Virginia Energy Sense interviewed Richmond Region Energy Alliance (RREA) Executive Director Danièlle Fouché Leonard to discuss how her organization is playing a role in encouraging energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Please provide a short summary of what the RREA is and the work it does. RREA formed in 2010 to break down the barriers to residential energy efficiency and renewable, sustainable energy. Many homeowners do not know who to call, who to trust, or what to do to improve the comfort of their home, lower their energy bills, or reduce their carbon footprint in an effort to do their part to help the environment. RREA is the local Richmond Virginia solution, your “one-stop” non-profit energy coach where you can go for objective advice on clean energy and energy efficiency solutions. With our SolarizeRVA program, we make solar purchasing simple and more affordable for your home and business, and offer community-wide group purchasing and marketing to reduce costs, as well as pre-qualify your solar contractors. With our energy efficiency service, we provide you with home energy check-ups by certified energy advisers who will evaluate your home’s systems and provide advice, or even install on-the-spot savings measures. And with our partnership with Secure Futures, we help provide no-cost solar for schools, universities, churches, local government, hospitals, and non-profits. As part of the 2017 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards, RREA won third place in the “Low-income” category. VES-RREA How is the RREA helping the Commonwealth meet its goal of reducing energy consumption? Since its inception, RREA has provided energy efficiency assessments to more than 800 homeowners. In addition to educating homeowners one-on-one, RREA reaches out to diverse audiences through educational programs, including U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)’s Connect the Dots campaign, Interfaith Power and Light programs, TEDx RVA, PrepareAthon, and many more. RREA’s SolarizeRVA program has from 2014-2017 reached 444 home and business owners, and performed 51 residential and 2 commercial installations for a total of 423,180 watts of alternative clean energy installed. RREA is also partnered with The Community Foundation and Secure Futures to help RVA schools and government install over 5MW of solar in 2018 under the RVA Solar Fund initiative. Through our EnergizeRVA program, RREA implemented energy efficiency weatherizations across 46 homes for an average estimated energy reduction of 9.5% per home, and an average infiltration reduction of 13.5%. Additionally, during the course of promoting EnergizeRVA, RREA referred over one hundred people to low-income weatherization services. (The 423,180 watts of alternative clean energy installed can be estimated at 547,659 kWh/year of clean energy production, which is the equivalent of 445,927 pounds of coal burned or carbon sequestered by 10,563 tree seedlings grown for 10 years) Below is an image of one of our SolarizeRVA customers, VA Lab Supply Inc. in Henrico, VA. VES1 What are some ways in which your organization has encouraged environmental stewardship? From 2013 to 2016, RREA was the local partner for Dominion’s Home Energy Check-Up program. Through this program, we were able to provide recommendations and install energy efficiency upgrades at no cost for 242 homeowners. Also, RREA is a sponsor of Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES), helping homeowners identify qualified contractors and access rebates and financing to make home energy improvements that increase the comfort, safety, and health of their home, while improving their carbon footprint.

Lesson Plans
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Get your students energized about responsible energy use! In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, we’ve created fun, multi-day, Lesson plans to help you teach your students how to understand and conserve energy! They’re classroom-ready and free to use!