2020 has been a unique year for sure. However, looking back, VAEEC and Virginia’s energy efficiency industry saw several monumental wins this year. In fact, Virginia had its best year on the ACEEE’s annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. For the first time ever, we broke into the Top 25 and Virginia was ranked #1 in the Southeast. This is a reflection of the hard work and efforts of the Commonwealth’s energy efficiency industry throughout 2020. We look forward to continuing to advance energy efficiency even further in the new year.
For our part, the VAEEC worked tirelessly with fellow stakeholders to pass several key pieces of historic energy efficiency legislation, including the Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA). This landmark law will pave the way for a carbon-free Virginia by 2045, ensuring investments in energy efficiency, solar, wind, and more. The VCEA mandates 5% energy savings from the investor-owned utilities by 2025, marking Virginia as just the second state in the Southeast to establish a mandatory stand-alone Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). Additional laws established mandatory benchmarking for state buildings, enabled an on-bill tariff program for electric co-ops, and added an energy audit to the residential disclosure during homebuying. We also saw the passage of a law permitting the state energy office to develop a statewide Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, program.
The VAEEC also advanced energy efficiency in the Commonwealth beyond legislation. We identified the need to change Dominion Energy’s definition of low-income eligibility requirements and worked with our members to make it happen. The new definition will allow weatherization providers to serve even more households across Virginia. Three localities passed C-PACE ordinances and one launched a program. Blower door testing and increased ceiling insulation requirements were included in the recently adopted final draft of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.
At the end of each year, the VAEEC completes a program evaluation, which goes hand-in-hand with our Strategic Plan to answer:
What impacts is the organization trying to achieve?
What strategies will help us achieve our goals?
How will we know if our work is successful?
As you might remember, VAEEC staff and Board members met last summer to develop our 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. Taking feedback from our members, we created focus areas for our next three years of work:
Advancement of New Energy-Efficiency Technologies
Utility Programs and VCEA Implementation
Our evaluation focuses on each of these areas, prompts us to think about the goals, strategies, and metrics for each, and assesses whether or not we are on track to achieve our goals. To provide our membership with a snapshot of these goals and whether or not we are on track to achieve them, we are sharing our program evaluation infographics. Take a look below to get a glimpse of all of the EE advancements we were able to achieve in this unprecedented year.
To learn more about the VAEEC’s 2020 achievements, watch our short video below.
Our work would not be successful without the support of our members. Thank you for your dedication to the organization and to Virginia’s energy efficiency industry. We look forward to working with you in the new year to make 2021 our strongest year for EE yet.
Pearl National Home Certification is a Virginia-based startup launched in 2015. Pearl is dedicated to increasing the energy efficiency and comfort of existing homes and will transform the market by helping homeowners capture the value of their home energy upgrades for resale or refinance. Network contractors and real estate agents grow their businesses when they become Pearl Partners by providing their clients access to Pearl’s special services, such as exclusive rebates and lending products, and a “My Home Profile” account to track progress towards certification.
At the helm are Co-Founders Cynthia Adams, also founder and President of the VAEEC and formerly the Executive Director of the Local Energy Alliance Program; and Robin LeBaron, formerly Managing Director of the National Home Performance Council. Pearl is an official partner with the Department of Energy’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, running pilots in central and northern Virginia.
How Does Pearl Work?
Pearl’s certification service is used by contractors to verify and score a home’s energy assets for certification. When a home’s features earn it enough points, Pearl issues a BRONZE, SLIVER, GOLD, or Net Zero certificate and Home Energy Asset Inventory report. Real estate agents use Pearl’s services to help sellers market their energy efficient home and to help buyers maintain and improve their “new” home through an exclusive “My Home Profile” account. “My Home Profile” provides homeowners with a plan to achieve certification, as well as online resources for maintaining their home. Pearl’s software also functions like a virtual general contractor, helping homeowners find contractors to make improvements and tracking progress made over time.
