Category: Press Releases

VAEEC Elects New Officers of the Board


Chelsea Harnish, Executive Director

Virginia Energy Efficiency Council Elects New Officers of the Board                                                                                   

RICHMOND — The Board of Directors for the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) elected new officers for the next two years:

  • Chair: David Koogler, Vice President of Member Services and External Affairs, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
  • Vice Chair: John Morrill, Energy Manager, Arlington County
  • Secretary: Mark Jackson, Vice President of CHP Energy Solutions, Community Housing Partners
  • Treasurer: Bill Greenleaf, Individual Member (re-elected)

“I look forward to overseeing the Board’s efforts to continue progress that has been made to position the VAEEC as the leading authority on energy efficiency in the Commonwealth,” said David Koogler. “With the significant emphasis on energy efficiency recently provided by the Administration and the General Assembly, I am excited to be part of the board leadership team at a time when the VAEEC will have a significant role in engaging stakeholders to advance energy efficiency as a resource.”

This fall the Governor’s Administration released the Virginia Energy Plan, which included energy efficiency as one of five areas of focus, along with solar, onshore wind, offshore wind, energy storage, and electric vehicles/advanced transportation. The General Assembly also passed the Grid Transformation and Security Act of 2018, which included a commitment from Virginia’s two investor-owned utilities to spend more than $1 billion on energy efficiency programs over the next ten years.

“The combined expertise of our new slate of Officers shows the depth of energy efficiency qualifications that represent our combined membership,” said Executive Director, Chelsea Harnish. “We are pleased to have these talented leaders at the helm of the VAEEC at a time when Virginia expects to see expanding utility energy efficiency programs and growing interest by Virginia localities to implement their own programs in the coming year.”

The VAEEC Board and staff also recognize the outgoing Board Chair, David Steiner, D+R International, for his efforts over the last two years, which helped lay the foundation for where the organization is today.

“It has been a delight to see the advancement of energy efficiency in almost all realms of Virginia public life since the founding of the VAEEC in 2012,” said Steiner. “There is certainly more work to be done and this slate of leaders has the proven credentials to carry us forward.”

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Visit the VAEEC Press Room for images, information, and additional quotes.

About VAEEC:

Founded in 2012, the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is the voice for the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. We are a nonprofit headquartered in Richmond. Our members include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, universities, nonprofits, local governments, state agencies, and utilities. The Council’s goal is to ensure energy efficiency is recognized as an integral part of Virginia’s economy.


Press Release_2019 Officers FINAL (PDF)

Showcasing Energy Efficiency “In Action” for Virginia Residents

Dominion Energy Share program benefits low-income residents

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Energy efficiency upgrades that cut costs for low-income Virginia residents were on display today at a tour of an affordable housing complex in northern Virginia. Held in recognition of National Energy Efficiency Month, the walk-through gave state Senator Richard “Dick” Saslaw and other Virginia officials a chance to see, first-hand, the direct benefits of efficiency programs expanded under the recently passed Grid Transformation and Security Act.

“It’s not often you can see such concrete, positive results of recent legislation with your own eyes,” said Chelsea Harnish, Executive Director of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC). “But as Senator Saslaw saw today, residents of Rosedale Manor will soon have healthier, more comfortable homes – and lower energy bills.”

Rosedale Manor, a 96-unit affordable housing complex owned by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), is currently undergoing a complete weatherization retrofit, including new attic insulation and installation of efficient LED light bulbs, provided by LEAP (the Local Energy Alliance Program) using funds from the newly expanded Dominion Energy Share Weatherization program.

“We are thrilled to be able to reach more of Virginia’s low-income families,” said Lesley Crowther Fore, Executive Director of LEAP. “When a family starts saving money on their energy bills, it makes so many other things possible. For some Virginians, saving even a few dollars a month can mean the difference between a bag of healthy groceries or a bare cupboard.”

Rosedale is one of many Virginia affordable housing complexes benefiting from the Dominion Energy Share program, expanded under a bill passed in the last legislative session, the Grid Transformation and Security Act (SB966), which went into effect July 1. VAEEC joined LEAP to offer state and local decision-makers a hands-on opportunity to see how their efforts are helping low-income Virginians.

“We are honored to have VAEEC showcase the wonderful work LEAP is doing here at Rosedale Manor to make the community more energy efficient” said Mason District Board Supervisor Penny Gross. “This effort supports the county’s commitment to renewable energy and innovative energy technologies.”  The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted its first ever Operational Energy Strategy earlier this summer. The strategy aims to reduce energy use in county buildings and facilities by 20 percent per square foot over the next 10 years.

Virginia is the most expensive state in the Southeast and the 11th most expensive in the country for energy costs for renters. While all utility customers share in the cost of energy efficiency programs through their monthly bills and all Virginians save money from reduced statewide energy consumption, utility programs traditionally only reach single-family, owner-occupied homes. Dominion’s Energy Share program is one of the few ways for residents of apartments and other multi-family homes to access all the benefits of energy efficiency.






