Congratulations for making it through 2020, everyone. I’m claiming it!
And thank you, everyone, for your continued commitment to Edict's mission to bring measurable progress in diversity and inclusion to clean tech. Many of you have responded with ideas for connections and resources. Thank you for being an enthusiastic part of this effort!
We envision this to be a community of practice
Your response to our launch this past summer has fueled our dedication this past fall to finding a home for this movement that can catalyze Edict into a community of practice where we will take action together, support each other on implementation, and track progress along the way.
Our vision is for this to be a fully functioning community of practice for our companies to share information and build on each others’ knowledge as we operationalize what it takes to build a diverse workforce at our startups.
Edict’s new home: Elemental Excelerator
While we’re still looking for funding partners so that we can staff this effort, we have news to share with more info to come in the new year! In partnership with Elemental Excelerator, through their Equity & Access track, we will move forward with Edict as a new community of practice for any 'climate-tech company' working across energy, food/ag, mobility, water, and circular economy. The mission of Elemental's Equity & Access track is to leverage climate startups for social equity and we're excited to operationalize this through this new initiative.
One small ask: Can you host an intern next year?
As with all things, Edict will continue to evolve. Pending funding for staff, our first initiative will be in partnership with the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) internship placement in 2021. Through this program,CELI will recruit and provide cohort support, mentorship, and clean energy training to prospective interns throughout their placement. More on this soon.
In the meantime, we’re assembling a list of companies to help us in our funding conversations. Our goals:
Hope this winter holiday allows time to rest & re-energize,
Devin & the Elemental team
UtilityAPI is a mission-driven company. And that mission is fighting climate change. Likewise for WeRenew, a platform that uses UtilityAPI data to include more people in this work. We’re proud to share their story, and to power the efforts of the 70% of you — property owners or renters, low income/underserved communities as well as your wealthier neighbors — who share this mission with us.
Fifteen years ago, the science on climate change was clear. We just needed to get the policies worked out to fix it. Fast forward to now. Spoiler alert: not fixed.
Good people are still working on the important policies. We need.those policies. But have you ever wondered what else people who cared could do to help? You’re in good company. The 2009 Yale Climate Change Communication Study found that 70% of Americans are concerned about climate change. But they don't know what to do about it. There’s a gap between the amount the public is interested in climate change and their knowledge of how to start solving it.
Lisa Altieri, who had 20 years experience organizing and protesting on behalf of climate and the environment outside of her day jobs, chose to wade into that gap as a full-time job. And to try to close it. “I decided to stop arguing with climate change deniers and instead, go talk to the 70% who wanted to do something.” She built WeRenew.net, a free online platform available to all — individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, counties, cities — to give all those people who wanted to do something a place to start.
Her background in community organizing told her that any solution would work better if users worked in groups — teams of households, cities, businesses, Girl Scout troops. WeRenew also allows groups to compete against one another, if they so choose.
But how much impact can individual people taking action in concert with their friends, neighbors and community members make? Quite a lot, actually. 40% of the emissions that impact climate change come from five things we do or use every day:
The great news is that now, we have affordable solutions for all five of them, which was not true as recently as 5-10 years ago. If only people knew… cue Altieri and WeRenew.
Altieri’s goal was to produce a platform that everyone could use, not just those wealthy enough to be able to afford expensive or complicated solutions. WeRenew generates options for people based on their own priorities, not hers. For example, which do they want more: to save money or to have a greater impact? How much upfront cost can they shoulder? How much effort can they put into the solutions (a little, some, or a lot)?
But before WeRenew can work its magic, users first must make the choice on whether or not to add their utility data. When they do, they get a customized energy profile and customized suggestions for sustainability, reducing their impact, and their energy baseline. Where does the data to generate those profiles come from? UtilityAPI, of course!
“Customers LOVE this,” Altieri shares. “And it’s so easy for them to do it. Then they get custom-recommended actions based on their goals.”
Altieri is adamant that WeRenew is not just a toy for the wealthy. “We value low income and underserved frontline communities, too, including renters. Renters are able to control between 70-80% of their emissions, so they really matter. You get to pick your goals and your level of involvement and spending. The average household will save between $1-3K per year, while improving health and air quality. So there’s a lot of value for all levels of interest.”
Do you have a great story about how your company uses UtilityAPI data? Would you like us to profile your company or feature you in a case study? We'd love to hear about it.
Share your story with us and we'll enter you in our monthly drawing to win a UtilityAPI "share data, not germs" 100% cotton face mask.
Customers are eager to fight climate change, starting in their own homes. Fort Collins Utilities, a municipal utility, gives its customers and contractors the easy, secure, authorized access to high quality energy data that they'll need to do it.
Getting a quote for a solar installation, electric vehicle charger or energy efficiency upgrade has typically been an exercise in frustration for both customers and contractors alike. But last month, Fort Collins Utilities launched MyData, an innovative project with UtilityAPI that will make starting clean energy projects quicker and easier for everyone involved.
The response from local energy solution providers and other users has been immediate and impressive. Following a soft launch in early fall, over a dozen companies have already signed up to use MyData in their businesses. Janelle McGill a “green” Realtor and consultant, is one of them.
“As a Realtor that specializes in selling homes with solar, [...] I need the utility records to properly market properties and truthfully illustrate the benefits. In the past, it was cumbersome for my clients to get the information I needed. This portal makes the process faster, as well as accurate. It was easy to sign up and it is easy to request utility data for my clients. It is a clever solution,” said McGill.
Most of MyData’s users will be clean energy contractors. Every clean energy project needs good energy data in order to happen. Previously, even if a customer authorized access to their utility billing and usage data, the data often took days, weeks or even months to arrive. And if/when it did arrive, it was often in an unusable form or missing key information. Solution providers had to rely on old energy bills or make large investments in software or staff time to decipher customer data — at times, as much as 6 extra staff hours per job.
This can be particularly hard for small, local businesses that may not have the resources for this extra effort. Customers, whose clean energy projects became more expensive, were unhappy to bear those costs. And it was also problematic for Fort Collins, who didn’t want to act as a data intermediary between their own customers and those customers’ chosen contractors. MyData promises to fix everyone’s data problems. It will streamline the data process by providing instant, authorized and secure access to standardized energy data. It will also level the playing field for all service providers to participate in the market equally, which has taken on a new importance at this difficult time, when businesses are struggling to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
“The ability to seamlessly share energy data is crucial to developing the future of the energy sector,” said UtilityAPI CEO Devin Hampton. “Fort Collins’ MyData is not just a ‘one-off’ thing. They’re leading the way for other municipal utilities. They’re using UtilityAPI’s data sharing tools to make the energy projects their customers want happen easier and faster. We look forward to replicating the success of this innovative service with other utilities across the country.”
Fort Collins Utilities long-serving Energy Services Manager, John Phelan, identified the potential for secure data sharing to ease the clean energy transition in Fort Collins. “We recognized the importance of streamlining our information processes to support customers and their selected contractors. UtilityAPI’s solutions help us to do this while improving our data privacy, security and record keeping,” said Phelan.
As an innovative municipal utility, Fort Collins understands that smoothing the path to local clean energy projects will help the local community and Colorado achieve the deep cuts to carbon emissions that are needed to make a significant impact on the climate crisis. Customers are eager to fight climate change (and save money while they’re doing it). Now, thanks to MyData, it’s even easier.
All blog posts are to help UtilityAPI users connect with their customers and successfully collect their utility data.