BlocMaps is finally in the hands of the New York City residents who need it most, and our customers are ready to save money on their building gas, heating oil, and electric bills. This week, the BlocPower team deployed BlocMaps in the field for a long-time resident of Brooklyn. With the power of our predictive energy consumption model at her fingertips, our customer was able to visualize her building’s performance and better understand her energy needs. Continue reading We Can Help Building Owners Lower Bills Today!
Just like a love journey, the energy industry is full of exciting challenges. My journey began studying energy engineering. I saw many problems in the energy industry: climate change, underserved communities, and wasted resources. Over time I began to question how I would make this business more sustainable and pursued an MBA degree at Brandeis University. I then met BlocPower and settled down as an Investment Associate, where I help solve access to capital issues within the energy industry. Continue reading Behind The Scenes: Two Journeys Collide, A BlocPower Love Affair
At BlocPower we are laser focused on developing tangible and accessible solutions to some of the most pressing clean energy and air quality challenges. And for most of us, this work is very personal. Our co-founder and CEO, Donnel Baird, is honored to have our work recognized through Crain’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2017. Read about how growing up in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood helped give Donnel the inspiration to start BlocPower. “I’ve been thinking about these ideas for 15 years,” he said. “Our goal is to be able to do this in every city in the country.” Check out the full article here.
“The future for us is all about connecting the digital world to the physical world.” -BlocPower Chief Engineer, Tooraj Arvajeh in his Keynote speech, March 21 on stage at the IBM Interconnect 2017 conference. Watch the full video:
Our CEO and Co-founder, Donnel Baird, was selected by Grist Magazine as one of 50 Fixers for 2017! “The world feels pretty broken right now. That’s why we need Fixers — bold problem solvers working toward a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck…
BlocPower will be featured in a Keynote at the IBM InterConnect 2017 conference in Las Vegas this week! On March 21 our Chief Engineering Officer, Tooraj Arvajeh, will be on stage at InterConnect to announce BP Analyze, the new mobile application we have been developing with our partners, IBM and Harmony.
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
One of my favorite sermons by Dr. King is called “A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart”.
“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’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 BlocPower.io 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 BlocPower.io 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.