Innovation That Matters

Green concierge reduces home's carbon footprint

Property & Construction

Last April when we wrote about an Australian firm called Todae that helps companies monitor their energy usage, we noted that many homeowners would likely use a similar service. Sure enough, one of our spotters found a London start-up called Green Homes Concierge which does just that. For GBP 199, Green Homes Concierge inspectors will come to a customer’s home, toting heat-detecting cameras and other devices to help them evaluate its leaks, wall insulation and appliances. Afterwards, the inspectors will recommend ways the home’s owner can reduce CO2 emissions, and hopefully save some money in the process. Significantly, GHC’s services don’t end there. For a full year the firm will act as a helpful concierge. Should customers wish to make the inspection’s recommended improvements, GHC will help them locate contractors and suppliers able to do the work or tell them where to buy low-energy light bulbs and other environmentally friendly items. That kind of handholding can be a big help, as anyone who has tried to negotiate with contractors can attest. GHC gets financial help from the London Development Agency, according to an article in the Guardian. The agency wants to reduce the city’s CO2 emissions by 500,000 tons by the decade’s end. And it has targeted homes for good reason. Collectively, the city’s homes produce 40 percent of London’s CO2 emissions. Without the city subsidy, GHC’s concierge services might cost several thousand pounds. GHC’s service could easily find a home in any reasonably affluent community. True, competing public and private services exist. In the US and elsewhere, for example, energy companies, with an eye on their own bottom lines, have long encouraged homeowners to reduce utility bills by offering counseling and rebates on fuel-efficient appliances. Also common are government tax breaks to encourage homeowners to invest in energy efficiency. But, sorting through the paperwork to qualify for rebates and tax breaks can be a major chore for homeowners. So who wouldn’t want an affordable concierge to handle the paperwork? And while start-ups modeled on GHC’s services might not benefit from the municipal subsidies available in London, the companies’ real income could come from commissions earned through contractor referrals as well as project management fees. Spotted by: Mark Boreland



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