On Saturday, March 7, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey, community partners, and volunteers gathered at ParcView Apartments in Alexandria to celebrate the 1,000th home energy efficiency improvement conducted by volunteers participating in the Energy Masters Program.
During the event, attendees took an “energized” apartment tour, saw the work of Energy Masters, and talked with a Wesley Housing resident, who directly benefited from the program.
The Energy Masters Program provides families living in affordable housing communities in Arlington and Alexandria energy and water efficiency upgrades and tips to reduce their water and energy consumption. Volunteers undergo several weeks of extensive training in energy efficiency, water conservation, and tenant education techniques before sharing these skills with the greater community. Volunteers help residents to reduce both utility expenses and carbon emissions. This assistance serves to empower tenants and reinforce Energy Masters’ community commitment.
The program is a partnership between the Virginia Cooperative Extension and EcoAction Arlington, with local support offered by Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, the Community Development Fund, and local housing authorities. Featured speakers at the event included Justin Wilson, Mayor of the City of Alexandria, Libby Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County Board, and Shelley Murphy, President/CEO of Wesley Housing.
ParcView Apartment is a 149-unit affordable housing community in Alexandria owned and operated by Wesley Housing. Eighty percent of the units are set aside as affordable apartments for households earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income. Energy Masters Volunteers completed improvements to 20 units at the property on Saturday, March 7. This was in addition to 41 units receiving improvements in 2019. “We currently serve 280 individuals and families at ParcView Apartments whose average annual household income is $28,400,” said Wesley Housing President/CEO, Shelley Murphy. “This program not only educates our residents on practical changes they can make in their homes to conserve energy and water, but helps to reduce the cost of utility bills, allowing their paychecks to stretch a little further each month,” added Murphy.
“The City of Alexandria is pleased to continue to support the Energy Masters program and its valuable work in meeting critical housing and environmental goals,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. Wilson added, “Through its team of volunteers and partnerships, Energy Masters is improving housing affordability—and directly addressing climate change—through community education and energy efficiency improvements.”
Libby Garvey, Arlington County Board Chair, said in a statement, “Arlington County commends Energy Masters for supporting low-income residents in making their homes efficient and comfortable and is proud that the program supports our County’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.”
Since launching in 2011, Energy Masters has improved 1,000 home units and trained 269 volunteers who have contributed over 10,000 volunteer hours. In promoting a more energy efficient and sustainable community, the award-winning Energy Masters team has replaced over 4,700 inefficient light bulbs, insulated 13,500 outlets, and installed over 1,100 water-saving faucet aerators. In 2020, the Energy Masters program will expand to Fairfax County, in collaboration with the Fairfax County Office of the Environmental and Energy Coordination.