In Conversation With The Black-Owned Startup Turning Buildings Into Teslas

Time is running out to reduce our carbon footprint. Did you know that 40% of carbon comes from buildings? Meanwhile there’s a startup called BlocPower that will replace your old heating and cooling systems with a new heat pump — even if you think the building can’t afford to pay for it.

This Brooklyn-based start-up is greening aging urban buildings.

An estimated 40% of carbon emissions in the U.S come from buildings, and one startup out of Brooklyn has pioneered a model for helping low-income tenants get reliable heat and air conditioning that protects them from harsher weather while greening their aging buildings. 

So far, BlocPower has retrofitted more than 1,200 buildings in 26 different cities. Next City reporter Phil Roberts first reported this story in July; since then, the City of Ithaca in New York contracted with BlocPower to electrify and decarbonize all of its buildings, the company announced this month. Ithaca’s mayor says the city-wide electrification initiative is part of a municipal-level “green new deal” that will create jobs and cut carbon emissions.

In this episode of the podcast, Next City executive director Lucas Grindley talks with Roberts, plus one of the co-founders of BlocPower, Keith Kinch.

“We have to start somewhere,” says Kinch of the need to reduce emissions. “So one of the things we do is we think about it from a neighborhood perspective and how to make each neighborhood sustainable. So we do one building at a time.”

Listen to this episode below, or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple and Spotify.

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