Resource Efficiency

October 19th, 2012

[Free Boston Event] A Homeowner’s No B.S. Guide to Investing in Renewable Energy


Next week, I’ll be hosting an event in Boston for homeowners interested in renewable energy. There’s a lot of confusion around which technology is the best, the most efficient, and what exactly the incentives and financials actually look like. Needless to say, the answers to all those questions are “it depends”.

The event is specifically for homeowners. We’re have a few great event partners and contractor who will be there to answer any questions. It’s happening on Thursday afternoon in Cambridge.

You can RSVP for the event here. Thursday October 25th at 6pm EST.

Here are more details:

The goal of the workshop is to clearly and blunty address many of the questions that homeowners have about investing in renewable energy in Massachusetts.

The workshop is for property owners that are looking to invest in renewable energy and get basic questions answered.

The workshop will be capped at 20 people.

Focus will be on three technologies

  • Solar PV
  • Solar Thermal
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps


  1. How each technology works
  2. What are the best properties and homes for each technology. How do you know if your home works?
  3. What are the risks for each technology and how are they eliminated
  4. Top 5 questions to ask any contractor that is doing work
  5. Detailed construction timelines and project photos so you can see how each  technology is actually installed

Finance and Government Incentives

  1. A Quick review of government incentives available
  2. Rebates vs tax credits vs production based incentives
  3. Buying solar cash vs debt vs 3rd party leases. What are the pros and cons of each
  4. Typicall returns for each technology based on the property

Questions and Answer: Bring them all!

About your Speaker

Chris Williams will be your host. He has designed and installed 300kW of solar PV and plenty of solar thermal and geothermal systems as well. He’s the Chairman of the Government Relations Committee at NEGPA, a consultant at Voltaic Solaire in NYC that recently completed the cities first 100% solar powered building, the Chief Marketing Officer at HeatSpring, a leading national renewable energy training company and frequently writes and has been quoted in Greentech MediaRenewable Energy WorldForbesClimate ProgressCleantechies, and Alternative Energy Stocks.

Event Partners

You can RSVP for the event here. Thursday October 25th at 6pm EST.

September 3rd, 2010

6 Characteristics of a Perfect B2C Energy Efficiency Company


4 weeks ago, Green Light Distrikt Boston had an event, ‘Energy Efficiency: Why is the Low Hanging Fruit so High?” The speakers discussed what they’re working on and why, if energy efficiency (EE) has such high returns, the adoption of these behaviors and technologies seems to be happening at a snails pace.

Based on the presentations there were 6 things that I learned why EE adoption is not happening quickly enough. If you need a refresher on the those 6 items see the previous link.

Using these 6 points, I’ll outline the 6 characteristics of what a BLOCKBUSTER company addressing homeowner and small business energy efficiency would and/should look like. If you’re a VC and reading this, your welcome, you can pay me later.

Here’s the 6 characteristics of the perfect EE company I would invest in, start, or work with.

1) The technology is simple, works, and is cheap. You need the technology to be ‘in the game’ but the technology itself won’t solve the problem. The winning combination will be a mix of technology + service. This is why, as Rob Day points out, angels will be the heros of EE technology space because the technology is so cheap to build. It is the selling, servicing, monitoring, and changing of behaviors that will make or break a great EE company.

+ Continue Reading

August 25th, 2010

6 Reasons the High ROI of Energy Efficiency Doesn’t Matter


All I can say is “Energy Efficiency: Why is the Low Hanging Fruit so High?” the second event hosted by Green Light Distrikt Boston in our Cleantech Kingpins series was a HUGE success. It was completely packed, it was fun, and we learned a ton. Boston insider Aaron Lindenbaum wrote a great follow up about his take on how to make energy efficiency (EE) sexy and Brian Hayden wrote an awesome piece about how the event inspired him to take action in his home and what he learned.

A huge thank you to all the speakers, everyone did an amazing job, and Alex from Wattzy who helped me find everyone. Another shout out to NEXUS for hosting us. The NEXUS Green Building Resource Center is the Mecca of green building in Boston and probably the country, in short, they’re awesome. A third thank you to everyone who came, watched, asked questions and joined in on the conversation at the end. I had a great time meeting you and can’t wait to see guys more in the future.

Here’s the little agenda for post

1) Presentations: Below are both the presentation videos and slides. Note, I’m couldn’t upload Lilah Glick’s presentation from the Cambridge Energy Alliance and I didn’t get Alex’s presentation on video.

Here are the speakers:

  1. Alex Patriquin – Founder, CEO at Wattzy
  2. Martin Flusberg – Founder, CEO at Powerhouse Dynamics
  3. Lilah Glick – Director, Community Outreach at Cambridge Energy Alliance
  4. Brenden Endicott – Senior Manager, Energy Markets at EnerNOC
  5. Geoff Chapin – Founder, CEO at Next Step Living

2) Problem with Energy Efficiency Adoption: The speakers addressed 6 main issues that I’ll summarize that explain why energy efficiency adoption is NOT happening.

+ Continue Reading

August 4th, 2010

Connecting the Oil Dots: Spill, Idling and Asthma


With the on-going news of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the Kalamazoo River, many people and businesses feel confused and overwhelmed about what they can do to help. Send hair clippings to make oil-absorbing booms? Boycott BP stations? The best and most effective way to help, according to experts is to decrease our use of oil – reducing overall demand for fossil fuels. The disconnect between oil and its impact on health and the environment is widening, even during the biggest oil disaster in US history. Many don’t realize that Massachusetts has an anti-idling law: MGL, Chapter 90, 16A and 310 CMR, 7.11, which defines limitations and imposes fines. + Continue Reading

May 4th, 2010

When it comes to Energy Efficiency, Do We Need Walmart?


Most of my friends have never heard of Mass SAVE, but my good friend Tom signed up for a Mass SAVE energy audit.  The auditor spent half an hour in his place, promised big rebates, and Tom agreed to have weatherization and insulation work done.  Four weeks later (two days before the scheduled work), Tom got a call from a customer service representative informing him that he no longer qualified for the rebate and would have to spend an extra $1700 out-of-pocket.  “Never mind.”  Said Tom.

Let’s assume the end goal is an enormous wave of energy efficiency retrofits.  Looking at that end goal from an entrepreneur’s perspective, regardless of your political views, isn’t the current setup in Massachusetts almost comically bad?  And MA has one of the best programs in the country.

I think there’s a fear of spending the money too fast and administering a huge program like that is clumsy.  There’s always a balance between wanting to spend the money and fear of spending it badly.  I think fear is winning.  We need to find alternate routes around these programs and not rely on them to fix everything.

Here’s a thought exercise: How might Walmart make energy efficiency easy and affordable for homeowners?  I know Walmart is evil, but what might they get right that we’re currently getting wrong?