Save energy, money, and your environment with greeNEWit
Today's featured member, greeNEWit, is transforming the energy landscape into an emerging, vibrant green marketplace.
greeNEWit is an organization founded to help our society build more sustainable communities and better economies through energy efficiency and conserving the use of natural resources. Their mission is to reduce energy consumption, eliminate waste and save money while reforming our relationship with the environment.
Through collaboration, greeNEWit aims to inspire positive action and change the way we use, produce and think about our energy. greeNEWit helps homeowners, businesses and municipalities adopt best practices to cut costs and achieve energy savings. Acting as a consultant to utility companies, builders, contractors and homeowners, greeNEWit provide energy checkups and offers consulting and training for sustainable operations. Read our interview with Sarah Frye, Director of Public Relations for greeNEWit.
What inspired you to start your company?
We believe that energy usage and sustainability is a matter of common sense. We knew that if we got into the business of helping people save money and reducing the impact on our planet, we would remain relevant. If power or clean drinking water were all of the sudden threatened, most other issues would be put into perspective. It was our passion to shed light on this dire issue and help our society benefit by becoming more conscious about energy and natural resources. With this in mind, we started greeNEWit. Shotly after we began providing energy audits. In doing so, we quickly observed that business would be challenging to scale because of the disconnect within the residential energy industry.
The emerging home performance industry is challenged with extensive paperwork requirements, a transitional blue collar construction workforce needing extensive energy assessment training and limited business models driven through IT solutions. It is estimated, that more than 50% of the human capital and resources in the home performance industry go toward processing the jobs and NOT toward creating energy improvements. We recognized this critical need for the implementation of energy reduction programs that offer a standardized method of performing quality energy solutions with comprehensive management.
Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder(s)?
All three founders actually went to Oakland Mills High School in Maryland. Josh Notes and Matej Harangozo were 2002 graduates and had been friends since middle school. Jason Jannati graduated in 2004 and only knew the other two as acquaintances at that point. Fast forward to 2007 and they were re-introduced by a mutual friend who had a feeling once they got into a room together something truly great things would come as a result.
At this time, they were all separately involved in real estate but weren’t completely fulfilled with what they were doing. They really searched for what the common thread was between the three and their true passion. This foundation came to be making life, energy and planet better every day by changing the way we use, think about and produce energy. Sustainability was a common theme along with saving money and helping our environmental impact. In 2008, they started greeNEWit.
Jason Jannati, Josh Notes and Matej Harangozo were named by the Baltimore District’s SBA office as the top young entrepreneur of 2011. They were also recognized at the White House for contributions to entrepreneurship and the nation’s economy and by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for his philanthropic work at greeNEWit.
What problem does your product or service solve?
We're transforming the energy landscape into an emerging, vibrant green marketplace. Our mission is to reduce energy consumption, eliminate waste and save money while reforming our relationship with the environment. We recognize the importance of sustainability and doing what you can to minimize the impact we have on our surroundings.
Through the Multi-Family Quick Home Energy Checkup Program, we’ve installed 29,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs to more than 3,600 residences in the state of Maryland and are saving 1,803,196 kWh of energy annually.
In addition to our success providing energy upgrades for residential and multi-family homes, we are also building a platform that will improve the overall efficiency of the entire energy retrofit market. Because the matter of achieving sustainability is so important, so is the efficiency of the programs set out to implement energy savings. Tremendous savings can be leveraged utilizing technology to automate and streamline processes that consume more human resources than necessary. Our goal is to improve the overall operating system of the industry.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
1. The primary barrier to progression in the energy efficiency marketplace is the current incentive system. Requiring people to reach into their wallet during tough economic times and wait while rebates are processed will not fill the market to capacity. The current system is lacking connectivity.
2. The emerging home performance industry is challenged with extensive paperwork requirements, a transitional blue collar construction workforce needing extensive energy assessment training and limited business models driven through IT solutions. The whole process is riddled with unnecessary time, paperwork, resources and stress.
3. Currently too much is dictated by legislation and not by innovative financing models.
How has Startup America helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Startup America has been amazing! At first it was the impressive founding board members that attracted us along with the general mission of the organization. The energy radiating from the regional directors spanning all the way to the volunteers, is like that of an actual startup. It is so common for organizations like these to become bureaucratic, but this organization is fueled by energetic people who have been in our shoes and are determined to help.
We have been introduced to many influential people in the tech and entrepreneurial community. We have also been invited to speak on many substantial panels that have led to positive press and ongoing media coverage.
Relationships will be the key to success. We have networked within the industry and will continue to do so by attending a variety of energy efficiency showcases and conferences across the nation. Recently included as a Startup America Partnership firm, we hope to explore future business opportunities within this extended network.
As we better connect the communication and the effectiveness of the energy efficiency retrofit industry, we are improving our overall ability to meet global energy demands with sustainable resources.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
We’ve attended live events and networked with other Startup America firms. greeNEWit CCO Jason Jannati sat on a panel at the Startup MD Launch event. We’ll also be taking advantage of partner offers in the near future.
Why should startups join Startup America?
In today's digital age, entrepreneurs must have a desire to connect with others in their community. Startup America streamlines and facilitates this process. Startup America provides all of the resources needed to build a successful business, no matter what stage. With the support that Startup America provides, startups now have access to knowledgeable mentors at every corner that are happy to help.
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
The startup culture in the Baltimore/DC area is the most active I’ve seen. Organizations like Startup America, Foster.ly and Empact are making strides to help entrepreneurs achieve growth and recognition. I’m also seeing several incubator-style organizations pop up that create a collaborative work environment where entrepreneurs of different startups work together and lean on each other for business advice.
Agents of Change
Following this idea, we’ve started our own ‘think tank’ initiative. Being an active agent of change within the community is a core value of our company, and so we have implemented a strategy to recruit employees while nurturing environmental stewardship.
The Agents of Change are a group of impressive college interns and brand advocates for greeNEWit that aim to inspire positive action and change the way we use, produce and think about our energy. Agents of Change can choose a sector of interest within greeNEWit such as community service, research and development, residential services, social media, etc.
Our goal is to create a collaborative working environment that fosters the generation and sharing of ideas. By creating a ‘think tank’, individuals who share a common passion to do good, expand their knowledge base and provoke socially aware responses in the community.
A unique quality of the program is that agents will be assigned tasks and asked to incorporate their own unique ideas and innovative strategies to generate a solution. They will have the opportunity to collaborate with other Agents of Changes and key leaders in greeNEWit to implement plans for putting those ideas into action.
Whether it be developing a sound business model for an emerging entrepreneur, or mapping out an effective game plan for a community to reduce its overall energy usage, we are committed to creating new opportunities while reducing the carbon footprint so that the quality of life for all may improve.
As this program has developed, the Agents of Change are the face of our company. They stand as leaders in our greatest contribution to community oriented projects. This surrounds energy education and is the OUR Schools Program. We started this project to spread the message of Ownership, Understanding and Responsibility with regards to our future global energy and resources situation. We give energizing presentations to educate elementary students on the importance of connecting with the environment and how to be active in the community.
Leaders from greeNEWit ignite an interest in science, math and nature that anchors sustainability into the minds of students and faculty. Since this push was initiated, we have reached more than 1,000 youth at schools in both Howard and Baltimore County.
We host fundraisers where kids offer their friends, family and neighbors the opportunity to participate in Quick Home Energy Checkups (QHEC), and 50% of the energy services completed goes back into the school for investments in science, math, engineering, technology and overall energy improvements. greeNEWit plans to expand the OUR Schools Program nationally with a commitment to continued education.
Learn more about greeNEWit here:
Startup America member since November 2011