EnergySavvy Raises $1.1 Million To Match Up Green Contractors, Rebates And Homeowners
Seattle startup, EnergySavvy, closed a $1.1 million series-a investment according to the company’s founder and chief executive Aaron Goldfeder. EnergySavvy’s site and service motivates homeowners to reduce their power consumption through retrofit-variety improvements.
NorthWest Energy Angels led the round, joined by several investors in the Pacific Northwest, including Geoff Entress, Andy Liu, and aQuantive alumni Mike Galgon and Karl Siebrecht (the latter two are on EnergySavvy’s board).
The company’s consumer-facing website EnergySavvy.com asks users about their homes, and generates suggestions as to which type of improvements will help them save the most energy. It also guides them to rebates and other incentives for green homes, which are typically provided through government programs and power companies. Finally, the site links potential customers with qualified contractors in the area who would be able to implement recommended home improvements.
Contractors certified as residential energy efficiency experts pay to be listed, and pay for lead generation through the site. Goldfeder would not comment on the average number of customer leads a contractor can expect for his or her money, but said listings would cost $50 for initiation, then between $10 and $60 per referral, depending on the nature of the project.
EnergySavvy is web-only thus far. The company has developed proprietary databases and detailed maps of programs, contractors and utility rates, which it crosses with location data from end users’ IP addresses or routers to generate focused, local results without the aid of GPS technology.
EnergySavvy recently struck a marketing agreement with The Building Performance Institute, which bills itself as “a national standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work.” That group’s silver- and gold-level certified contractors can initiate a complimentary listing on EnergySavvy.com.
Government and utility programs can also buy and adapt EnergySavvy’s audit tool for their own websites, using it to encourage residents and customers to take advantage of their programs (see: screenshot below). Competition for EnergySavvy could come from a range of other environmental and home improvement sites.
EcoRebates.com and FreeCleanSolar.com both offer audit tools, and serve contractors or retailers who want to sell more “green” products and services. Angie’s List offers listings and reviews of “eco friendly” contractors. The non-commercial site DSIREUSA lists state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In March, President Obama endorsed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, “a program of incentives for homeowners who make energy efficiency investments in their homes,” referred to casually as Homestar, or “cash for caulkers.”
The House passed a version of the bill, which is currently scheduled for Senate review and is part of the Clean Energy Jobs And Oil Accountability Act of 2010. While it is not likely to pass, Goldfeder believes, the two-year program to create energy efficient homes could prove a boon to his company and its ilk.
Jeff Genzer of the National Association of State Energy Officials explained in an NPR report earlier this year: the $6 billion of incentives for things like caulking and insulation would create 160,000 new jobs in the building sector, while helping reduce residential energy consumption in the U.S. which represents 40 percent of the nation’s overall energy consumption.
Goldfeder said his company plans to use its new found capital to hire up to 10 more employees in 2011, to enter new markets â€” with or without a lift from Homestar â€” and to create calendaring tools that make it easier for contractors and homeowners to connect. EnergySavvy, he noted, is “a stone’s throw from profitability.”
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