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This week, the Bezos Earth Fund announced a new $ 443 million donation to various climate and environmental groups. This includes a $ 5.5 million grant to BlocPower, an energy efficiency technology startup focused on the construction and refurbishment of urban buildings.
Bloc Power, a CNBC Disruptor 50 company, has so far completed 1,000 green energy projects in New York City. We plan to use Bezos grants to add 125 million buildings and additional cities to the BlocMaps software database. This database identifies buildings that require energy efficiency upgrades and helps building owners learn how to electrify and decarbonize their buildings.
This year, BlocPower will also launch a WiFi service that provides free internet to low-income areas, letting BlocPower check the energy usage of the area. This can lead to potential energy savings of 20% to 70% per year for customers.
Founded in 2014 and based in Brooklyn, BlocPower focuses on a business model that combines the traditional construction and engineering sectors with climate technology, increasing investment opportunities in poorly serviced communities. Driven by a green and social justice mission, BlocPower says its energy-efficient approach pays off in many of New York’s underprivileged communities by increasing the value of buildings and lowering the cost of operating them. Other projects are underway in 24 additional cities in the United States.
In a statement released this week’s grant, Andrew Stair, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bezos Earth Fund, said, “The Bezos Earth Fund’s goals face the challenges posed by this decisive decade. It ’s about helping transformation agents. ” “Through these grants, we are promoting climate justice and nature maintenance. These are two areas that require stronger action.”
In August, Microsoft launched a solar energy project in collaboration with Volt Energy, a black-owned solar energy development company. It aims to bring employment and clean energy projects to neglected urban communities and tech giants with the goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2025.
Donnel Baird, founder and CEO of BlocPower, told CNBC earlier this year that the level of interest from commercial buildings has “rised” in terms of sustainability upgrades and energy efficiency. He estimates that 100 million buildings across the United States waste $ 100 billion annually on fossil fuels. “There are significant savings that can be introduced,” he said. And as people return to work, Mr. Baird said the impact on air quality and building health will be more closely monitored by workers.
In November, BlocPower began working with Ithaca, New York. It was the first US municipality to put into operation a 100% decarbonization program, and the first phase focused on the power usage of 1,000 homes and 600 commercial buildings. ..
Baird told CNBC in August that as a diverse energy founder, he directly saw in funding that the energy sector and the venture capital world remained prejudiced.
“After George Floyd, many Silicon Valley companies need to look in the mirror and invest in more diverse entrepreneurs and more diverse companies,” Baird told CNBC. “But I haven’t seen much progress here.”
He says that many large companies also need to change the way they invest in climate. Companies need to invest in renewable energy credits in the streets of Chicago, Seattle, and low-income communities, rather than the less accountable Brazilian rainforests.
BlocPower has received $ 50 million in venture investments from Kapor Capital, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and others, and has successfully raised funds during the pandemic.
Baird said business leaders have a moral and ethical obligation to invest in green infrastructure, but companies, including Goldman Sachs, are for low-income communities because of their return on investment. He added that he has invested $ 50 million in his green building business model. “They aren’t doing it for public relations because it’s a great story and they’re going to make money,” Baird said.
BlocPower grants are related to the Justice 40 Initiative. This is a US effort to provide underprivileged communities with at least 40% of the overall benefits of federal investment in climate and clean energy. According to the Bezos Earth Fund, a total of $ 130 million has been awarded to promote the Justice40 initiative, and 18 organizations focused on BlocPower and other climates have been awarded.
Lauren Sanchez, Vice-Chair of the Bezos Earth Fund, said: “With each of our grants, we support key institutions working with the community to drive climate justice efforts.”
Bezos Climate Fund Dons Millions of Dollars To Energy Startup BlocPower
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