Throughout 2022, the VAEEC worked with our members to advance energy efficiency policies and programs in Virginia. Check out the graphic below to see our top 10 accomplishments. As 2022 is wrapping up, we are switching focus to the new outcomes and strategies in our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan, which will build off of the tremendous progress we’ve made over the last three years. We are excited to begin the next chapter on solid ground with endless opportunities.
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.
May is quickly approaching and we cannot wait to see all of you at our Annual Spring Meeting in just a few short weeks!
The meeting will be held at the University of Richmond in the Jepson Alumni Center on May 10th from 10:30 to 2:30. Arrive at 10:00 am to get in some extra networking before the meeting begins. Once you get settled in, help make VAEEC the best that it can be by participating in our 2018 Board Elections and, for the first time, a live membership poll that will be conducted via text message! The poll will consist of no more than five questions with multiple choice and write-in answers. Let VAEEC know how we can better serve you!
Our breakout sessions this year will focus on Commercial Building Automation and Residential Utility Programs. The commercial panel will offer participants a chance to interact with panelists to learn more about commercial building automation and to overcome existing challenges with their building automation systems.
Staff from Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company will be on the utility panel to discuss how they plan to turn their commitments to energy efficiency- in the new utility spending bill that the Governor signed into law last month- into reality. Join either group to brainstorm how energy efficiency can grow even further in Virginia.
During lunch, we will be joined by the Secretary or Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources to lay out the Governor’s vision and priorities for energy efficiency over the next four years. This will be a great opportunity for us to connect with the new administration on our work.
Our final panel of the day will be a fun, interactive session that provides you with the opportunity to shape VAEEC’s work for the remainder of the year. After a brief overview, attendees will join one of four breakout groups to discuss a variety of issues: Residential programs, Local Government activities, Utility Program expansion or Commercial PACE. We can’t wait to see what you all come up with.
One of the many benefits of being a member of VAEEC is having your chance to shine! Share your success story during the Member Share portion of our event. Email Jenn Fisher, our new Administrative Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up in advance. New this year, we are also providing our members with the opportunity to leave out their business cards and marketing materials on our Member Networking table. In order to accommodate all materials, we are asking our members to email your information to email@example.com by May 7th at 5pm.
If you are not yet a member but want to take advantage of this and the other great benefits that come with a VAEEC membership, the week of the Spring Meeting is the best week to join! Join at any membership level above Individual between May 7th and May 10th, and your name will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Hurry up and register today! Registration closes next Monday, April 30th. For members, media, or speakers please use this link to register. If you are not yet a member of VAEEC, please register here. We look forward to seeing you on May 10th!
The VAEEC has been focused on advancing Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, financing across the Commonwealth for the past few years. Since Virginia’s C-PACE law requires interested localities to develop and implement their own C-PACE program, start up can be on the slow side. However, we’ve seen a lot more traction lately thanks in part to the launch of Virginia’s first C-PACE program (in Arlington County) and the recent release of C-PACE resources for local governments.
Over 30 states and Washington, D.C. have approved C-PACE programs. Virginia joined this growing list in 2009 when it first passed C-PACE enabling legislation, which was later amended in 2015. Our C-PACE law includes all new and existing commercial, industrial, multifamily residential (over four units), and nonprofit buildings.
Arlington County’s C-PACE program officially launched in January of this year with the goal of improving new and existing buildings and helping the County’s Community Energy Plan implementation. Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, or SRS, was selected as their independent, third party program administrator to provide marketing, outreach, education, and quality assurance services.
During a January 2018 Board meeting, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to direct staff to develop a C-PACE program structure, evaluate options for Program Administration, and draft an ordinance. These items will be brought back to the Board at a future meeting for consideration. Similarly, Fairfax County is exploring the development of a C-PACE program. County staff are developing information for the Environmental Committee with the goal of presenting their findings to the Committee at their next meeting on June 12th.
In addition to providing educational information to Loudoun and Fairfax, the VAEEC is working with several other jurisdictions to answer questions and help with program development. Just last week, we worked with the City of Virginia Beach to organize a C-PACE informational session for all municipal staff in the Hampton Roads region. Representatives from the Cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach were in attendance. We are also working with local Virginia chapters of the Sierra Club to host a C-PACE event on May 30th in the City ofAlexandria. This event will be open to all C-PACE stakeholders in the area, including property owners, contractors, lenders, and municipal staff. We also continue to work with the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to answer staff questions and provide guidance on the resources currently available to localities.
Resources for Local Governments
In early 2018, the VAEEC released a Virginia model ordinance for localities to use when crafting their own program. The ordinance was commissioned following a review and input from a wide variety of C-PACE experts in the lending, local government, engineering, legal, and policy fields. This document incorporated key factors that we consider to be crucial to implementing an effective C-PACE program.
Accelerating C-PACE throughout DC, MD, & VA
As part of its mission to accelerate the development and utilization of C-PACE in the Mid-Atlantic region, MAPA is currently creating program implementation guidance. These regional guidelines will be a part of a toolkit created to help localities craft their own C-PACE program and is slated to be released by June. In conjunction with MAPA, the VAEEC will be hosting a C-PACE webinar in September that will walk attendees through both this toolkit and the Virginia model ordinance.
