To optimize the use and impact of energy to enhance the quality of life in the Southeast.
All people in the Southeast live and work in healthy and resilient buildings, utilize clean and affordable transportation, and thrive in a robust and equitable economy.
We take responsibility for realizing a better quality of life in the Southeast.
We pursue our work with benevolence, competence and reliability.
We seek, respect and promote diverse perspectives.
Pursue Equitable Solutions
We recognize, acknowledge and account for a history of prejudice and inequality in southeastern communities.
When I joined SEEA as president in April 2021, I experienced a whirlwind of excitement and progress despite navigating a global pandemic and many other challenges. The tremendous dedication, talent, and tenacity of the SEEA board, staff and wider community allowed us to develop innovative, energy-efficient strategies andresources that directly impact the lives of all people living in the Southeast.Over the last two years, I have been privileged to champion many regional successes, pursue ambitious projects with the SEEA team, and to celebrate 15 years of progress at the Southeast Energy Summit. We also launched the inaugural Summit Awards to applaud innovation and impact by regional trailblazers.
Together, we are on the cusp of a historic investment in energy efficiency. We are relying on every member of our community to propel the region forward in energy-efficient technology, buildings, programs, policy, and transportation. We envision a future where everyone lives, works, and plays in buildings as healthy as they are resilient, where everyone has access to clean and affordable transportation and a region where efficient energy is used as a resource to build a vibrant and just economy for all. Join us as we work to turn this vision into a reality.
“SEEA recognizes that energy efficiency can be an effective way to address a range of issues,” said Huiet Joseph, director of energy conservation for Cox Enterprises. “These include reducing poverty, enhancing housing quality and affordability, accelerating regional economic development, and creating new markets for advanced technologies and services. SEEA uses numerous means and is crucial in supporting stakeholders and advancing equitable energy efficiency solutions in the Southeast.”
Finding New Ways to Connect and Engage
In response to the challenges of the pandemic, we adjusted to meet the needs of the region, and found new ways to reach our members and stakeholders.
In the absence of our annual conference, we pivoted tactics and created The Path Forward webinar series in late 2020,
which provided two days of innovative conversations, roundtables and working sessions devoted to charting a course for the future of efficient energy in the Southeast. Following the success of The Path Forward, our team produced more member-led webinars, blogs and virtual meeting options for members and stakeholders than ever before. The pandemic brought many challenges, but it also provided an opportunity for us to develop new strategies that have allowed us to engage more people across more channels.
In 2022, we were thrilled to return to in-person gatherings at the Southeast Energy Summit in Atlanta, GA. During this three-and-half-day event we brought together over 260 senior decision-makers, utility leaders, regulators, program managers, entrepreneurs, and advocates from across the energy sector. In addition to expert-led presentations, motivating speakers and joyful camaraderie, we also held our first Summit Awards Lunch where we recognized the individuals and organizations forging a more equitable, energy-efficient Southeast.
Making an Impact in the Region
Number of funded projects by state
3 - Regional
4 - Regional
Researching the Roots
of Energy Insecurity
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Working Towards a Brighter Future in Virginia
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Readying the Clean
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Driving Electric Vehicle Adoption Forward
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Researching the Roots of Energy Insecurity
In 2021, we expanded our work in the intersection of energy, health and equity. An important component of this expansion was developing a dedicated research team. This newly created team develops innovative research products that tell stories about why energy efficiency is necessary while providing nuanced and actionable data analysis. Our products help identify the most effective programs and policies, particularly for communities disproportionately affected by energy burden, climate change and pollution.
In May 2021, the research team published its first interactive ArcGIS StoryMap which explores the historical roots and current dimensions of energy insecurity in the South. This report has been presented on 24 separate occasions and viewed more than 2,000 times by utilities, federal agencies, policymakers, advocates and other energy stakeholders. In 2020, prior to publishing Energy Insecurity in the South, we began a joint project with the Texas Energy Poverty Research Institute (TEPRI). Funded by the Educational Foundation of America (EFA), we researched dimensions of energy equity in our 11-state region and Texas. This project produced a geospatial dashboard that provides data on the state of energy equity across 12 states as well as a framework to guide multiple stakeholder types in equitable decision-making. With continued funding from EFA, the project team is using these research resources to engage communities in south Texas and the Alabama Black Belt and to secure federal funding for weatherization and clean energy for the entire region. In 2021, we completed a project with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Florida that showed the impacts of energy insecurity and potential for clean energy jobs for residents of rural Florida.
The Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) is a nonprofit, member-owned electric utility headquartered in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 2021, SEEA proudly partnered with REC to develop and implement the first tariffed on-bill program in Virginia. The Vividly Brighter Upgrades program enabled REC’s residential member-owners to finance energy efficient upgrades to their homes through their electric bill. Under the program, REC covers the upfront cost of eligible upgrades and member owners repay the cost through monthly installments added to their electric bill. The program’s goal is to significantly lower participants energy usage and overall electric bill, even with the additional charges.
SEEA worked with REC program staff to develop the community engagement process, assisted identifying and reaching out to stakeholders, designed and led meetings, and documented stakeholder conversations. REC hosted three stakeholder sessions in 2021 that covered the proposed program design, consumer protections and vendor partners. Stakeholders provided feedback to ensure the program met their needs. The Vividly Brighter Upgrades program proposal was unanimously approved by their board of directors in December 2021 and REC launched the program in August 2022.
Readying the Clean Energy Workforce
The Viridiant Virginia Energy Code Training project identified opportunities to make a significant change in residential energy savings within two to three years in Virginia through workforce education, outreach and training.
Funds provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) allowed for the education and training of two key audiences in the building industry, building energy code implementers and enforcers. Training and resources were developed for each audience. The project work ultimately encompassed the Virginia Residential Energy Circuit Rider Program.
Established a key partnership with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
Targeted outreach to state building departments to secure locations and sponsors for energy code trainings and to gathering interest in the circuit rider program.
Delivered training and resources through in two and four hour modules, online courses and conferences.
Measured training efficacy through surveys after each in-person and live webinar training.
More than 6,000 building code officials, home builders, and HVAC contractors across Virginia attended the Viridiant Virginia Energy Code Trainings.
The impact of these trainings can reach up to 33,000 newly constructed single and multifamily units annually, greatly expanding the availability of more healthy and efficient homes. At the state level, Virginia is revising its state energy plan where building codes are a significant contributor tomeeting compliance goals. The training modules and resources continue to be hosted on the Commonwealth of Virginia Learning Center andother stakeholder sites.
The Southeast leads in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing investment and job creation, however EV sales and charging station deployment lag. A coalition of businesses created the Southeast Electric Transportation Regional Initiative (SETRI) to accelerate the growth of transportation electrification in the region through policies and actions that advance the EV market and associated infrastructure in the region. SEEA is a founding member of SETRI alongside nearly sixty additional signatories.
SETRI is a voluntary, nonpartisan independent electric transportation market development collaboration that includes vehicle manufacturers, charging station providers, supply chain companies, electric utilities, fleet manager, universities, Clean Cities coalitions, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. By focusing on efficient energy in the Southeast, SETRI is working to increase electric vehicle infrastructure and reduce emissions from internal combustion vehicles.
SETRI has four major goals:
Promote regional EV market development.
Conduct education and outreach to consumers and decision-makers.
Coordinate state electrification efforts and university research.
Collaborate with transportation electrification efforts outside the Southeast.
At a time when the federal government is increasing investment in electric vehicle infrastructure, state and local collaborations on electric transportation initiatives are growing, and economic growth investment from automotive, charging infrastructure, and electric utility are surging across the Southeast. In late 2021, SETRI submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration and is poised to aid the energy transformation across the region.
SEEA member, Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), is on a mission to help rebuild and empower underserved communities by financing affordable, energy-efficient property improvements in low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods. They believe their work creates a positive impact by improving people’s health and safety while reducing energy costs and emissions.
When the pandemic hit, they weren’t sure what the impact would be on their business. Since 2020, demand has increased, even in LMI neighborhoods, and they experienced all-time lending records.
SELF’s unique model relies on building relationships with existing contractors in LMI communities to support local businesses and establish trust. They reduce barriers for both local contractors and homeowners by eliminating fees for contractors and providing unsecured loans based the loan on the homeowners financial background and ability to pay, not their assets alone.
SELF is based in Florida and have recently opened offices in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina and Tennessee and are working to build a strong contractor network throughout the Southeast.
Support Our Work
For 15 years, SEEA has brought together key stakeholders from across the energy sector to build connections, explore innovative program solutions and plan for a more prosperous region. Your support enables us to continue to build a brighter future for people living in the Southeast.
We provide research and contextualized analysis on regional issues.
We plan, develop, organize and manage execution of structured processes that help teams make progress towards their goals.
We offer technical knowledge, market intelligence, strategic guidance, and education to help people solve problems, navigate change and increase impact.
We collaborate with partners to devise and manage energy programs and service models. Our financial services expand capital to other organizations to support needed investment and innovative pilot projects.