My house is Getting an Energy Makeover

Thanks to LEAP, my house will be getting an energy makeover. I’ve written about green homes and energy efficiency for years, and now I’ll be benefitting from it first hand.

And I’m a bit excited.

I expect I’ll be writing about this quite a bit over the next few weeks and months, but here’s one thing I’ll note now:

I don’t think I’ll publicly disclose the builder of my home. It’s easy to find out, and I’ll tell you in person, and if you’re a client, I’ll give you the full run-down.

The reason we bought where we did was not for the house; it was for the location. We walk and ride bikes to the park, the pool, the soccer field, coffee shop(s), the library, and ride bikes to all of the above including my daughter’s elementary school.

Now, if we can save money through energy efficiency and I will learn more to help my clients, that’s a win all the way around.

Press release is after the jump.

Four Local Homeowners Win Free Home Energy Makeovers
Valued at $2,500-$10,000 in PowerSaver Contest
With Winter Approaching, All Greater Cville Area Homeowners Eligible for Cash Rebates, Low-Interest Loans to Save Money, Stay Cozy
Charlottesville – Today the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) and UVA Community Credit Union announced the four winners of the 2011 PowerSaver Home Energy Makeover Contest:

•       Jim Duncan (Crozet, Albemarle County): $2,500 makeover
•       Kathleen Brumbaugh (Palmyra, Fluvanna County): $2,500 makeover
•       Lisa Workman (City of Charlottesville): $5,000 makeover
•       John Collmus (Charlottesville, Albemarle County): $10,000 makeover
See below for more information about the winning homes and homeowners or visit  Interviews and house visits with the winners are available; to schedule, please call Annie Suttle at 434.249.9817 or email
Over the next two weeks, local contractors will compete in the “Smackdown” to vie for the right to perform the home energy improvements. The winning contractors will then be matched with the winning homeowners to achieve at least a 15% gain in energy savings. Projected improvements include air sealing, duct sealing, adding insulation, and the maintenance or upgrading of heating and cooling equipment.
Last month the pool of Contest entries was narrowed down to 10 finalists, all of whom received free home energy assessments. The results of their assessments – including the potential for energy savings – were the key factors in selecting the winners. 
“Today we are congratulating our four winners, wishing the contractors good luck, and letting all Charlottesville area homeowners know that they can still win big,” said Cynthia Adams, Executive Director of LEAP. “For a limited time everyone can take advantage of cash rebates and the new low-interest PowerSaver loans offered through our partners at UVA Community Credit Union to make home energy improvements affordable.”
More information about PowerSaver loans is available at
The Contest winds down as we gear up for the winter heating season, the best time to prepare homes – and budgets – for high energy bills. On the heels of today’s announcement, residents are encouraged to attend a free workshop on the “High Costs of Winter” next Thursday, October 13. More information: 
“We join LEAP in congratulating these four winners,” says Alison DeTuncq, President/CEO of UVA Community Credit Union. “From our point of view, the contest is a great way to increase awareness of the benefits of energy-efficient home improvements that can not only save energy, but result in more comfortable homes, improved property values, more money in homeowners’ pocketbooks, and a cleaner environment for our community. We’re all winners in this process.”  
About the Winning Families
Jim Duncan (Crozet, Albemarle County; 2278 SF): $2,500 makeover
Jim and his family of four live in a pretty new house (2003) but pay excessively high energy bills while still suffering in a drafty house. Turns out only half of their attic is insulated, among other issues.
Kathleen Brumbaugh (Palmyra, Fluvanna County; 2300 SF): $2,500 makeover
Kathleen’s family of four have been dealing with major comfort issues despite the fact that they live in a 2002 home. Her son’s bedroom and husband’s office above the garage were particular trouble spots. They’ve got a fair amount of insulation, but their duct work all sits outside the conditioned space.
Lisa Workman (City of Charlottesville; 1978 SF): $5,000 makeover
Lisa’s family of three moved into this 1948 home about 20 years ago and have dealt with extreme comfort and moisture issues ever since. Their energy bills are moderately high but largely because they set their thermostats so low that they are freezing in the winters. And heavy rains create a river in their basement. 
John Collmus (Charlottesville, Albemarle County; 2212 SF): $10,000 makeover
The Collmus family of five plus their two exchange students live in a 1983 house with high energy bills and comfort issues. Among the main culprits are old appliances and heat pumps plus duct work outside of the conditioned space. 

About LEAP (
LEAP is a community-based nonprofit created initially from a joint initiative between the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle. Our alliance partners include local government, Dominion Virginia Power, Charlottesville Gas, the University of Virginia, Piedmont Virginia Community College, the business and contracting community, and other nonprofits. Working together, we seek to create unprecedented utility (energy and water) savings by retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient, comfortable, and healthier for those who live and work inside.

About UVA Community Credit Union (
UVA Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative that provides a wide range of convenient and professionally managed financial services to its more than 55,000 members. Membership Eligibility: Membership is open to those who live or work in Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, or Orange. Business Eligibility: Membership is open to any business located in our field of membership.

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  1. Greg Slater October 6, 2011 at 13:47

    Thanks for sharing and hope you do share the details of the work done and the improvements achieved. My experience is that the cost savings is good, but gaining a more comfortable home is great. It’s important to note that this energy efficiency issue is not just for “older” homes. 2 of the 4 winners were built since 2002.

    1. Jim Duncan October 10, 2011 at 12:47

      I’m looking forward to seeing what they recommend and what additional steps they say would help, beyond the $2500 threshold. 

      Also, I’m going to get something sorted for my neighborhood so that they can understand what they could do as well.

  2. Pingback: Getting Started with Energy Efficiency at

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