all4thiscountry, your comments about money savings are beginning to ring true to me. Recently, there is an ad on TV that basicallly says it you spend a couple thousand on some energy saving appliance, you can save a whopping $500 over the lifetime of the appliance. Now, I know what the manufacturer considers is the lifetime of the appliance, but I have always able to get at twenty years out of mine and I've never paid more than $600 for mine. If someone really wants to save money, leave the stainless steel in the showroom. If you to reduce energy consumption in order to Save the Earth, just remember that your rates will go up (has anybody witnessed them going down around here?) because the energy company has fixed costs (payroll, retirement, procurement, etc.) and it doesn't want to reduce its budget.
If Truth could talk, she would say, "Government now has the poor totally dependent upon its gifts and now government is working on the middle class." Welfare programs spread, as does the power gained by those who spread it. This is something Dave Norris, Holly Edwards and Kristin Szakos understand very well. All of these gifts buys votes for them. LEAP started with a bunch of people associated with the Blue Moon fund needed employment and understand that in a down economy there is little chance they will find employment in their profession and thus declared themselves a non-profit and find a way to sell some kind of service to the government. First energy audits, then fix energy saving deficiences. Get that resum© padded, baby while everybody feels good about himself. Win-win for for employment-getting and vote-buying.
BTW, they certainly didn't save an energy building that tree house at 104 Elliot (not Cherry). It took about a year to build it and nobody knows how much it would cost to duplicate it without student labor and government subsidies.

Yea, we pay on average $500.00 a month for power. We paid $350.00 for an energy audit last year. It basically boiled down to placing more insulation and re-caulking the windows...I was hoping he was going to tell me something I didn't know...waste of money.

"killing innocent families"

Oh my! First you tell me climate change is a hoax perpetrated by Al Gore and now this. Let's save the Americans!!

Americans wanting Americans to have jobs in Americans before foreigners has nothing to do with Limbaugh, Hannity & Beck any more than Americans wanting foreigners to work in America before Americans have to do with President Obama. You tired people, when you have no argument, always seem to fall back on the Beck word. Too bad this blog doesn't allow calling people Hitlerites. Personally, I don't called people other peoples' names. I just call them fools.

Of course the original topic was home energy-saving retrofits. And I "believe" that All4 is probably right on the money about a lot of this being bogus.

But the side topic "Al Gore and the Global Warming is Nuts" was unpalatable. Not that hearing arguments to the contrary would be bad--it's just that there were no arguments, just another tradesman running his mouth way beyond his ken.

Cville Eye "Beck" is symbolic as well as literal. It refers to people who speak beyond what they could possibly hope to grasp in real working terms, with only parroted nonsense masquerading as arguments.

How can we fit LeBron James's departure to the Miami Heat into this story? Or how, curiously, I-70 ends in Breezewood, PA at a stop light and then restarts just 1 mile down the road, causing highway afficiandos to call any break in an interstate highway a "breezewood?" Oh, wait, Ohio (James's old home state) and Pennsylvania border each other. And people from Ohio and Pennsylvania vacation in Florida. That takes the burning of fossil fuels for the travel and so Al Gore is wrong and also illegals invented global warming.

Charlottesville, SO yesterday.

Hey All4 thanks for the caveats. You qualify yourself as a HVAC expert and ask that we not believe BS from those that don't really know the territory.

In similar fashion, leave off of Gore's climate alarms; unless you're a PhD climatologist or similar researcher in hard sciences you're not remotely qualified to assess them.

My sense is that money sent to Haiti is money spent patching up a hopeless situation that needs population control desperately, not return to status quo. Just like putting a couple batts of insulation in a badly sheathed house. But I'm not a geography expert, economist, or sociologist, so it's just verbal popcorn.

Old Timer, noise pollution is a separate issue from the city's attempts at making its structures more energy-efficient, which is the topic of this article.

Mr. Norris spoke in context of energy effeciency. It would be from way out in left field for him to introduce noise pollution at the same. Again, two separate issues worthy of two separate threads.

I would like to hear what others are doing to save on energy bills. I have installed rain barrels and haven't had to water my garden at all during the recent dry spell. I'm excited about this program.

Maybe not more livable with water saving devices, but certainly more affordable. I hope some of the other features in this article will also lower my bills. With all the taxes and added fees it is getting difficult for many of us to afford owning a home in the City.

"Al Gore has nothing to do with this story."

Really!??! Is there really a story that Gas Bag's self-referential monologue or a reference to Al Gore doesn't belong in? I firmly disagree, neither is off of any given topic! Nor is whatever Sean is endlessly going on about I ought to add.

ââ?¬Å?Government now has the poor totally dependent upon its gifts and now government is working on the middle class.”

I assume that is a Lonesome Rhodes Beck quote.

How is this a welfare program? Study after study has shown that for every $1 invested in energy efficiency, one can get back up to $2 in benefits (savings, etc.) to say nothing of societal cost benefits that can accrue. that is a 200% ROI. welfare? not so much.

and will rates go down from Dominion if energy use drops? of course not, but that has everything to do with the predatory nature of capitalism and nothing to do with government, other than when predatory capitalism gets into trouble, they coming begging the government for more corporate welfare.

sean t
I would love to see those b/s studies you refer to . You are feeding a bunch of b/s

"I want americans working for me"....would that be native americans? Didn't think so. Let me guess, you have your radio tuned to Limbaugh, Hannity & Beck all day, right? You really should get outside of your comfort zone a bit more.

Lonesome Rhodes (no connection to me, I hasten to note) is a fictional character in "A Face In the Crowd," a fine 1957 film written by the brilliant Budd Schulberg, directed by the equally brilliant Elia Kazan, and featuring extraordinary performances by Andy Griffith and Patricia Neal.

Griffith plays Rhodes, an unassuming country singer who is plucked from anonymity by Neal, a savvy advertising executive seeking a new on-air spokesman for a client. Rhodes proves to be a good pick -- too good, in fact. His popularity grows quickly, but his ego grows faster. Soon, he throws off his handlers and turns into a dangerous demogogue.

The story was meant as a cautionary tale. It could use a revival.

Keith Olbermann, I think, was the first to start calling radio commentator Glenn Beck "Lonesome Rhodes Beck" -- because, of course, Beck commands a large, unquestioning audience for his pronouncements on all possible subjects. The comparison fails in one crucial respect, however. That is, the fictional Lonesome Rhodes started out with real talent.

People will believe anything and spend hard earned cash to fit into the crowd. Think people. THINK.