Prepare for Heating Season with Community Retrofit NYC

In preparation for the fall heating season, BlocPower’s Community Retrofit NYC team has been all over Brooklyn this summer helping building owners and contractors prepare. The team canvassed weekly throughout East New York, Bed Stuy, and Bushwick meeting nearly 200 new building owners along the way. Whether installing a new boiler, upgrading a thermostat, or navigating the vast world of government incentive programs, the Community Retrofit team is eager to tackle the complex problems facing New York City’s building owners.

Michel + Henry Keilmanowitz

Margarget Smith + Tyler

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Our team collaborated with Brooklyn Assemblywoman Latrice Walker to host an event on July 27th for building owners at Marion Hopkinson playground in Bed Stuy. We met 23 new building owners who were connected with our free energy assessments and consulting services. These building owners were able to access a wide variety of services from our partner organizations including free LED lighting from Con Edison, free low flow water fixtures from National Grid, and the Green Housing Preservation Program.

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On August 10th we hosted a contractor training event to educate contractors about energy efficiency and help them expand the scope of their business. We brought in industry experts including Grundfos, Rathe Associates, and Venco to discuss new building technologies and energy efficiency best practices. This event helped grow our pool of qualified and experienced contractors to assist our clients with retrofit projects.


As the fall heating season approaches, Community Retrofit NYC is here to help! Contact us to learn more about the free services available for your building(s) at or 347-762-4792. 

Behind the Scenes: Celebrating Women in Technology

At BlocPower we are proud of the critical contributions women make to our company every day. Here we interview Shruti Sane, one of our Managing Project Engineers, to learn more about her innovative work at BlocPower and her experience as a women in technology.  Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Celebrating Women in Technology

Behind the Scenes: Developing Time Series Databases at BlocPower

As a software developer and an undergraduate student from the University of Waterloo, I had been looking for interesting companies where I could intern. As chance would have it, BlocPower was hiring database developers, and as I researched BlocPower, I realized I would be able to do great work here. Luckily, after interviewing with the principle data architect and CTO of BlocPower, I got matched to BlocPower. Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Developing Time Series Databases at BlocPower

How is this New York in Winter?

It’s difficult to ignore the moderate days. The out of ordinary days. The days where you step outside and think, “How is this New York in the winter?” Although in the coming weeks it seems as if the weather will return to its normal, icy self, one cannot ignore the chilling “anomalies” of warm weather that are growing in relevancy and concern. The primary issue with brushing off the ubiquity of climate change is that more often than not, it leads to inaction.  

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Carbon Dioxide Levels BlocPower Recorded in a Bronx School Building in 2016

In November 2016, the Environmental Blog posted an article titled “How Our Environment Can Affect Our Health,” a piece that highlights how bettering the environment affects humans in a fundamental way, our health.

The author, John Tarantino, includes notes that frequently reminding people that soil quality and the well-being of animals are negatively impacted by pollution and climate change is not enough to drive change or cause citizens to speak up. Tarantino goes on to discuss the way human health is altered by environmental contamination, including air quality. This is a problem because the emissions of carbon and fossil fuels create prolonged air pollution that can turn short-term effects like asthma attacks into long-term issues like shortened human life spans and cancer. Only recently have agencies and organizations begun to look into this matter, which is encouraging because now a deeper, more profound conversation is happening about greenhouse gas emissions and air quality.

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Particulate Matter Levels BlocPower Recorded in a Bronx School Building in 2016

BlocPower actively works to combat climate change and improve human health. We are creating the Bronx Healthy Buildings Fund, a program that will enable building owners in the Bronx to install energy efficiency retrofit projects that also improve air quality. These retrofits will protect building occupants from health risks like the asthma attacks that currently plague the borough. BlocPower does this through our holistic evaluation of buildings. For example, rather than replacing an expensive boiler in a building, our engineers calculate how multiple building systems like heating and cooling interact with variables like light entering through windows of a building. Our models maximize energy savings while reducing the total cost of completing a building retrofit.

Working at BlocPower is fulfilling for this reason, I know departments from finance to business development are working tirelessly on models and techniques to fund energy retrofits and aid those living in overlooked social and environmental conditions. If you would like to read more about Tarantino’s article, here is a link from his environmental blog page, and once again here is my own blog which I mentioned in my recent post.

-Kayvon Gorji, Technology Intern, BlocPower


Behind the Scenes: Working as a Data Scientist at BlocPower

I am truly excited and honored to be a data scientist at BlocPower. BlocPower offers me the chance to work in the most exciting job in the 21st century. In my role at BlocPower, I implement data analytics, machine learning and big data to solve building science and energy challenges.

Continue reading Behind the Scenes: Working as a Data Scientist at BlocPower

BlocPower’s Founders Live Interview on Cheddar media

BlocPower is so excited to have our company profiled live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with Cheddar today at 4:10pm Eastern!
Continue reading BlocPower’s Founders Live Interview on Cheddar media

A Note on Dr. King’s Suggestion to Have a Tough Mind, and a Tender Heart.

