BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based climate technology start-up, is on a mission to bring green power to urban and low-income buildings. Founded in 2012 by Donnel Baird, the company has already helped 1,100 New York low-income buildings get clean energy.
The company recently raised $63 million in funding, which Baird hopes to use to expand his business plan to other cities across the US, including Philadelphia, Oakland, and Milwaukee.
According to The Washington Post, Baird, 40, was inspired to start BlocPower after his own lived experiences growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Fusing climate, economic, and racial justice together, Baird and BlocPower works by changing fossil fuel-run cooling and heating systems with energy efficient, greener energy options.
Environmental justice has continued to make headlines in recent years as the realities of climate change exacerbate the lasting-impact of discriminatory practices like redlining, leaving Black and low-income communities vulnerable.
Families who are served by BlocPower’s work have their energy use audited by the company first, to see what specific technologies would save them the most in utility bills. Investors recoup their funding by receiving a portion of the savings a building sees after installing greener power sources.
Baird even reportedly worked with cities to financially expand as he demonstrates how his business helps them meet their energy reduction goals. He also included a jobs training program within his business model to ensure the project would continue to generate benefits for the communities served.
Through his work, families are seeing real savings, fifteen percent, on their utility bills, a church has a working air conditioner and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by seventy percent.
“We can create and build a new industry in these neighborhoods,” Baird told The Post. “And they can own it and control it and build wealth by saving the planet.”
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