ATLANTA — Energy efficiency in the Southeast in expected to get a boost when the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) rolls out its program of large-scale building retrofits for homeowners and businesses under its recently-announced $20 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative.
The regional organization will partner with nearly a dozen communities of varying sizes and characteristics, each of which will use a different approach to increase the energy efficiency of small and large residential, commercial and public buildings. This diversity will allow SEEA to test and evaluate a variety of models in both smaller, more rural and larger, more metropolitan areas and make adjustments as needed. Another key aspect of the program, which will use a combined formula allocation and a pay-for-performance strategy to fund specific projects, will be the availability of affordable, accessible financing programs.
The Southeast Community Retrofit Ramp-up Consortium will partner with cities in eight southeastern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia – and with the U.S. Virgin Islands, aimed at increasing the effectiveness of building retrofits across the region. SEEA’s community partners include Huntsville, Ala., Celebration, Fla.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta, Ga.; Decatur, Ga.; New Orleans; Carrboro, N.C.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Nashville, Tenn., Woodbury, Tenn.; Albemarle County, Va.; Charlottesville, Va.; and, Hampton Roads Planning District, Va.
SEEA’s community partners have been planning and organizing for this opportunity since Feb. 2009 when SEEA challenged cities to make commitments to energy-efficiency programming and infrastructure with a $500,000 competitive solicitation and award. Fifteen communities from six states tendered applications, based on hundreds of hours of partnership-building, meetings, planning, research and negotiations with utilities and city councils.