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.”
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