Bezos Earth Fund announces nearly $ 450 million in grants to organizations

Bezos Earth Fund announces nearly $ 450 million in grants to organizations

A $ 5.5 million investment in BlocPower, an energy efficiency technology start-up focused on the construction and renovation of urban buildings, was announced this week by the Bezos Earth Fund.

Green energy projects in New York were carried out by startup CNBC Disruptor 50 BlocPower. He wants to use Bezos’ donation to add 125 million buildings and cities to his BlocMaps software database, which helps building owners electrify and decarbonize their premises.

BlocPower also introduced a WiFi service this year that provides free internet access to low-income neighborhoods and allows BlocPower to monitor local energy use, saving customers 20-70% per year.

BlockPower, located in Brooklyn, aims to improve investment prospects in marginalized areas by combining traditional construction and engineering with climate technology. BlocPower believes their energy efficiency technique increases the value of buildings and reduces operating expenses in many of New York City’s poorest communities. He also works in 24 other American cities.

“The goal of the Bezos Earth Fund is to support change agents who meet the challenges of this decisive decade,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund. “Through these grants, we are advancing climate justice and nature conservation, two areas that require stronger action. “

As part of its commitment to use 100% renewable energy by 2025, Microsoft in August announced a solar project with Volt Energy, a black-owned solar energy development organization.

BlocPower founder and CEO Donnel Baird told CNBC earlier this year that commercial buildings’ interest in sustainability and energy efficiency “is skyrocketing.” He thinks that 100 million buildings in the United States waste $ 100 billion a year. “Significant savings can be made,” he noted. Workers will pay more attention to air quality and the health impacts of buildings when they return to work, according to Baird.

BlocPower began working with Ithaca, New York, in November, when the city became the first in the United States to implement a 100% decarbonization strategy, with the first phase focusing on 1,000 residential structures and 600 structures. commercial.

In August, Baird told CNBC that as a diverse energy startup he noticed a bias in the energy business and venture capital world.

After George Floyd, many Silicon Valley companies realized they needed to invest in more diverse entrepreneurs and businesses, Baird told CNBC. “But I haven’t seen much progress.”

He argues that the climate investments of many large companies must change. In Chicago, Seattle, and low-income regions, companies should invest in renewable energy certificates rather than in Brazilian rainforests.

BlocPower has raised $ 50 million in venture capital from investors such as Kapor Capital, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

He said companies like Goldman Sachs have invested $ 50 million in its green building business model for low-income neighborhoods because of the ROI profile. “It’s not for public relations. “They do it for history and money,” Baird said.

The BlocPower grant is part of the Justice40 initiative, which aims to give disadvantaged areas at least 40% of the overall benefits of federal climate and clean energy efforts. According to the Bezos Earth Fund, BlocPower and 18 other climate-focused organizations received $ 130 million to advance the Justice campaign40.

Lauren Sanchez, vice president of the Bezos Earth Fund, said: “Disadvantaged communities have suffered the brunt of environmental damage for too long. By funding the best institutions working with communities to advance climate justice, we are helping them succeed.

James V. Hayes