Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance Announces New Board Officers and Advisory Committee Members

ATLANTA, GA – The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) today announced new officers for the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors and three new members for its Advisory Committee.

“We are thrilled to welcome our 2023 Executive Committee and Advisory Committee members,” said Aimee Skrzekut, SEEA president. “Their expertise and leadership in the energy efficiency sector and in the Southeast will help us continue to work towards a region that is a healthier, more resilient and a more affordable place to live.”

New Executive Committee members begin their two-year teams on January 1, 2023. The new committee members are:

  • Chair: Joe Gehrdes, Director, Community Relations, Huntsville Utilities
  • Vice Chair: Sybil Montegut, Vice President of Enterprise Analytics and Innovation, Cleco
  • Secretary: Lauren Casentini, CEO, Resource Innovations

New Advisory Committee members begin their 1-year terms on January 1, 2023. The new committee members are:

  • Mandy Faulk, Director, CLEAResult
  • Lisa Manuel, Project Manager, Advanced Energy
  • Mitchell Simpson, Director, Arkansas Energy Office

About SEEA

Questions? Contact Sarah Burgher, senior marketing and communications manager.

Happy Heat Pump Water Heater Day!

Maggie Kelley Riggins

Today is the first-ever Heat Pump Water Heater Day, dedicated to heat pump water heater (HPWH) education and awareness. Join us on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram) using the hashtag #HeatPumpItUp to share your HPWH resources, products, cost information, professional practices, projects, and insights on why you think this is a game changing technology.

High performance building technology is a key piece to accelerating the growth of efficient energy in the Southeast. Heat pump water heaters provide exceptional support for households and businesses across the region. Their design and function make them especially useful in the Southeast’s hot and humid climate as they move heat from the surrounding space into the hot water tank. Water heating accounts for a large share of energy use in buildings—up to 32% in single-family and multifamily homes. Decreasing the amount of energy used to heat water with a HPWH decreases utility bills while maintaining on-demand hot water needed for daily life.

On average, HPWHs have higher initial costs than traditional electric-resistance water heaters used in approximately 68% of southeastern homes. However, there are federal, state, and utility rebates to offset the purchase cost available now and more coming in 2023. When those investments are combined with energy savings, the incremental increase in cost can quickly be recaptured. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, home and building owners can expect to see tax-credits of up to $2,000 and income-qualified rebates of $1,750 for the purchase and installation of Heat Pump Water Heaters.

Increasing the use of HPWH technology is critical in the pursuit of equitable electrification and ensuring everyone has access to affordable energy. Hot water is integral to daily life, and all people deserve to have affordable, safe hot water. Because nearly all homes use a water heater and they will all likely need to be replaced by 2035, Heat Pump Water Heaters are an ideal appliance for reducing energy use, carbon emissions and utility bills. Alleviating upfront costs, building awareness and developing a more knowledgeable workforce are critical for the widespread adoption of HPWHs.

SEEA is working to increase the adoption of Heat Pump Water Heaters in the Southeast. We are a proud supporting member of the Advanced Water Heating Initiative, where we strive to lift up voices, needs and innovation in the region. SEEA is also partnering with AZS Consulting in FL and Viridiant in VA on the Advanced Energy Ready Workforce Southeast project to develop technical expertise, improve customer comfort, lower energy costs and advance economic growth in the region.

If you are interested in learning more about our work on buildings and advanced technologies, contact Maggie Kelley Riggins, senior program manager.

Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance Announces Inaugural Summit Awards Winners

ATLANTA, GA – The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) today announced the winners of the inaugural Summit Awards – The Peak Award for Excellence in Leadership, the Luminary Award for Pursuing Energy Equity and the Vanguard Award for Innovation in Efficient Energy. The Summit Awards recognize individuals and organizations forging a more equitable, efficient energy future in the Southeast.

Summit Awards Committee Chair and SEEA Board Secretary, Angela Strickland, said, “there has never been a more important time to recognize advances in efficient energy in the Southeast. We are excited to spotlight the leaders, advocates and innovators in the region who are moving us forward.”

The award winners are as follows:

The Vanguard Award for Innovation in Efficient Energy – Cobb EMC

At its best, efficient energy is a holistic approach to the generation, distribution and utilization of energy that maximizes social benefit and promotes prosperity. Efficient energy includes programs to optimize energy use in residential and commercial buildings, zero- and low-emission transportation and advanced technology. Innovation in efficient energy is characterized by a new method, technology or idea that has resulted in a net-new advancement in efficient energy. This award recognizes an outstanding organization or program that has championed an innovative approach to efficient energy in the Southeast.

Cobb EMC is a not-for-profit cooperative electric utility located in Marietta, GA. They serve 190,000 members in their service territory. Their Energy Network Program incentivizes their members to make energy efficiency and smart technology improvements in their homes. You can learn more about

The Luminary Award for Pursuing Energy Equity – EZ Green Home

Energy equity is measured by the presence of an inclusive decision-making process, the equitable distribution of both the costs and advantages of energy use to the entire community, accounting for historic prejudice and inequality and a view of how future generations will be impacted by choices made today. This award celebrates the accomplishments of an outstanding organization or program that has made significant strides in pursuing energy equity by sharing in the benefits and burdens of the energy transition regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender or geographic location. Benefits of an equitable energy transition include greater access to efficient energy technologies, a more diverse workforce, healthier buildings and people, more resilient buildings and a more vibrant economy for all.

EZ Green Home partners with energy providers in Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois and Mississippi to help customers become more energy conscious and save money on their monthly utility bills. Since 2013, EZ Green Home has helped more than 100,000 homeowners see significant reductions in their monthly energy consumption. Learn more at

The Peak Award for Excellence in Leadership – Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC

Leadership is a multifaceted quality that creates a clarity of mission, an environment which encourages innovation at all levels of an organization, empowers others within the organization and in the community. This award is given to an exceptional individual who demonstrates leadership in the efficient energy sector, considering greater energy efficiency, low- and zero-emission transportation, equitable energy benefits and burdens, and the advancement of the community at large.

Since 2015, Chelsea Harnish has overseen all VAEEC operations and strategic initiatives including program, policy, communications, membership and events. Chelsea regularly engages with decision makers, partners and members that help advance energy efficiency policy and programs that will help grow the industry throughout the commonwealth. Learn more at

Winners were announced today as a part of the 2022 Southeast Energy Summit. SEEA president, Aimee Skrzekut, said, “These opportunities to advance new technologies, create better low-income programming, establish a diverse energy workforce, and prepare a more resilient Southeast have never been greater than they are right now.”

Questions? Contact Sarah Burgher, senior marketing and communications manager.