Effortless Energy: The New Startup Making Home Energy Efficiency a No-Brainer

by: Claire Tramm

Home energy efficiency is a no-brainer. Simple, affordable things like insulation and air sealing can help American homeowners stop wasting hundreds of dollars per month on their gas and electricity bills and increase the value of their homes by thousands of dollars. These cost-effective efficiency measures also make homes more comfortable (by fixing drafty, uneven conditions and decreasing street noise) and their inhabitants healthier (by preventing terrible allergens from attics and crawl spaces from circulating through the entire home). Plus, they represent the cheapest way for us to reduce emissions of carbon and other dirty pollutants, secure America’s energy resources, and increase electric grid stability while creating real green jobs. With all of these benefits, energy efficiency should sell itself… so why aren’t we all doing it? Put simply, because no one is making it easy for us!

Why Effortless Energy exists

Put simply, because no one is making it easy for us! This is why we started Effortless Energy – we want to make home energy efficiency the no-brainer it ought to be! We don’t need twenty more items added to our already crowded to-do lists; we just need to be able to call one person who can seamlessly take care of all the energy analysis and installation details for us. We don’t want to make any investments if we’re not sure that the savings will materialize, nor do we have the time to double-check their work by becoming energy economists ourselves; we want someone who’s an expert to put their money where their mouth is and take that risk instead. And we don’t want to invest in things that will pay back long after we’ve sold our homes; we want to split the costs and benefits fairly between ourselves and our home’s next owners. Most importantly, we don’t want to have to take out a loan or use our precious monthly paycheck to pay for anything if we don’t have to; we just want to start saving money and reaping the other benefits of an energy upgrade right away.

Effortless Energy has figured out a way to offer customers exactly what they’re looking for in a home efficiency upgrade while taking away all the main risks and downsides. We’ve learned a lot from the success of similar models in the residential solar PV and commercial energy efficiency sectors that have made their offerings both easy and attractive to customers. Solar CitySunEdisonSun Run, and Clean Power Finance have made home solar easy by integrating the entire value chain (customer acquisition, operations, and finance) and attractive by guaranteeing a cost savings for their customers on day one. Transcend (acquired by SciEnergy) and Metrus have made commercial energy efficiency easy by integrating across the value chain and attractive by splitting the efficiency savings with customers for measures they install. In both sectors, the business models work by signing customers up for a longer-term utility contract with risk-free, day one savings that don’t involve much hassle for the property owner.  Let’s face it: we humans are pretty happy to have someone else do all the hard work, spend all their money, and let us keep a cut of the savings. But that’s just what it takes to make something a real no-brainer!

Why we’re unique

Effortless Energy is the only company that offers this truly no-brainer value proposition in the home energy efficiency space. Like our corollaries in the adjacent spaces, we make every aspect of the home energy upgrade process as easy as possible, guiding it seamlessly to completion with technology and knowledgeable staff. We make a more attractive offer to customers by taking the savings risk on ourselves and entering a longer-term utility agreement that allows us to make efficiency investments in customers’ homes and split the savings with them on day one of our contract. In addition, we offer easy access to the traditional financial models for energy efficiency: loans, self-financing, rebates, and energy efficient mortgages.

The Impact Engine experience

We’re thrilled to be here part of Impact Engine, a 12-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses making the world a better place, at 1871 in Chicago. It’s been a fabulous chance to be mentored by veteran entrepreneurs and investors who are excited about the triple bottom line impact we can make through our socially and environmentally responsible enterprises that are designed to do well by doing good. It’s really been an honor to be a part of the program and I can’t say enough good things about the managing directors and support staff who have done a phenomenal job putting together a huge slate of helpful workshops and mentorship opportunities for us in Impact Engine’s inaugural year. We’re very much looking forward to Demo Day in a few weeks since it will be a chance to show what we’ve been working on and how far we’ve come in the past few weeks!

* This article is the eighth profile within an eight-part series, featuring the eight startup companies from Impact Engine’s inaugural cohort. Impact Engine is a 12-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses making the world a better place. *

About the author Claire Tramm @Technori
Claire Tramm is the CEO and Co-Founder of Effortless Energy. She is a former McKinsey consultant who served the energy, financial services, and public sectors on strategy, operations, and policy issues. She also contributed to several of McKinsey’s public reports on carbon and energy efficiency economics. Most recently, Claire led business development for the Demand Side Management Business at Blue Star Energy, which was recently acquired by AEP Energy. She previously led municipal implementation of the Chicago Climate Action Plan and built a workforce development strategy for green jobs in the region. She is currently completing her M.P.P. at the University of Chicago.

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