Virginia localities may review the program infrastructure implemented in Arlington County, including the County ordinance and other program documents. There is also the option to “ride” the C-PACE Program Administration contract with SRS, which would eliminate the need for a Request for Proposals (RFP) process and shortens the time to program launch. Localities may also contract directly with SRS if cooperative procurement is not preferred. Explore the Arlington C-PACE website for more information.
The VAEEC prides itself on being a neutral, trusted resource for any Virginia localities interested in C-PACE. We are actively meeting with local governments across Virginia to discuss all available options and help each locality determine which option best suits their needs. If you would like to know more about C-PACE, contact Jessica Greene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(June 28, 2016) Governor McAuliffe today issued Executive Order 57 directing Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward to convene a workgroup and recommend concrete steps to reduce carbon pollution from Virginia’s power plants. The group will evaluate options under Virginia’s existing authority to address carbon pollution. You can read the Governor’s press release here.
The following is the statement of Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director:
“The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council applauds Governor McAuliffe’s announcement today on issuing Executive Order 57. Any plan to reduce carbon emissions should include strong energy efficiency policies. The Governor has been a champion of energy efficiency since taking office, which has been exemplified by his action to initiate the first-ever Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency. Energy efficiency creates jobs, saves families and businesses money, and helps reduce pollution and carbon emissions — all benefits that the Commonwealth deserves from economic, energy and environmental initiatives like Executive Order 57.”
About the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council
The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is a 501(c)3 organization seeking to provide a forum for stakeholder interaction and to assess and support programs, innovation, best practices, and policies that advance energy efficiency in Virginia.
We enjoyed the spring meeting last week and hope that you did too. We received many positive remarks on the venue, so we may just have to hold another event at the University of Richmond Jepson Center.
In case you missed it, below are some highlights from the day and links to download the presentations. You can also see photos on our Facebook page — be sure to tag yourself and your colleagues.
To kick off the event, we unveiled a new logo and website! This took many hours of hard work, and we are pleased with the end result. I hope you will check out the rest of the site while you’re here.
I also ran through some of the key data from the member survey. It’s very clear that you, our members, enjoy being part of a broad coalition that is driving energy efficiency policy and programs in Virginia.
We received positive feedback on our communications and potential new member-only benefits. We also heard that you want more networking and training opportunities such as webinars, so later this month we’ll launch our webinar series. We asked and you answered so the first webinar topic will be on PACE financing. The date is set for June 30 at noon. Details will follow soon.
The VAEEC membership also reappointed 3 of our board members and voted on two new members to expand the board to 13. You can see all of our board members here.
After my remarks, Hayes Framme, from the office of Governor McAuliffe, gave an update on the 2016 General Assembly session and the work of the Governor’s Executive Committee on Energy Efficiency (GEC). Hayes told the crowded room about SB 395 and HB 1053, which were bills the Governor initiated. The final outcome for these bills, which wasn’t the initially hoped for outcome (as detailed here), directed the State Corporation Commission to open a public comment period in order to draft a response on the feasibility of developing protocols to verify savings of utility programs. The VAEEC supported these bills during session and our full comments to the SCC can be found here.
Hayes also discussed the GEC itself, for which we have a dedicated page on our website as we are a partner of the state energy office in providing support to the GEC’s work.
Next up was John Morrill with Arlington County to discuss the progress of the DEQ stakeholder group that is helping DEQ identify the commonwealth’s compliance path for the Clean Power Plan. John mentioned that consensus was hard to come by among the stakeholders, but more importantly, consensus was reached that all stakeholders like pie. Details were not shared on which kind.
Following the lunch networking break, we picked the agenda back up with three more presentations. First was Ryan Hodum with David Gardiner & Associates — also our newest member! Ryan presented on two of DGA’s initiatives: Chambers of Innovation for Clean Energy, a program that is engaging local Chambers of Commerce on clean energy issues, and the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, which which focuses on state and federal industrial energy efficiency policy, primarily on combined heat and power.
Next, was the Featured Member of the month. For May, we featured, Pearl Certification. Cynthia Adams, VAEEC’s board chair is CEO of this new company, which helps homeowners save money through energy savings but also helping them recapture some of the value of their home improvement investment if they decide to sell later on.
Our final presentation of the day was by Zack Miller with Virginia Housing Alliance who discussed the initiatives of the Multifamily Energy Efficiency Coalition (MFEEC). Multifamily housing accounts for 12% of Virginia’s total housing stock, equal to 385,000 units. These residences are typically left out of energy efficiency programs, so the coalition is working to advance policies that provide comprehensive energy efficiency services to this sector. The VAEEC and many of our members are proud to be part of this worthwhile initiative.
We spent the last 30 minutes of the meeting giving our members the opportunity to brag a little bit. A microphone was sent around for members to give a 2-3 minute update on anything they are working on related to energy efficiency. Dominion Virginia Power, Columbia Gas and Washington Gas all gave updates on their energy efficiency programs and their latest proceedings before the SCC. Several other members gave updates as well including Trane, Viridant, Virginia Community Capital, and Loudon County Public Schools. We are pleased that so many members chimed in to talk about their work.
Our next member meeting will take place in November where we will hold our first annual Energy Efficiency Champions awards ceremony. Stay tuned for details.
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.