CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 20 SEEA-Charlottesville

The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) today awarded the city of Charlottesville and county of Albemarle, VA $500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) for their proposal to create a local energy program designed to achieve unprecedented energy and water savings by retrofitting buildings and installing renewable technologies in all end use sectors.  The program is designed to achieve 30% - 50% market penetration and a 20% - 40% efficiency gain in 5-7 years.

"The City and County put together an outstanding proposal which uses the best energy efficiency practices and programs from around the country, creating an exciting new program design," said Ben Taube, SEEA Executive Director. "Charlottesville and Albemarle County will make it easy for all residents and businesses to save money and energy, while achieving unprecedented levels of energy efficiency, job creation and significant reductions in its carbon footprint."

The proposal was one of sixteen submitted, by Asheville, NC; Bowling Green, KY; Charleston, SC; Decatur, GA; Fayetteville, NC; Huntsville, AL; Miami; FL; Nashville, TN; Jacksonville, FL; Baldwin County, AL; St. Petersburg, FL; Celebration, FL; Bessemer, AL; Plug In Carolina; and Renewable Energy Mississippi.  SEEA will provide some level of technical assistance to all the applying cities to help implement their proposals, but only one cash award was given.  All proposals will be made available at

"I am excited to see the great strides Charlottesville and Albemarle County are making with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance on this new energy efficiency program.  I congratulate the Local Energy Alliance Program on receiving this grant for the new energy service." Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said.  "The LEAP will serve as a model how other communities in Virginia can work with their citizens and businesses to conserve energy and address the challenges of climate change."

Dubbed the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), the program design includes a public-private partnership and a market-making approach; a focus on building science, systems, and usage behavior; a first emphasis on energy efficiency; and, a plan to deliberately phase in alternative/renewable generation. LEAP will help put people to work and revitalize the local construction industry, while growing the performance contracting market at such a scale that will develop new economic sectors, businesses, and infrastructure.

"Albemarle County is very pleased and proud to be part of this partnership that is going to help create real and meaningful changes in our community's energy consumption and emissions, and we thank SEEA for awarding us this grant that will let us reach our aggressive goals and promote job creation in the region," said David Slutzky, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors.

Additionally, both Charlottesville and Albemarle are dedicating funds from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding they will receive through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, giving the new program an additional $255,000 in start up funding, $60,000 of which from County allocations.  LEAP programs are expected to be available to customers by early 2010.

"This is an exciting day for our community and a great opportunity for Charlottesville households," said Charlottesville Mayor David Norris.  "We look forward to working with our partners in this effort with our goal to become the most eco-friendly region in the country.  We thank SEEA for their interest and their sensible stewardship of the environment."

Reviewed by an advisory panel of national experts, the proposals were graded using criteria such as: the depth of community involvement and support; comprehensiveness of the plan, including program design, milestones, and demonstrated understanding of the community's market and energy characteristics; reasonableness of project objectives; and innovation in program design, marketing strategy, technology focus, and financing options.

"This program model will not only benefit to Charlottesville and Albemarle, but also adaptable to and replicable to other Southeast communities as well as the entire country," continued Taube.  "SEEA will work with cities across the Southeast to replicate Charlottesville/Albemarle's program design."

Funding for the award has been generously provided by the Kresge Foundation; Kendeda Fund; Overbrook Foundation; and Southern Company Charitable Foundation, Inc.

The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance promotes energy efficiency for a cleaner environment, a more prosperous economy, and a higher quality of life in the Southeastern region of the United States.

SOURCE  Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance