Energy efficiency is something that’s quickly becoming desired in all houses, regardless of their age. Low-income communities, however, have found it difficult to get this much-needed service. But that’s when Black-owned BlocPower comes in.
According to TechCrunch, the New York City-based company, which recently raised $63 million in equity and debt financing, has a unique solution to this problem.
By creating jobs that retrofit these old buildings with energy efficiency — founder, Donnel Baird sees a two-fold benefit.
“At BlocPower our view is that we could build software to simulate using government records… we could simulate enough about the mechanicals, electrical and plumbing across buildings in NYC so that we could avoid that cost,” he said to TechCrunch.
— Turn Buildings Into Teslas ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (@DBaird13) February 22, 2021
Baird, who created the company while he was studying at Columbia University’s business school, said that he’s aware that the “greening” of buildings didn’t work because it didn’t solve the technical problems of actually implementing the buildings in the first place (to put it another way: where was it all going to fit?).
BlocPower, however, cleverly realized that it could apply for retrofit financing through the Department of Energy — which is precisely what they did in 2014. Thus far, they’ve retrofitted more than 1,000 buildings in New York City, and are expanding their reach to Chicago and Oakland, as well.
Baird also said that BlocPower anticipates a further windfall if the current stimulus package winding its way through Congress finally gets passed, especially given the $1 billion carved out for weatherization and building upgrades in the infrastructure part of the package.
But, he said, the key is to ultimately push for the “greening” of buildings.
“In Oakland, we’re doing a pilot project in 12 low-income buildings. I sent them $20,000 to train these workers from local people of color in Oakland… they are being put to work in Oakland,” Baird said. “That’s the model for how this gets built. So now we need them to call Chuck Schumer to push him to the left on green building legislation.”