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Ulupono Initiative Backs Carbon Lighthouse With $3M

March 13, 2018, 8:12 AM HST (Updated March 13, 2018, 8:12 AM)
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In recognition of the economic and environmental opportunities afforded by clean energy and efficiency, Hawai‘i has set the country’s most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard: to achieve 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045—while setting an overall goal to attain greater energy efficiency by reducing electricity consumption by 4,300 gigawatt-hours by 2030.

Carbon Lighthouse announced on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, that it has raised a highly oversubscribed $27 million strategic growth round, which will allow the company to scale impact dramatically by growing its engineering teams and advancing its proprietary CLUES software to deliver more efficiency production to more buildings faster.

Pierre Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative is one of Carbon Lighthouse’s largest single investors—with $3 million contributed. Carbon Lighthouse shares Ulupono’s belief that Hawai‘i’s economic prosperity and environmental stewardship must work hand-in-hand, and its mission to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawai‘i for generations to come.

GRC SinoGreen led the growth round, with participation from JCI Ventures and SV Tech Ventures. Other investors include Tom Steyer’s Radicle Impact Partners; Steve Girsky, former vice chairman of GM; Ekistic Ventures; and JB Straubel, Tesla’s co-founder and current CTO, to name a few. They bring deep experience and expertise beyond funding that will ensure acceleration of Carbon Lighthouse’s business and mission, which focuses on eliminating the 40% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by wasted energy in buildings.

Don’t mistake this with your typical Silicon Valley series funding, which many startups pursue to keep the lights on and run their day-to-day business, said Carbon Lighthouse’s press release. “We aren’t trying to build a ‘flip’ company to get acquired or end with an IPO—we’re committed to solving the climate change conundrum for the next 150 years in Hawai‘i and beyond. We’re in it for the long haul, and this round provides additional capital to an already profitable business that has been growing faster than Moore’s Law.”

How Carbon Lighthouse is Helping A&B Cut Nearly 10K Tons of CO2 in Hawai‘i

In 2016, Carbon Lighthouse began its journey in Hawai‘i when Elemental Excelerator, a Honolulu and Palo Alto-based growth accelerator, awarded it funding and resources to further develop CLUES. The following year, in 2017, Carbon Lighthouse partnered with Alexander & Baldwin to reduce energy usage at Pearl Highlands Center, Kaka‘ako Commerce Center and Mānoa Marketplace, and to provide cost savings and increase real estate value. The company expects the upgrades to result in a reduction of more than 9,700 tons of carbon, which will save more than 22,600 barrels of oil throughout the life of these projects. The company’s work with A&B is just getting started and company officials say they look forward to working with them to roll out our services across their portfolio.

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New Carbon Lighthouse Honolulu Office Will Scale Impact

This year, Carbon Lighthouse opened its first office in Honolulu, led by two full-time account staff. As we nurture additional partnerships in the Islands, we hope to build this team to include several project engineers who can provide building assessments and focus on delivering value-driven carbon elimination to more and more businesses in Hawai‘i.

How Carbon Lighthouse is Tapping a $100B Market Opportunity in “Efficiency Reserves”

Across the U.S. non-residential building landscape, the company estimates that about $100 billion in wasted energy—”Efficiency Reserves”—exist because up to 55% of annual energy spend can be eliminated, using today’s technologies. The value escalates considerably when supply technologies, such as solar, are feasible onsite. Inspired by Big Oil, Carbon Lighthouse views Efficiency Reserves as another kind of valuable energy reserve. Carbon Lighthouse exists to extract and produce efficiency from the built environment, and to share that value with building owners.

Carbon Lighthouse created a data-obsessed approach that gets beyond the traditional barriers to climate progress, unlocking substantial profits for our clients and ourselves along the way. CLUES helps our engineers turn vast amounts of original data into actionable building upgrades without upfront costs or disruptive construction projects. Then the company continuously monitor performance and take ongoing action to correct the inevitable drift, guaranteeing the real dollar value for our clients.

After applying this approach—Efficiency Production—to more than 500 buildings across 16 states, including Hawai‘i, Carbon Lighthouse has already eliminated the emissions equivalent of six power plants, with nine more on the way.

“We are humbled to see that our proof of concept has become a ‘thing,’ as evidenced by this highly oversubscribed strategic growth round from great partners like Ulupono,” said Carbon Lighthouse’s press release.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humans have ever faced, and we won’t stop until the world reaches zero emissions,” the release concluded. “We’ve got the right people, and the right tools to achieve this—it’s time to get to work.”

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