San Francisco-based Carbon Lighthouse develops energy efficiency solutions for a variety of building types. The benefits of a Carbon Lighthouse project include the reduction of a building’s energy costs and its impact on the environment. Since 2010, the company has completed 86 projects, reducing carbon emissions by more than 20,000 tons and saving customers, on average, $2.84 per square foot.
The company uses proprietary tools to analyze energy usage data that is collected from the building’s systems, allowing Carbon Lighthouse to deliver the lowest-impact solution for making the building carbon neutral. This may involve a combination of the items below. Purchase and installation of expensive new major hardware systems is never required.
- Rescheduling of utility equipment and resizing of pumps and fans
- Installation of cost effective variable frequency drives for the building electromechanical equipment
- Optimization of HVAC systems
- Installation of renewable energy generation sources
- Purchase of carbon allowance retirements
The company serves utility and commercial properties of all sizes. This represents a significant market opportunity, as commercial buildings are responsible for 20% percent of all U.S. energy consumption. The majority of Carbon Lighthouse’s projects have involved small- to medium-sized commercial properties, ranging in size from 20,000 to 500,000 square feet. This market segment is underserved due to the sheer number of these types of properties. Furthermore, efficiency does not receive the same level of publicity that other renewable energy resources receive. Carbon Lighthouse is making a deliberate effort to educate the public-at-large about the role that improving energy efficiency has in our collective effort to reduce energy consumption.
Carbon Lighthouse distinguishes itself from its competition by approaching each opportunity as a systems integration project instead of by offering individual efficiency products. The result is that the company’s clients receive the highest possible return on their efficiency improvements. Carbon Lighthouse collects data on the energy-usage and operating characteristics of each set of building utilities. It then analyzes the data to develop a solution treats the utilities as an integrated system. Clients end up with a carbon-neutral property that relies on low-impact utility optimization instead of installation of entire new systems.
The company recently integrated its sales and engineering efforts into a formalized process. The cycle has seven steps, starting with customer acquisition and ending in solution implementation. This process allows Carbon Lighthouse to leverage its systems integration approach. By analyzing each step in the process, the company has identified focus areas for customer acquisition and sales growth. Currently, one such focus item is improving the conversion of customer leads into on-site visits in which efficiency opportunities can be identified. Once potential customers understand the how optimization translates into real savings, the probability of that customer executing on his or her environmental interests becomes much more realistic.
Carbon Lighthouse has acquired most of its clients by networking at sustainability events and establishing relationships with local real estate groups. It recently hired a Director of Business Development and has increased its social media activity. But more importantly, Carbon Lighthouse is generating interest by educating the public about the benefits of energy efficiency. It has done this by hosting webinars and presenting at energy conferences. It is generating publicity in other forms of media. The Director of Engineering was published in the January 8, 2013 edition of Forbes, and the company has been featured in a local TV report and in a Bloomberg television spot. As efficiency awareness increases, Carbon Lighthouse’s market will grow.