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Building sustainable communities with energy-saving solutions
greeNEWit is a sustainable development and environmental consulting company based in Columbia, MD. With an approach that integrates planning, brand partnerships, and technology, greeNEWit helps homeowners, businesses, and government agencies save energy and natural resources to build sustainable communities and economies. The EPA recently named the company ENERGY STAR 2016 Contractor of the Year. greeNEWit’s chief innovation officer Matej Harangozo, chief communicating officer Jason Jannati, and managing partner Josh Notes joined citybizlist for this interview.
What is special about greeNEWit and what differentiates it from competitors like ECOBECO, ICF international, BGE Home, Minnicks and other home performance companies?
JASON JANNATI: greeNEWit’s mission is to redevelop real estate to produce power and grow food. We feel like there’s a lot of value locked into the built environment that can be unlocked by clean tech and social innovation, and our job is to renew it with the built environment. We see ourselves as a tech-enabled service company that is moving towards owning and operating real estate in addition to that service offering.
Are you a software company, a service company, or both?
JASON JANNATI: The software we built was for an internal efficiency we needed for scaling the amount of site visits and scope development we are doing of real estate, so it really was born out of an operational need, and we have a funny story for that, but we felt there had to be a better way to collect data and generate work scopes for our business than writing things down more than one time.
MATEJ HARANGOZO: I would definitely agree that now we are a service-based company more so than software. We started out with software in a way to experiment and test the market to see how it can benefit either us or people in our industry and we ended up taking it back in-house to give us a little bit of competitive advantage, but make the world around us a better place as well.
JASON JANNATI: When we first started doing a lot of the energy audits we were out there, and I will take credit for coming back and complaining the loudest, but growing up in the age and the time that we did, we knew there had to be a more technological-enabled solution than writing things down on paper or this very redundant process that was kind of the industry standard. The funny story is I just came back and complained a loud and long enough to these guys that there had to be a better way, and after a while, once we started hitting enough volume, they said, “Okay, there’s enough time and energy put towards this and we realize”—how much did we save per unit?
JOSH NOTES: About 90% of the operational action or human resources were saved from an administrative standpoint. So, that really gave us the leverage to cut into the industry, start scaling up and really focus on our customers as opposed to our paperwork.
Are most customers using greeNEWit to save money on energy or environmental reasons?
JASON JANNATI: I think there has been a huge environmental movement, that we have been standing on those folks shoulders, that maybe started in the 60s and 70s, got out a little bit in the 80s, and came back again. We were part of maybe the second or third wave but what we were pitching is not sit in the dark and count blades of grass, but rather use your systems more efficiently. Let’s not waste any energy, and if possible, let’s produce our power locally and use it more efficiently rather than getting it from far away with found resources and things that are finite.
MATEJ HARANGOZO: I think that environmental movement would certainly help our cause at greeNEWit and help the company scale, but I think we also learned how to leverage other micromovements. I believe that the more the homeowners get exposed to how their home works, because they’re able to play with an app that sets their temperature on a daily basis or can turn on and off their lights or their toaster—literally—they’ll become more conscious at least from a financial standpoint and say, “Well, this costs me money. I see why and I can see I can do something about it very easily because I already enjoy holding this phone on a daily basis”—that’s an example. There are others that we can leverage—other educational movements or industry movements. For example, in the food industry we want to integrate vertically with the local, healthy growing of food within our communities but as well as take multiple movements to make people realize what they’re putting in their bodies is just as important as the energy that they’re using or the cars they’re driving. It takes couple of different industry movements to make people realize to put all the pieces together to make greeNEWit successful at the end.
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