For all the focus on carbon pollution produced by shipping and aviation, some of the most challenging to abate will probably be residential buildings. In the U.S., housing units stand an average of 130 years before they’re torn down, according to a recent study.

Homes and apartment buildings built 100 years ago, or even 30 years ago, are woefully underprepared for the energy transition. More often than not, their major mechanical systems rely on fossil fuels, their electrical systems are undersized, and their walls and windows are leaky and poorly insulated.

All that can make for housing that’s less comfortable and less efficient than it needs to be.

Nearly a decade ago, Donnel Baird realized that in many cases, paying for retrofits like this can be cost-prohibitive, requiring a lump sum payment upfront. Even though the benefits might accrue over the years, it was a hurdle many owners couldn’t or didn’t want to cross.

So he founded BlocPower, which has been chipping away at the problem for nearly a decade, developing a roster of projects to prove its retrofit-as-a-service business model that’s focused on low-income communities. This week, it announced that it had raised nearly $25 million in equity and $130 million in debt financing.

The Series B round was led by VoLo Earth Ventures and joined by Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Credit Suisse, Builders Vision, New York State Ventures, Unreasonable Collective, Kimbal and Christiana Musk, Gaingels, Van Jones, Kapor Capital, My Climate Journey, Tale Venture Partners and NBA star Russell Westbrook. Debt financing was led by Goldman Sachs.


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