Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) Executive Director Ben Taube announced today the hire of Cynthia Adams as the executive director of the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), a community-based nonprofit that will promote energy efficiency in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Va. Adams is to assume her new post on March 22.


LEAP's mission is to help facilitate unprecedented utility (energy and water) savings by retrofitting buildings and installing renewable technologies in residential and commercial buildings.  LEAP will work directly with property owners, governments, businesses, utilities and other nonprofits to help create a sustainable energy future for the county.

LEAP's start-up capital comes from a $500,000 grant from the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), which the city and the county won in June 2009 by detailing their strategies for achieving energy savings.  Over the next five to seven years, LEAP hopes to retrofit 30 to 50 percent of the homes and businesses in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area, cutting those buildings' energy costs by 20 to 40 percent.

LEAP will facilitate the use of energy audits to determine retrofit opportunities, working with appropriate partners to ensure that the audit and energy retrofit resources are available to provide these services with the commercial and residential markets.  LEAP will also work to make available financing for retrofits, ultimately using market mechanisms to ensure sustainability of the pipeline of debt capital required to reach the targeted number of retrofits.

"In her work as Charlottesville's Climate Protection Program Coordinator, Cynthia Adams has gained respect, locally and statewide, as a leader on community-based energy efficiency programs," said SEEA Executive Director Ben Taube.  "Her talents and enthusiasm will be immensely helpful as LEAP continues to grow, move forward and serve as a model for the Southeast."

Currently Adams works for the city of Charlottesville, and her professional focus has been on coordinating and developing both LEAP and the city-county Local Climate Action Planning Process.  Prior to her work with Charlottesville, Adams was a founding partner of Greener Side Consulting in McCall, Idaho.  Adams previously worked as the president of Terra Blue Design Build Center, also in McCall, and was a founding partner with StoneMetalWood, central Idaho's first green building company.  Adams is a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional and a member of the local chapter of the USGBC.

"The city and county have given this initiative enormous support over the last year, and in doing so have created a model for other Virginia localities," said Adams. "I look forward to working closely with municipal government and stakeholder partners to further mutual goals of energy conservation, savings for residents and job creation."