EnergySavvy Carves Out Cleantech Space, Focuses on Making Energy Retrofitting Easy

8/5/10

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efficiency rebates and tax credits, that will save both energy and money. Another unique aspect to the tool: it’s remarkably comprehensive, supplying homeowners with specified information based on everything from the region they live in, to the year their home was built.

“If you put in a Phoenix, AZ zip code, it’ll say you’re in the Arizona Power Services [territory], you’re in the city of Phoenix, you’re in whatever county it is there, the state of Arizona, and it’ll give you a list of the rebates that apply to you, which is useful because it’s hyperlocal, but at the same time national,” Shklovskii  says. “The [energy model] takes weather patterns into account, it takes building practices into account. So there are questions we don’t ask for homes in certain regions, because they don’t make sense. Like, for example, nobody up here would ever put a radiant barrier on their roof, whereas in New Mexico it’s actually fairly common.”

EnergySavvy then follows up with consumers who take the energy model survey, offering a lead generator referral service for contractors nationwide who provide various services in the energy retrofitting sector. The second prong of its business model revolves around the actual technology behind the energy model, which the startup turns around and sells as an embedded online tool for other energy efficiency companies to use.

“A lot of the technology that we have is very white label-able, and we can outsource it and let other people who are doing energy efficiency programs use our technology,” Shklovskii says. One example of this is a Boston-based company called Next Step Living, which offers provides home energy diagnostics and improvement services to residents in the greater New England area. The online energy estimator on its site is powered by EnergySavvy, and according to Shklovskii, it helps them attract leads and sift through potential customers to follow up with.

“On their website, as they drive traffic to it, people go through it, they qualify themselves. If somebody goes in and they go through the energy model, and it says hey, you’re 95 percent efficient, there’s not much we can do, Next Step Living doesn’t have to engage with that person,” he says. “As opposed to if somebody goes through the energy model and it says you’re 50 percent efficient, here’s all the stuff you can do. Next Step Living can come in and say hey, this is what we do—we’d love to help you. So that’s part of the service they’re buying from us.”

And so far, the site has gotten off to a good start. The startup has caught the attention of the Northwest Energy Angels, who have twice invited the group to present at events, including its annual summer showcase last month. On July 1, EnergySavvy rolled out its latest consumer interface project (still in the beginning stages) for Utah Home Performance, which uses the energy model tool to help homeowners across the state of Utah gauge their own energy efficiency. And though Shklovskii could not comment on the company’s financial status, or its membership numbers, he did say the energy estimator has seen remarkable user stats.

“We’ve had incredibly high completion rates for people that start the energy model—tons and tons get through it. The actual numbers are just ridiculously high,” he says. “And that’s a powerful thing. If somebody goes through the whole thing, it means they’re engaged, they’re interested. It means they do actually want to follow up on their interest.”

And while most burgeoning tech companies face fierce competition, Shklovskii says it’s been hard for EnergySavvy to identify just one competitor, or predict exactly where the market will go. For now, he says, the less than 10-employee company is going to focus on “growing what we have now.”

“One of the really interesting things about cleantech is because it’s such a broad space, people are jumping in and attacking different parts of it,” he says. “There’s Microsoft, Google, there’s a bunch of other startups. There’s a lot of companies that are doing stuff already that have been for the last 10, 15 years. It’s very hard to say who the competition is. For a site like Facebook, they can say MySpace…For us, it’s a very dynamic field, so there’s no one that we look at where  we say, it’s us or you. We’re in this space, something cool is going to happen—some combination of all of the things we’re all doing is going to be the thing. And we’re all working to figure that out.”

EnergySavvy is operating under the assumption that the energy market is only going to get bigger from here.

“We believe that five years from now energy is going to cost more, people are going to care more,” Shklovskii  says. “You’re not going to get the same thing that happened in the ’80s when people forgot about it and went back to guzzling oil.”

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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