Business

BlocPower is strongly fueled by Microsoft to convert old buildings to green energy


In a four-story apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, a very small company is working on a very big idea: Electrify every building in the United States by renting out to homeowners the equipment they need to function. show the conversion process.

BlocPower is a Brooklyn-based startup that has “greened” more than 1,200 buildings in New York City and has similar projects in two dozen other cities. It uses a rental-to-own platform, providing homeowners and homeowners with green heating and cooling systems, electrical appliances, and solar panels. It installs equipment and manages its maintenance. Landlords make monthly payments to cover those costs and provide a return to investors.

The company reports that it has reduced building energy costs by 30% to 50% and greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 70% in current projects. It says it can reduce U.S. greenhouse gases by up to 25% in 10 years and recover up to 30% of the millions of dollars in wasted energy.

“I know what’s inside these buildings, right? And so I can see investment opportunities,” said BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird, who grew up in Brooklyn. “My job as a CEO is to make it transparent to potential investors about climate.”

“We’re going to reduce the amount of oil and gas and fossil fuels these buildings consume, reducing the emissions they produce,” Baird said. “We’re going to save the building owners money and hey, you’re actually going to make 10% of a financial return by investing in these buildings.”

BlocPower is electrifying this building in Brooklyn, NY

Lisa Rizzolo | CNBC

In the basement of a Brooklyn building, Baird walks through a network of old electrical wires and obsolete systems being pulled out, including antique boilers and carbon emissions pipelines.

“We looked at this and we said, ‘Oh my God, that’s like a great opportunity to save the planet and make some money by focusing on what’s down here, doesn’t it? Baird said.

BlocPower leases equipment for about 10 or 15 years, and once enough money has been collected to return it to the investor and let BlocPower collect the fees, ownership of the equipment passes to the building owner.

The company behind the first plan of a US city – Ithaca, New York – is to be completely zero by 2030. It started with the city’s construction stock.

“When we started working together to develop this program, we realized it was possible,” said Luis Aguirre-Torres, sustainability director for the city of Ithaca. “You know, it’s not just about being the first city in the US, on the entire planet to be completely decarbonised. It’s really about showing that it’s possible.”

Aguirre-Torres said: “If you work in climate change, you think this is possible; “And the reality is that the technology wasn’t there a few years ago and the financial innovation required wasn’t a few years ago.”

Early BlocPower backers include Andreessen Horowitz, Exelon, American Family Insurance, Schmidt Family Foundation, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment, Kapor Capital and Sales force. Then, in January, it received a large debt from Microsoft, bringing its total funding to around $100 billion. It also just received a $5 million grant from the Bezos Earth Foundation to digitally map some 125 million buildings across the US so each of those buildings will have a free plan on how to become sustainable. environmentally sustainable.

The company is currently in talks with several cities in California, New York, Massachusetts and Georgia to decarbonize.



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