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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Advancing GHG Reductions through Affordable Housing

James City County, Virginia

Federal Funding: $303,828
Project Timeline: February 2010 – June 2014

Latest Update

James City County has completed a total of 33 energy efficiency retrofits of residential buildings. Of the 33 retrofits, seven are EarthCraft retrofit projects and 26 are owner-occupied homes. Additional energy audits are still being scheduled, and 31 have been completed to date. James City County has held meetings and workshops to reach out to residents about the home energy audits available through the program. The County has also conducted outreach through their updated website and county television channel programming. The County has received a draft program evaluation from interns from the College of William and Mary and is expected to continue working with the interns to finalize a program evaluation. Additional upcoming activities include completing the remaining energy audits and retrofits.

Project Summary

Revitalizing Communities by Promoting Energy Efficiency in Residential Households

Like many communities across the country, James City County’s residential housing market is experiencing many foreclosures. To address this issue, the County is launching a program to link urban revitalization efforts with improvements in residential building energy performance. The goal of this program is to target older, low-to-moderate-income households in an area with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the county to achieve three goals:

  • Retrofit, rehabilitate, and resell foreclosed homes,
  • Promote energy audits and retrofits in owner-occupied homes, and
  • Engage in public outreach and education.

First, the County is building on existing efforts to revitalize neighborhoods by financing energy improvements in foreclosed homes that are undergoing rehabilitation. Twelve of these homes are part of the EarthCraft Single Family Renovations Program, which aims to reduce energy use in rehabilitated homes by a minimum of 30%. The County is collecting annual energy usage data from homebuyers who participate in the program.

Second, the County is promoting energy efficiency retrofits in owner-occupied homes. Homeowners can apply to obtain energy audits and energy efficiency improvement cost estimates. Up to twelve low- and moderate-income households will receive financing for the recommended retrofits.

Finally, the County will promote the program's benefits through outreach and education initiatives. Elected officials, County staff, and County public access television station broadcasts will promote the rehabilitation and financing initiatives. The County will also hold open houses at rehabilitated homes to share the energy efficiency benefits of retrofits and opportunities to access resources. A webpage will highlight the program and other conservation efforts. The page will provide resources such as a simplified explanation of assessing home energy performance and ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The program will achieve direct GHG reductions through energy efficiency improvements, provide support to an economically stressed area of the county, and improve the housing stock. This affordable housing program is a key component of James City County's ongoing efforts to build a coalition of citizens, businesses, and local government that work together to promote energy efficiency and improve quality of life.

Community Characteristics

Population: 50,000
Area: 144 square miles
Government Type: County
Community Type: Suburban
Median Household Income: $46,000 in targeted area

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of September 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 73.7 mt CO2e 91 mt CO2e
Annual Electricity Savings 40.8 MWh 126 MWh
Annual Economic Savings $6,775 $25,000
Homes Retrofitted 33 44

Program Websites

Media Coverage

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