Groups push to break down barriers for energy efficiency businesses in Virginia

The attic at Kristen Evans’ grand, nearly century-old home in Richmond’s Woodland Heights neighborhood is far toastier than it should be on a chilly November morning.

“We could have tea parties up here,” said Hannah Fuerhoff, energy-efficiency programs manager for the Richmond Region Energy Alliance, a nonprofit that offers home energy use checkups for a $40 donation.

Fuerhoff soon identifies the culprit: Leaking, aging ductwork is blasting hot air into a space that is used only for storage.

“Old houses are really well-built,” Fuerhoff said, on an inspection that starts in the attic and progresses to bathrooms, the kitchen and the basement, among other parts of the house. “The problems come from when you’re trying to modernize with HVAC.”

Energy efficiency is a $1.5 billion industry in Virginia that supports some 75,000 jobs, from energy audits like Fuerhoff was conducting to renewable energy businesses, HVAC contractors, architects and weatherization providers that help homes and businesses use less gas and electricity, among other jobs that intersect with the field, according to the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council.

Read more (Richmond Times-Dispatch)