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BlocPower gets big infusion from Microsoft to convert old buildings to green energy


One small firm is trying to transform a Brooklyn four-story apartment tower into a beacon of hope. It leases landlords all the equipment they need in order to power up the building.

BlocPower, a Brooklyn start-up has “greened” more than 1200 New York City buildings and similar projects in dozens of other cities. The company offers landlords and homeowners green heating, cooling, solar panels, and electric appliances through a “lease-to-own” platform. It manages equipment maintenance and installation. The landlords pay monthly rent which covers these costs, and offers investors return.

It claims it can reduce building energy costs up to 30%- 50%, and greenhouse gas emissions from current projects by 40-70%. According to the company, it will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions up to 25% over 10 years. It also claims that 30% of energy wasted can be recovered.

I know the inside of these buildings. BlocPower CEO Donnel Bailey, who was born in Brooklyn, said that he can therefore see the opportunity for investment. As a CEO, my job is to communicate it to climate investors.

Baird explained that the buildings will use less oil, gas, and other fossil fuels and reduce emissions. By investing in these buildings, we’ll save building owners money and you can actually make 10 percent financial returns.

BlocPower electrifies this Brooklyn building, NY

Lisa Rizzolo | CNBC

Baird navigated through the basement of the Brooklyn Building’s Brooklyn building, navigating through an array of outdated wiring and systems being removed, such as boilers and carbon emitting gas lines.

This is what we see and think: “What a fantastic opportunity to save our planet and make some extra money by keeping our eyes on the things down there.” Baird stated.

BlocPower leases out the equipment for about 10-15 years. Once enough money is collected from investors to cover its costs and BlocPower has received its fees, ownership of the equipment will be transferred to the property owner. 

The company is behind the first plan by a U.S. city — Ithaca, New York — to be entirely net zero by 2030. It will start with the existing city buildings.

Luis Aguirre Torres, Ithaca’s sustainability director, said, “When we began working together towards the development of this program, it was possible.” You know that it is not about becoming the first major city on the planet to completely decarbonize. It’s about showing it is possible.

Aguirre Torres stated, “If you work on climate change you believe this is possible. You are constantly thinking of ways you can make an impact on it.” And the truth is that technology was not available several years ago, and that financial innovation required to make it work wasn’t possible a few year ago.

Exelon (American Family Insurance), Exelon, Exelon, American Family Insurance and the Schmidt Family Foundation were some of the early BlocPower supporters. Goldman SachsUrban Investment, Kapor Capital Salesforce. In January, it received a large debt infusion. MicrosoftThis brings its total funding up to around $100 billion. The Bezos Earth Fund just awarded a $5million grant to help digitally map approximately 125,000,000 buildings in America. Each building will receive a plan on how to be environmentally sustainable.

To decarbonize, the company has been in negotiations with many cities across California, New York and Massachusetts.