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Virginia – SEP

Virginia's Multi-state Model for Catalyzing the National Home Energy Retrofit Market

Location: Charlottesville, Richmond, Arlington County, City of Alexandria, Blacksburg, and Roanoke
Seed Funding: $2.9 million
Target Building Type: Residential

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Virginia's Regional Energy Alliances Help Forge a State Program for Energy-Efficient Homes

With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, Virginia has established a "Multi-state Model for Catalyzing the National Home Energy Retrofit Market" to improve energy efficiency across the state. The program is working with its counterparts in Alabama, Massachusetts, and Washington to model a state energy program that can be replicated in other areas of the country. The program is testing a variety of efforts to increase homeowner demand for upgrades, provide affordable financing, and create new jobs in Virginia.

Driving Demand: Courting Ambassadors Through Partner Organizations
Program Design: Taking Advantage of the Energy Performance Score

Courting Ambassadors Through Partner Organizations

Virginia's program is developing marketing tactics to educate homeowners on the benefits of energy efficiency improvements, including lower energy bills and increased comfort. The program is partnering with local nonprofit organizations—known as Regional Energy Alliances (REAs)—to undertake projects in Charlottesville, Richmond, Arlington County in Northern Virginia and Blacksburg and Roanoke.

Virginia's REAs are developing community-based social marketing strategies based on research that indicates that homeowners are more receptive to learning about energy efficiency from someone they know and trust in their community. The partner organizations selected have strong relationships with local community leaders and encourage them to serve as ambassadors for the program.

Taking Advantage of the Energy Performance Score

The program is also encouraging homeowners, home improvement professionals, and real estate agents to use the Energy Performance Score (EPS) rating system developed by the Earth Advantage Institute to measure the energy efficiency of homes. The EPS is a home energy rating system that measures a home's energy consumption in real time. Virginia, along with Massachusetts, Alabama, and Washington, is jointly investing in a Web information portal that will allow homeowners to review their EPS scorecards online.

The score provides homeowners with insights into which behaviors use the most energy, such as running the air conditioning when no one is home. It also allows professionals to determine which energy efficiency upgrades will have the greatest impact on energy usage. Real estate agents will also be able to use the score to value the energy efficiency of homes on the market.


Ron Hachey

U.S. Department of Energy
Better Buildings Neighborhood Program