Why Homeowners Sign Up with Pearl
Pearl offers homeowners:
An initial estimate of the home’s certification level through a free My Home Profile account
Information on rebates and loans to help pay for energy, health and other home improvements
Access to a network of high-quality, specially trained Pearl-Approved Contractors
Certification of a home’s energy efficient and health features
Documentation and marketing services to help sell a certified home
You can check out a sample certification report here.
How Contractors Benefit with Pearl
Pearl’s software provides quality contractors a marketing and certification system to enhance home performance and energy efficiency sales. Network contractor benefits include:
Client engagement from the first appointment on
Increased job size through certification services
Relationship marketing through Pearl’s email services
Homeowner referrals from Pearl Partners
Differentiation from low bid/low quality competitors
This list of benefits results in increased revenue for contractors: the average insulation sales person can generate over $100K in additional yearly sales with Pearl, and the average HVAC sales person double that number. To learn more about how contractors can grow their business with Pearl, visit www.pearlcertification.com/contractor.
How Real Estate Agents Benefit with Pearl
Realtors have been among Pearl’s earliest and strongest partners, given the mutual interest in helping home buyers create value, and sellers access it.
The National Association of Home Builders found that nine out of ten buyers would rather purchase a home with energy-efficient features, and would be willing to pay more for it. A recent study by the Appraisal Institute and the Institute for Market Transformation found that Washington, D.C. homes that were certified energy efficient sold for a 3.6% price premium. It’s representative of what we’re seeing across markets in the U.S. where, on average, third party certified homes are selling for 4-5% higher. On a $500K home, this can be $25K in added value sellers are currently leaving on the table.
As a Pearl Partner, real estate agents get:
Buyer’s closing gift of a Pearl “My Home Profile” account
Monthly client emails with informative and timely maintenance tips
Training on selling the energy efficient home
Special certification report package and other marketing tools for selling the certified home
Client referrals from our Pearl Network contractors
Created and led by local chambers of commerce, CICE helps fellow chambers and their member companies navigate and prosper in the clean energy and innovation spaces. CICE shares best practices and case studies, connects chambers with sought-after experts and high-level decision makers, promotes the clean energy work being done by local chambers, and helps chambers find incentives and financing for new clean energy initiatives.
CICE has been active in Virginia. During the annual Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives conference in March, CICE sponsored a conference session moderated by the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce to discuss the economic opportunity of clean energy in the Commonwealth. Following the conference, local chambers and member companies joined the Virginia Governor’s Advisor for Infrastructure and Development, Hayes Framme, for a conversation about the economic development opportunities of clean energy.
Back in March, the VAEEC provided support for utility energy efficiency programs that were being reviewed by the State Corporation Commission (SCC).
I testified (you can read the testimony here) in favor of Dominion’s three proposed programs that would have benefited a wide variety of consumers, including a rebate program for residential customers who purchase wifi thermostats, an expansion of Dominion’s air conditioning recycling program, which pays consumers to allow their units to cycle during peak demand and finally, a small business improvement program to help this customer base update aging energy infrastructure.
Dominion received notification from the SCC on April 19. Here is a brief summary of the outcome:
The proposed Residential Thermostat Program was denied.
The extension for the AC cycling program was approved.
The proposed Small Business Improvement program was approved for five years, but the budget was reduced by 50%.
The VAEEC also submitted comments (read them here) in support of the expansion of Washington Gas’s CARE program. Initially, the utility was seeking $12.3 million for the proposed expansion of the program over 3 years but the SCC only approved $6 million for the same time period. Despite this setback, the utility says they are excited about the benefits these programs will provide to Virginia utility customers. One exciting note on the new program expansion includes more than doubling the number of customers who can take advantage of the Home Energy Report program, which helps consumers take control of their energy usage and reduce their monthly energy bills.
The VAEEC will hold Governance Board elections at the May 26 meeting. Voting is open to all current VAEEC members. Each member entity will receive a single paper ballot.
Below are the candidates up for election and reelection to the Board.
VAEEC’s Bylaws allow for up to 15 Directors, each with a 3-year term. Directors can serve on unlimited consecutive terms. With the reappointment of the 3 current Directors whose initial terms have expired, and the addition of two new Directors on May 26, the Board would be composed of 13 Directors with plans to add 2 more Directors in the coming years.
Cynthia Adams Pearl National Home Certification 2nd Term
As one of the VAEEC’s founders, I’m dedicated to seeing its successful growth and impact in Virginia, and I’ve worked over the years to bring in both public and private funding to support its mission. I want to continue to champion public-private partnerships for growing the energy efficiency industry, a coordinated approach for education and outreach, and regulatory policies that leverage the many benefits energy efficiency as a resource can bring.
Cynthia Adams is CEO of Pearl Certification, a Virginia-based company whose software platform is used by contractors and real estate agents to verify and certify a home’s energy assets and increase its value. She was previously Executive Director of the award-winning Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), an energy services nonprofit, which under her leadership developed innovative energy efficiency and solar programs that helped thousands of building owners in central and northern Virginia reduce and produce energy. A fifteen year veteran in the green construction field, Ms. Adams has worked as a partner in a consulting company for sustainable building, part-owner of a sustainable design showroom, and co-founder of a green design-build construction company. In 2014, Ms. Adams was elected to the national board of Efficiency First and appointed by Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Energy Council. In 2015 she was appointed to the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency.
Bill Beachy Community Housing Partners 2nd Term
I am interested in continuing to serve on the VAEEC Board in order to represent and express the needs of low-income Virginians in discussions regarding energy efficiency programs and policies that effect their lives.
Bill Beachy has 36 years experience in the weatherization and energy efficiency fields. He is Vice President of Energy Solutions Field Operations at Community Housing Partners based in Christiansburg, Virginia. Previously he served for 10 years as the state manager of the Virginia Weatherization Assistance Program for the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Bill has a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the current President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP), a trade organization of the Virginia weatherization network. Bill is also a member of the national Network (Evaluation) Committee; member of the national Weatherization Trainers Consortium; and a member the Department of Energy’s National Training and Technical Assistance Plan advisory group.
Bill Greenleaf Virginia Community Capital 2nd Term
I want to serve on the Board of the VAEEC to provide leadership and guidance in our effort to advance PACE energy efficiency loan programs and educate regulators and policy makers about the importance of energy efficiency in Virginia.
Bill Greenleaf is a Vice President and Loan Officer for Virginia Community Capital. In 2015, Bill helped VCC launch their energy efficiency and solar loan products and is one of four Virginia Energy Efficiency Council governance board members appointed to the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. Previously, Bill was the Executive Director of the Richmond Regional Energy Alliance and Chief Operating Officer of an international sustainable design firm. Bill received his undergraduate degree in economics from Skidmore college and his MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Carla Dix Columbia Gas of Virginia 1st Term
I am interested in serving on the VAEEC Board in order to help advance energy efficiency in Virginia and provide insight from the natural gas utility perspective.
Carla Dix is the Lead Performance Analyst for Columbia Gas of Virginia’s energy efficiency program, WarmWise. In her role, she works daily with outside partners on various functions of the programs, including rebate processing, education and outreach, evaluation, measurement and verification, program design, low income support, and customer service. Prior to joining Columbia Gas of Virginia in 2012, Carla preformed revenue management for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Thomas Nicholas City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works 1st Term
I am interested in serving on the VAEEC Board because I have the professional background and current, local governmental responsibility of developing and enacting energy policies, programs and technologies that enable me to contribute to the discussion of energy efficiency as a resource in Virginia. As an advisory member, I hope to share my experiences and at the same time, serve as a conduit for interaction with industry to express their desires and concerns regarding energy efficiency with one of the largest municipalities in the Commonwealth.
As Facilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works, Thomas Nicholas oversees the Facilities Design and Construction Division, Building Maintenance Division, Facilities Management Office and Energy Management Office. He serves as the focal point for all municipal building planning, design, construction, maintenance, facilities management and energy programs. A retired Naval officer, Tom has extensive facilities management experience with the U.S. Navy. During his 24-year career, he managed Navy facilities in Guam, the Philippines, Alaska, Hawaii, California, the Republic of Panama, Italy and the Mid-Atlantic. He has degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and Penn State University.
