"Speed Dating" Energy-Efficiency Style

Roanoke citizens joined  experts to chat about conservation and home energy efficiency 

Dating is serious stuff. You don’t want to invest your heart or time in something that won’t work out. Home energy efficiency is serious stuff, too. You want to make sure that you choose the right contractor and the right measures to make the most of your investment.

cafe2 (Community Alliance for Energy Efficiency), the Association for Energy Conservation Professionals (AECP), and Better Building Works teamed up to create a “speed dating” event where homeowners could learn about the process by meeting professionals one-on-one. 

Here’s how it worked: Homeowners sat in front of a professional for a personal conversation on a specific topic, from the audit process, to the types of improvements, to financing incentives. They were able to ask questions specific to their home and when the time was up, they visited the next professional. The event is part of cafe2’s series of homeowner educational programs called Coffee and Conservation. 

"Our whole job is to help demystify the home energy efficiency process,” said cafe2 Director Gregg Lewis. “And we’ve found that’s a lot easier when you just have a normal conversation over a cup of coffee.” 

ENERGY STAR says that on average Americans can save up to 30% or $600 a year with simple energy efficiency upgrades. And the savings aren’t just short-term, they keep compounding the longer you stay in your home. On top of that, there are tax incentives and rebates to help finance these improvements. 

“But even with all this, families still aren’t taking advantage of these energy efficiency improvements,” said Lewis. “Some people think it’s too expensive, too confusing or that they won’t get enough return on their investment. That’s where we come in.” 

cafe2, a division of Community Housing Partners (CHP), is a non-profit community program and one-stop shop for what to do, whom to call, and how to pay for home energy upgrades. The organization was established last year to lead a community-based energy efficiency home improvement program with the City of Roanoke and Town of Blacksburg with the goal to promote energy and cost savings, local economic development, and environmental stewardship. 

They do this by providing educational programs for homeowners, pre-qualifying and certifying home energy assessors and contractors, performing third party quality assurance for energy improvement measures, and promoting available financial incentive programs to pay for energy upgrades. 

Lewis says that there will be more Coffee and Conservation events throughout the year in Roanoke and New River Valleys. 

About cafe2 

cafe2 (Community Alliance for Energy Efficiency) is a non-profit community program helping homeowners in Southwest Virginia save energy, reduce costs and improve the health and safety of their homes through easy and affordable energy improvements. Established in 2011, cafe2’s mission is to lead a community based energy efficiency home improvement program with the City of Roanoke and Town of Blacksburg to promote energy and cost savings, local economic development and environmental stewardship. As the community’s center for energy efficiency information, cafe2 provides education programs for homeowners, pre-qualifies and certifies home energy assessors and contractors, performs third party quality assurance for energy improvement measures, and promotes available financial incentive programs to pay for energy upgrades. Initial grant funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy and is administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.