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Meta’s Silicon Valley home plans to decarbonize 95% of buildings

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On October 23, 2019, you’ll see a giant digital sign on Facebook’s headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Meta’s home technology hub in Menlo Park, California, has partnered with New York-based Brooklyn. BlocPower A new form of public-private partnership to power thousands of buildings to help achieve the 2030 climate goal of carbon neutrality.

In a small California city with a population of about 35,000, fossil fuel consumption of buildings is estimated to be 41% of total emissions. BlocPower, the past CNBC Disruptor 50 The company is one of the leaders in remodeling residential and commercial real estate to reduce fossil fuel use. Menlo Park’s plans have begun modestly, with 25 buildings being electrified this year. Although it is voluntary, we plan to add more than 1,000 buildings annually from 2024. This includes heat pumps for air heating and cooling, heat pumps for water, charging stations for electric vehicles, solar power generation and battery storage. ..

“Menlo Park has set an important historic climate precedent as the first city on the west coast to establish this type of public-private partnership,” said Angela Shelley Evans of the Menlo Park City Environmental Quality Commission. handle.

By electrifying 95% of existing buildings, she said, she could “dramatically reduce” her dependence on natural gas. Natural gas accounts for almost half of Menlo Park’s greenhouse gas emissions.

BlocPower is already working with Ithaca, a university city in New York, home of Cornell University. The first municipality to commit to a 100% decarbonization plan Use the new public-private partnership model.Ithaca Raised the first $ 100 million in private funding last summer To support the efforts of private equity partner Alturus.

Donnel Baird, founder and CEO of BlocPower, told CNBC last year that 100 million buildings across the United States are wasting $ 100 billion a year on fossil fuels. “There are significant savings that can be implemented,” Baird said.

According to the US Green Building Council, the direct use of energy and electricity in buildings accounts for about 38% of US greenhouse gas emissions, and by 2030 most of the buildings that make up the urban environment will be. It already exists.

According to the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economic, heating systems such as hot water and heating are major drivers of energy use in residential and commercial buildings, and are targets for climate projects as well as insulation and lighting. Cities with low population growth also have a higher percentage of legacy buildings that need to be upgraded rather than new, booming population hubs.

Cities are emerging as leaders in decarbonization because many of the building-related laws are in the territory of state and local governments and set building codes. As more cities and towns are trying to lead the climate, leveraging private investors in combination with government incentives can reduce the cost of capital and interest rates on project finance.

Isaka has set the ratio of taxpayers to private investment funds at 1:20.

“Given the scale of the problem, people are open to Ithaca’s public-private partnership,” Svante Myrick, the mayor of Ithaca until early 2022, told CNBC when he signed for Bloc Power. “They recognize that the government must be a climate catalyst setting rule, but if we make a drastic change, we don’t have the resources to do it alone.” He said.

Small cities such as Isaka, Iowa and Des Moines are also planning to target buildings and are actively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the local level. Both cities are part of a new UN-led consortium on climate called the 24/7 Carbon Energy Compact, which also includes Google.

In cities and towns across the United States, many of the most inefficient buildings are in low-income communities and are the focus of BlocPower throughout our project portfolio. These properties often require upgrades that include older, more efficient appliances. .. Not only are energy efficiency standards ignored in these areas, households are paying a higher percentage of their income in energy costs.

Menlo Spark, a local non-profit organization, is working with Menlo Park to raise up to $ 35 million to reduce project costs for low- and middle-income households. Belhaven, an area of ​​Menlo Park near the bay, and major roads with poor air quality were chosen as the first focal points.

BlocPower has a business model that combines the traditional construction and engineering sector with climate technology, adding dozens of US jobs by increasing investment opportunities in poorly serviced communities and creating jobs in green buildings. A project is underway in the city.

MetaPreviously Facebook, Announced that it has arrived 100% renewable energy and net zero usage by 2020.

In addition to investors, Goldman Sachs, Kapole Capital, Microsoft Climate Innovation FundAndreessen Horowitz, and BlocPower received a grant from the Jeff Bezos Earth Fund and were invited to Apple’s accelerator program.

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