Here is a history of the VAEEC Governance Board:
Original VAEEC Board elections were held at the October 2012 VAEEC Meeting. Original Executive Committee Elections were held in September, 2013:
Steve Walz, President
Cynthia Adams, Vice-President
Bill Greenleaf, Treasurer
Andrew Grigsby, Secretary
Steve Walz resigned from the board in February, 2014. Cynthia Adams became President in March 25, 2014. On December 17, 2014 the new EC was voted in:
Cynthia Adams, President
David Steiner, Vice- President
Bill Greenleaf, Treasurer
Andrew Grigsby, Secretary
Section 5. Representatives. Each member, other than a member who is an individual, shall by written notice to the Board of Directors, the President or the Secretary designate as its representative an individual who shall be authorized to act on behalf of such member. Any member may at any time by written notice to the Board of Directors, the President or the Secretary remove any representative designated by such member and designate a replacement of or successor to the same.
Section 21. Proxies. A member entitled to vote may appoint a proxy to vote or otherwise act for him by executing and dating an appointment form, either personally or by its attorney-in-fact. No appointment of proxy shall be valid after the expiration of 11 months from the date of its execution, unless otherwise provided therein. Every appointment of proxy shall be revocable by the member executing it, unless the appointment form conspicuously states that it is irrevocable and that it is coupled with an interest in accordance with law.
Although we concluded that a statewide program administrator would be the ideal solution to ensure rapid advancement of PACE in Virginia, we also concluded that there is no known existing funding to support the creation of statewide program administrator. However, Abacus Property Solutions assisted the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) in responding to a Department of Energy State Energy Program (SEP) grant that, if awarded, would provide Virginia and partner states, Maryland and District of Columbia, with $500,000 in PACE funding across our region. This three-year grant would help seed and develop statewide PACE efforts including:
Develop standardized, and low-cost program design and administrative structures throughout the region;
Increase market awareness of PACE through coordinated outreach to and education of key stakeholder groups whose participation in PACE will accelerate its adoption and growth in the region.
If awarded, the DOE grant would address specifically administrative structure, owner eligibility, financial underwriting guidelines, energy audit and measurement & verification requirements, contractor training and support, capital provider support, and marketing messages and strategy. The VAEEC would receive a portion of this funding from this DOE/DMME grant to implement some of the work in the grant.
We feel that our response was strong due to our regional approach across three states and the problem that we are solving with a standardized model. DMME should know by late August or early September 2016 if we were awarded the grant, with funding provided by mid fall.
In the interim, the grant recommendations included the notion that VAEEC develop a comprehensive local government and energy contractor PACE education and outreach effort and offer technical assistance to local governments interested in PACE. An additional recommended task is to build grassroots efforts to compel localities to create PACE programs. The VAEEC is well positioned to build a grassroots campaign of energy service companies, clean energy advocates and property owners in local jurisdictions.
In late February, Arlington County issued a RFP to select a third party PACE program administrator. The creation of a PACE program in Arlington with a third party administrator creates another path forward to advance PACE in Virginia. Other localities can replicate the Arlington model, which calls for a third party to run their program and be paid from origination fees.
Finally, in late March 2016, the Richmond City Council passed a resolution calling for the Chief Administrative Officer to submit a proposal to City Council by January 31, 2017, with recommendations for creating a PACE program. The city is now forming a PACE stakeholder group and will study the Arlington model as part of its work plan to develop recommendations for implementing a PACE program.
Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~$30 billion in FY2015, their 160,000+ employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, their technology, software and services improve the way their customers manage and automate their operations. Their connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. They call it “Life Is On.”
In the past 23 years, Schneider Electric’s Energy and Sustainability Services team has successfully implemented more than 550 energy savings performance contract (ESPC) projects across the nation and has helped clients around the world save nearly $2 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements over longer payback periods and offers many long-term benefits such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection.
