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[Episode #80] – Building Infrastructure as a Service

If you owned a building, or a long-term lease on a commercial space, would you rather shop for your own building infrastructure—things like HVAC systems—or would you rather buy it as a subscription service from a trusted utility or power provider? Our guest in this episode offers the latter, and it’s an intriguing model for how we might upgrade the equipment for commercial and industrial buildings. There are reasons why 68% of the HVAC equipment in commercial buildings in the US is nearly three decades old and in need of replacement, and those reasons are about the cost, complexity, and difficulty involved in that kind of procurement. Wouldn’t it be better if you could call up your local utility and ask them to upgrade your equipment, using their network of trusted and reputable equipment experts and installers, and then just paid them a small amount for the use of that equipment every month, rather than having to pay thousands of dollars for it up front and taking all of the performance risk upon yourself? From high-efficiency lighting, to HVAC controls and sensors, to other energy-consuming building equipment, Sparkfund offers a subscription approach to procurement backed by a no-risk guarantee, which could unlock a huge opportunity to improve the efficiency of our commercial and industrial building systems more quickly than we do under the status quo.

Guest: Pier LaFarge is the Founder and CEO of Sparkfund, and is an experienced entrepreneur and changemaker. At ICF International, he co-founded a new ICF service offering focused on energy efficiency finance strategy. Pier also has experience in financial analysis, working on a major evaluation of loan financing modalities employed by the World Bank under its Climate Investment Fund program. In 2010, he founded Race to Replace, a statewide clean energy focused voter registration campaign in Vermont in partnership with League of Conservation Voters.

On Twitter: @Sparkfunder

On the Web:  www.sparkfund.com

Recording date: August 23, 2018

Air date: October 17, 2018

Geek rating: 2