About VAEEC:

Founded in 2012, the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council is the voice for the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. We are a nonprofit headquartered in Richmond. Our members include Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, universities, nonprofits, local governments, state agencies, and utilities. The Council’s goal is to ensure energy efficiency is recognized as an integral part of Virginia’s economy.

About LEAP:

Since its inception, LEAP has established itself as a trusted leader in Virginia for home and business energy efficiency and renewables thanks to the relationships we have developed with our customers, contractors, local governments, and many other partners. As a trusted nonprofit, LEAP delivers direct education and services for improved energy performance to address climate change; create cost savings for families and businesses; healthier, safer, and more durable buildings; and local jobs and economic growth.

The low-down on PACE financing in Virginia

Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE, is starting to get more and more attention around the Commonwealth and the nation. In fact, Governor McAuliffe and his administration recognized PACE as a viable means to create more jobs, save energy, and lower electricity bills in a recent press release. As it’s popularity increases, many are still unaware of just exactly what PACE is and who it can benefit.

PACE financing is a loan program to help bring low-cost, long-term capital to fund the rehabilitation of existing and new privately owned commercial buildings through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation projects. The loan is repaid annually through the property’s real estate tax bill.

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation at the state level to enable PACE financing; nineteen of those states have already started a PACE program. In Virginia, a commercial PACE, or C-PACE, enabling law was originally enacted in 2009 and amended in 2015. Virginia’s PACE law requires a locality to develop a PACE program, and private lenders make the loan and negotiate directly with the property owner on rates and terms. Currently, Arlington County is the only Virginia jurisdiction actively developing a PACE program; however, several over localities are exploring the development of their own programs.

Practically all privately-owned commercial buildings, regardless of size, are eligible for PACE financing, including office, retail, hotel, and industrial space. Eligible PACE projects must either reduce energy consumption or generate energy, and they must be permanently affixed to the property. Eligible improvements include: insulation, solar panels, lighting, roofing, and HVAC systems. In Virginia, commercial, nonprofit, and multifamily buildings (except condos and dwellings with less than five units) are eligible regardless of their age.

PACE offers an array of benefits for each key stakeholder: property owner, contractor, lender, locality.

Property owners:

100% financing: PACE covers 100% of all hard and soft project costs, eliminating the need for upfront cash investment.

Long-term loan: With terms up to 20+ years, PACE loans result in lower annual payments and immediate positive cash flow.

Transferable: PACE loans do not have to be paid off at the time of sale; they transfer to the new owner.

Non-accelerating loan



Increase sales volume and improve profit margin: By covering 100% of project costs and eliminating the requirement for out-of-pocket expense, PACE brings financing to more customers. Since PACE is based on equity in the property and not personal credit, it is easier for more customers to obtain financing.

Fund deeper energy retrofits: Long-term financing enables customers to take advantage of projects with longer paybacks, which leads to more comprehensive projects with greater effect on energy usage. PACE can also fund efficiency improvements that are not allowable uses of Weatherization Assistance Program funds (i.e. replacement windows).

Gain support and resources: PACE programs can be developed to offer an array of contractor services to help grow business and streamline financing. Services include training, call center support, customizable marketing materials, tools to pre-qualify customers, project estimation calculators, and web portals for financial analysis and deal-tracking.

Spur demand for retrofits and energy auditors: As the number of people taking advantage of PACE increases, PACE could spur a surge of private demand for well-trained retrofitters. Additionally, as the program grows, so will the demand for energy audits. Energy audits are used to track a building’s energy usage before and after PACE improvements are installed.



Meet client’s needs of implementing upgrades

Increase value of collateral: upgrades and improvements increases the value of the property

– Enhances property owner’s ability to pay their debt: raises net operating income (NOI) through low annual payments and decreased operating costs



– Creates employment opportunities for contractors, trades, engineers, vendors, etc.

– Serves as a redevelopment tool for “tired” buildings with obsolescent and inefficient systems

– Improvements make buildings more marketable, leading to better tenant retention and increases property values

Increased property taxes  and construction fees yields more revenues for jurisdictions

Reduces locality’s carbon footprint, enabling it to become a green leader

Minimal municipal burden: a third party administrator carries the cost of starting and running the program


The difference between traditional bank financing and PACE financing:

Traditional Bank Financing PACE Financing
Purpose: HVAC and Lighting Purpose: HVAC and Lighting
Project Cost: $100,000 Project Cost: $100,000
Loan: $75,000

25% upfront cash investment required

Loan: $100,000

$0 upfront cash investment required

Interest Rate: 5% Interest Rate: 6.25%
Term: 5 years, fully amortizing Term: 15 years, fully amortizing
Monthly Payment: $1,415 Monthly Payment: $857
Annual Payment: $16,984 Annual Payment: $10,290


PACE financing is a lucrative tool that can benefit all parties involved. We look forward to seeing Arlington get their program up and running later this year and are excited to continue working with other localities as they explore the feasibility of developing their own PACE programs.

If you would like additional information about PACE, please contact VAEEC Program Coordinator Jessica Greene.