One of my favorite sermons by Dr. King is called “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart”.

It starts:
“A French philosopher once said that ‘No man is so strong unless he bears within his character antitheses strongly marked’. … The idealists are not usually realists, and the realists are not usually idealistic. The militant are not usually passive, and the passive are not usually militant… But life at its best is a creative synthesis. It is the binding together of opposites into fruitful harmony. As the philosopher Hegel said, “truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.

Dr. King goes on to quote the Gospel of Matthew: “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”.
“It is pretty difficult,” King continues, “to imagine a single person having the characteristics of the serpent and the dove simultaneously…We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove…To have serpent-like qualities devoid of dove-like qualities is to be passionless, mean and selfish. To have dove-like qualities without serpent-like qualities is to be sentimental, anemic and aimless. We must combine in our characters antithesis, strongly marked.”

I love this speech because I think King is outlining the characteristics that he believes are necessary to help build a better world. Advocates, and activists and social entrepreneurs should take note: the speech is a mini-instruction manual for those who hope to drive social and environmental change.

In Industrial Areas Foundation led community organizing and leadership development trainings—which Senator Barack Obama told me in 2006 was the most valuable education he’d ever received—the concept of the “World as it Is” v. the “World as it Should Be” is central.

The “World as it Should Be” is an ideal, where society operates according to enlightened self interest, self sacrifice, compassion, and our highest and most moral shared values. The “World as it Is” is more brutal, zero-sum, and operates based on who has power, and who doesn’t. It operates on narrow self interest. You get what you’re strong enough to get. As Thucydides wrote, “The strong take what they can, and the weak take what they must”.

In this speech, Dr. King reminds us that our job is to use our tough mindedness to steel ourselves to navigate the “World as it Is”, while using tenderheartedness to keep the vision and goal of the “World as it Should Be” as our North Star.
Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech outlined the World As It Should Be.

Dr. King’s selection of which segregated cities and sheriffs might prove to be winnable targets, his use of the media, his relationship to the White House, his relationship to labor unions, and his decision to allow the children of Birmingham to march and protest against rabid local police—despite the likelihood that those children would be beaten and arrested–demonstrate a tough mindedness without which he and the Civil Rights movement would have failed.

For those of us who care about climate, and equality, in a world as it Should Be, make no mistake: we are entering what seems to be a very dark period. Many of us are still processing and thinking through how to appropriately respond to our new political context. We may feel that we have been dragged backwards, at a time when we need to move forward by leaps and bounds. We need to be as wise as serpents, indeed.

At BlocPower, our core strategy depends on a certain amount of tough mindedness while incorporating a certain amount of tenderheartedness. We are bringing clean energy and energy efficient technologies to buildings in some of the poorest neighborhoods in New York City, and in the process creating jobs, economic development, and paving the way for a national transition to renewable energy.

We believe that the green energy industry has the potential to lift historically disenfranchised communities out of poverty, across the country, at massive historical scale.

We believe that the climate change movement in the United States has absolutely no hope of succeeding without substantively engaging low income communities and communities of color around economic impact.

We know that many of our clients have dangerously unhealthy buildings that need a lot of help, with high rates of risk for lead poisoning, and chronic asthma inducing internal air pollution in building residents.

On the other hand, to have a chance at succeeding, we must be toughminded. No matter how great their need, our clients have to have a track record of paying their electricity bills, revenue that will sustain the institution year over year, and a building that can benefit from our platform. Helping clients in our market is important, but we have to do so with a rigor that will facilitate long term sustainability.

Our hypothesis is that for folks who care about climate change, and who care about the inequalities of inner cities, that our mix of tough-mindedness and tender heartedness will allow BlocPower to serve as a bridge between the World as It Is, and the World as it Should Be.

We are launching a new online marketplace feature at that will allow neighbors to donate or make no-interest loans to community buildings in financially underserved neighborhoods.

We’ve listed three of our projects in New York: a Methodist congregation in the Bronx that wants to lead a green revolution, an African Methodist Episcopal church in Manhattan that focuses on serving local low income seniors throughout the week, and a Unitarian church on Staten Island that used to be a site on the Underground Railroad. All three buildings have served their communities and functioned as houses of worship for several decades, and they want to go green to lower energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.

If you’d like to donate or make a loan, please do so. But we are also interested in toughminded feedback and critique, on what we can do to improve the site, and make it better.

Near the end of his life, Dr. King organized and led a “Poor People’s Campaign”, a multiracial movement against poverty. BlocPower intends to green American cities, block by block, to lower costs, reduce carbon emissions, and hire thousands of members of financially underserved communities.

We think that will be a major part of that. Let us know what you think.

We trust that you have had a reflective Martin Luther King Day, and are moving to take action in the challenging days ahead.

Best wishes,

Solar Installation