Two areas where they focus are on schools and cities. Here is an excerpt from their in-depth and compelling Sustainability Mythbusters piece on the hidden value of sustainability for municipalities and schools:
The word “sustainability” may conjure thoughts of recycling, reusable cloth bags and big piles of compost. But for many government entities, sustainability has little relation to these stereotypical green ideas and much more to do with operational efficiency, improved outcomes and a better bottom line. Not only are schools and municipalities adopting sustainability initiatives to satisfy government mandates and public pressures, but they are also using it as tool to become more competitive in today’s economy. In fact, government organizations practicing sustainability are outperforming their peers in areas like job growth, student recruitment, and increased tax revenue. Learn more about how your city, school or university can benefit from a modern sustainability program.
Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Mythbusters piece explores the top 5 misconceptions about sustainability, while highlighting specific case studies, trends, implications and facts around the topic.
1. There is no demand for sustainability in municipalities and schools
2. Sustainability does not make business sense
3. Sustainability is all about being green
4. Sustainability is too expensive
5. The impacts of sustainability are limited
Join us for the Spring 2016 VAEEC Meeting, your twice-yearly opportunity to network with other leaders in the energy efficiency industry, hear from speakers about the state of the industry in the Commonwealth, and help chart the course for the VAEEC. Thank you to Dominion Virginia Power for sponsoring the meeting.
Directions to the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center:
From I-95 Southbound: Take exit 79. Stay to the left to merge onto I-195 S, the Downtown Expressway. Continue on I-195 S for approximately two miles. Take the Cary St./VA-147 Exit. Bear right on the ramp and turn right onto Cary Street. Continue straight on Cary for approximately two miles and pass through the intersection at Three Chopt Road. At the bottom of the hill, bear right at the intersection onto westbound River Road. Continue straight for approximately .25 miles and turn right at the “University of Richmond” wall onto UR Drive. Follow signs for “Jepson Alumni Center” turning left onto Crenshaw Way. Proceed on Crenshaw Way to the Jepson Alumni Center.
From I-85 to/or I-95 Northbound:
Take exit 79. Stay to the left to merge onto I-195 S, the Downtown Expressway. Continue on I-195 S for approximately two miles. Take the Cary St./VA-147 Exit. Bear right on the ramp and turn right onto Cary Street. Continue straight on Cary for approximately two miles and pass through the intersection at Three Chopt Road. At the bottom of the hill, bear right at the intersection onto westbound River Road. Continue straight for approximately .25 miles and turn right at the “University of Richmond” wall onto UR Drive. Follow signs for “Jepson Alumni Center” turning left onto Crenshaw Way. Proceed on Crenshaw Way to the Jepson Alumni Center.
From I-64 Westbound:
Merge onto I-95 N toward Washington. Take exit 79. Stay to the left to merge onto I-195 S, the Downtown Expressway. Continue on I-195 S for approximately two miles. Take the Cary St./VA-147 Exit. Bear right on the ramp to turn right onto Cary Street. Continue straight on Cary for approximately two miles and pass the intersection of Three Chopt Road. At the bottom of the hill, bear right at the intersection onto River Road. Continue straight for approximately .25 miles and turn right at the “University of Richmond” wall onto UR Drive. Follow signs for “Jepson Alumni Center” turning left onto Crenshaw Way. Proceed on Crenshaw Way to the Jepson Alumni Center.
From I-64 Eastbound:
Take Exit 183/Glenside Drive south. Continue south on Glenside Drive to the fourth traffic light (Three Chopt Road). Turn left on Three Chopt Road. Continue through the intersection at Patterson Avenue. Continue straight for .5 miles. Turn right onto Boatwright Drive. Wind down Boatwright Drive and bear right at the “University of Richmond” wall – you are now on College Road. Pass by the lake (on the left) and proceed up the hill to the Weshtampton Gate (two brick columns) – turn left into campus between columns and follow signs for “Jepson Alumni Center” turning right onto Crenshaw Way.
