Although there are many clearinghouses for consumers to learn more about energy efficiency measures and how to incorporate cleantech in the building space, consumers still face a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to executing on a decision to introduce cleantech into their homes. Free tools on the Internet involve a great deal of assumptions regarding energy and the money savings resulting from home energy efficiency measures, such as changing appliances, introducing better insulation, or installing distributed wind or solar.
In the absence of using a LEED qualified architect to reduce the energy footprint of a home, services like Climafy appeal to “do-it-yourself” types who prefer to go at it alone (or on a budget). Normally, these homeowners would be able to rely on the expertise of a local hardware store, but since the return on investment for many building efficiency measures depends on the quality of the building (age, construction type), without knowing exactly the quality of the building, it’s difficult to make meaningful recommendations.
Three things make the Climafy service unique. First, it takes into account the quality of the building stock in an area by using data from public records to determine the age of properties. Second, it helps a user determine with a much higher degree of precision how long it will take for clean technologies and building efficiency measures to pay for themselves. Users can easily select more or fewer upgrades based on personal preference and the service includes information on available incentives. Finally, Climafy matches users with vendors and installers by letting homeowners submit RFPs to qualified contractors. Climafy’s revenue will come from the businesses who participate in the service.
Climafy and other services (such as One Block Off the Grid) give consumers more information on clean technologies and connect consumers with reputable and skilled installers. By reducing the amount of imperfect information in the marketplace, these types of services will accelerate the transition from supply-driven cleantech to demand-driven cleantech. Climafy is still refining its prototype product, but the premise is sound and users can experiment with the site and service options as the startup develops its service.