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LEAP Holds Workshop on Saving Energy & Cutting Costs - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

LEAP Holds Workshop on Saving Energy & Cutting Costs

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In this economy small businesses across the country are looking for ways to save money.  Thursday, the Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP) taught Charlottesville property owners how to cut energy costs.

Building owners gathered at CitySpace Thursday to learn about how saving energy could help them save money.  Experts from LEAP say the first step is sealing air leaks and insulating ducts for heat, air conditioning, and hot water.

Roger Voisinet with the Main Street Arena said, "First thing to do is conserve energy and eliminate waste but after that, after you've done the obvious, then the next thing to do is reduce your energy consumption through more advanced technologies."

The Main Street Arena took that next step in March.  With a grant from LEAP, they installed solar panels that are helping them cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

"We produce approximately 16 percent of our annual electric costs to date, which we think we're going to be further reducing through energy conserving measures such as LED lighting, reinsulating the ceiling," Voisinet said.

Mark Brown, the owner of Main Street Arena, says it will take 10 to 12 years to pay off the panels, but LEAP experts say high-tech energy solutions like the solar panels are worth it in the long run – they will last for the next 50 years.

LEAP has a pool of about $230,000 available for property owners who want to follow in Main Street Arena's footsteps and invest in renewable energy systems.  LEAP says the loan program encourages Charlottesville businesses to make the initial investment.

"We have a lot of smaller organizations that work out of former houses that are now commercial-like buildings, so they can really utilize some of LEAP's programs to help tighten up their buildings, save energy and help their bottom line," said Tom Cassidy with LEAP.   "The best payback for small business owners and building owners is energy efficiency."

High-tech energy saving systems like the solar panels are proven to reduce your energy bills, but experts say if you're going to invest, you need to be in it for the long haul. 

See below for a list of resources from Thursday's workshop:

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