When Margie Garmey and her partner bought their newly constructed two-story home in 1995, they had no idea it wasn’t built to be energy efficient. Over the years, there were signs the house wasn’t running as smoothly as it could -- like even though they had central air, it was still impossible to sufficiently cool their second floor.
As part of legislation to re-regulate the state's electricity industry, Virginia enacted a voluntary renewable energy portfolio goal in 2007. Legislation passed in 2009 (HB 1994) expanded the goal, encouraging investor-owned utilities to procure a percentage of the power sold in Virginia from eligible renewable energy sources. Legislation passed in 2012 (SB 413) allows investor-owned utilities to meet up to 20% of a renewable energy goal through certificated research and development activity expenses related to renewable energy and alternative energy sources.
In April 2011, the Virginia legislature created the Voluntary Solar Resource Development Fund. The fund is administered by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). All utilities are required to provide a link on their web site to the DMME web site, where customers can make contributions to the fund. Utilities must also provide opportunities for customers to donate through their paper newsletters, emails or bills.
Washington Gas provides a number of rebates to residential customers who utilize energy efficient equipment and measures in the home. Rebate are available for tankless water heaters, storage (tank) water heaters, boilers, programmable thermostats, heating system checkups, and Energy Star home certification. Homes must receive natural gas service from Washington Gas in order to be eligible for the program. Appliances must be installed by a licensed contractor. All rebate applications are available on the program website.
In October 1999, the County Board of Arlington adopted a Pilot Green Building Incentive Program using the standards established by the U. S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The program granted bonus densities and/or heights to building projects which received LEED certification. After this testing period, the incentive program was adopted and implemented in April 2000, then later updated and expanded in 2003, 2009 and 2012.
The Virginia Resources Authority (VRA) was created in 1984 and provides financial assistance to local governments in Virginia for a variety of projects, including energy and energy conservation projects. In March 2011, H.B. 2389 added "renewable energy" to the list of eligible projects (though it may have already been technically eligible under the "energy" category). VRA offers several financing options, including the Virginia Pooled Financing Program, Revolving Loan Funds, and Term Financing.
'''''Note: In March 2011, Virginia enacted HB 1983, which increased the residential net-metering limit to 20 kW. However, residential facilities with a capacity of greater than 10 kW must pay a monthly standby charge. The Virginia State Corporation Commission approved standby charges for transmissions and distribution components as proposed by Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion Virginia Power) on November 3, 2011.'''''
The LEAP program offers a range of incentive options to residents in Northern Virginia, and the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Louisa, Greene, Fluvanna, Culpeper, Orange, Nelson and Madison. LEAP utilizes an online Home Energy Profile to enroll utility customers in LEAP's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program. A BPI Buildings Analyst-certified contractor will conduct the Home Performance Assessment.*
'''''Note: The Federal Housing Financing Agency (FHFA) issued a [http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/15884/PACESTMT7610.pdf statement] in July 2010 concerning the senior lien status associated with most PACE programs. In response to the FHFA statement, most local PACE programs have been suspended until further clarification is provided. '''''