From US 60 (Midlothian Turnpike) Eastbound: Turn left on State Route 147 (Huguenot Road) and continue approximately seven miles and cross the Huguenot Bridge over the James River. At the next traffic light, take a hard left onto westbound River Road. Continue straight for approximately .25 miles and turn right at the “University of Richmond” wall onto UR Drive. Follow signs for “Jepson Alumni Center” turning left onto Crenshaw Way. Proceed on Crenshaw Way to the Jepson Alumni Center.
Thank you to everyone who took part in our survey in February — 50 members and stakeholders shared invaluable feedback on VAEEC’s benefits, structure and priorities. The Governance Board and the Membership Committee have reviewed the results and are factoring in all of the feedback into a review of the organization’s focus, services and membership structure.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our 2016 survey:
The majority of stakeholders (58%) hear about the VAEEC through email/e-newsletters. Most members (48%) heard about VAEEC through colleagues, another 25% through email/e-newsletters. If you want to be added to our email list, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A high number of members and stakeholders said energy efficiency is “very important” to their work, with an additional 35% of members and 22% of stakeholders saying it was “important.”
When asked how they currently engage, 87% of members and 47% of stakeholders say they try to attend both spring and fall meetings (we’ve got another one coming up so be sure to register!), and 87% of members and 82% of stakeholders say they read the e-newsletters. An additional 45% of members encourage colleagues to join, and 35% of members say they participate in working groups as invited.
The benefits (“Networking at meetings,” “Staying up to date on the latest trends, innovations and policies to inform my job/help grow my business,” “Learning more about the industry,” “Being recognized as a supporter of the VAEEC’s mission,” and “Being part of a body that is driving ee policy/Influence the industry through policy or regulation”) were almost all rated “valuable” in both groups with the latter ranking slightly higher than the others.
When asked to rate the likelihood they would take advantage of specific offerings in the future, the most popular were members-only events like policy briefings and trainings and monthly webinars. The next most popular was regional happy hours. We’ve already teamed up with Green Drinks to offer that option in Arlington on April 21 and in Richmond in May and are tentatively planning to kick off a webinar series in June.
Great perspectives! We welcome your honest feedback at any time. You can email us at email@example.com.
VAEEC Members Encouraged to Apply, Suggest Nominees, and Offer Support
March 2016: Virginia’s Board of Housing and Community Development will be filling five seats this spring and summer. VAEEC would like to see a strong number of diverse nominations representing the energy efficiency industry.
Why is this important to VAEEC?
Members of the governor-appointed Housing and Community Development Board guide and vote upon the content of Virginia’s triennial update of building codes – including the energy efficiency code. Currently Virginia lags behind our neighbors to the north and south for requiring some of the advancements in efficiency standards and testing. Advanced energy codes are among the most cost-effective methods of saving energy, lowering the total cost of housing, improving health and comfort in homes, and improving quality throughout the homebuilding industry. Learn more about the importance of strong energy codes from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Responsible Energy Codes Alliance.
What can you do?
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be nominated or can suggest a candidate worthy of support.
The seats will be filled by July 1, but the administration is expected to identify candidates soon.
The open seats are in Virginia’s 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th congressional districts, and nominees have to reside in the district to be eligible:
3rd (Bobby Scott’s district- parts of Richmond, Henrico, parts of Tidewater)
4th (Randy Forbes’s district- being redrawn) South-central to South eastern part of VA (Chesterfield, Amelia, Hopewell, Southampton, etc.)
VAEEC is official supporting the following candidates. To show your support for these or other nominees, simply fill out a nomination form online. It is listed as “Housing and Community Development, Board of” under “Commerce and Trade.”
3rd District: Andrew Grigsby, Executive Director of the Local Energy Alliance Program and Secretary of the VAEEC Governance Board
7th District: Bob Newman, President & CEO of the Virginia Community Development Corporation
7th District: Tim Bernadowski, Senior Energy Engineer, Siemens Building Technologies