Posted in news on February 21, 2017 6:18 am EST

SparkFund Drives Adoption of Increased Energy Efficiency

How do you help keep your commerical clients, including churches, from being susceptible to out-of-control maintenance costs, system failure and energy waste? Washington, D.C.-based SparkFund offers up a solution -- and a relevant church case study.


 

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TAGS: energy efficiency, finance, funding, sustainability, worship spaces,

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By Erica Cottrill

Commercial companies are facing greater operational and financial burdens than ever before, according to SparkFund, a Washington, D.C.-based financial technology company. They are susceptible to out-of-control maintenance costs, system failure and energy waste, the company reports. With energy costs on the rise, commercial clients, including churches in the institutional sector, must find creative solutions to offset rising energy bills. Many are unaware of the opportunity to tap hidden energy savings.

Much like Software-as-a-Service, SparkFund's goal is to pioneer the way customers access energy by bundling together equipment installation, use and ongoing maintenance into a single operating expense.

Efficiency-as-a-Service is transforming the role of energy management. SparkFund reports, and it has come up with a solution to change the way energy technology is bought and sold. SparkFund’s leadership team, with expertise in financial technology in the energy space, capitalized on the lack of a customer-centric approach to transform commercial buildings into efficient spaces, and came up with a model that gives commercial customers access to energy efficiency in a simplified, cost effective way. Savings are substantial, often ranging from 10%-30% across the board.

Energy-solution model

Much like Software-as-a-Service, SparkFund's goal is to pioneer the way customers access energy by bundling together equipment installation, use and ongoing maintenance into a single operating expense. When companies sell energy efficiency as a service, it allows smaller businesses to access technologically advanced equipment that may be too expensive to invest in. Through SparkFund’s As-a-Service model, customers get the benefits of ownership without the complications because the solution is all-inclusive for a set fee. There are no upfront costs. For energy technology providers, SparkFund provides the financing that streamlines payment plans -- businesses pay through monthly installments -- and helps these businesses with everything from contracts to billing to sales training.

“When we walked through a typical audit and project process for a simple LED lighting retrofit we realized just how many decisions were required by the customer. We thought, there has to be an easier way,” says SparkFund CMO Angela Ferrante. “It was a major validation when, after a few months of offering As-a-Service style contracts, the average customer acceptance rate was four times greater than with typical device sale projects.”

Small- and medium-sized facilities are SparkFund’s primary focus. They look to enable smart integrated buildings with technology that monitors building usage and occupancy. These facilites draw insights about how to best utilize the space and technology in it.

Moving forward

The innovative model is opening new doors to energy-efficient technologies across the country, SparkFund reports. Its As-a-Service platform offers commercial customers a clear path towards greater efficiency. “The model can fundamentally change how we think about buying and implementing technology in buildings, impacting the broader economy,” says Ferrante. “We’ll see spaces that are more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, and the people in them will be happier and more productive.”

SparkFund announced the close of a $7-million Series B investment with Energy Impact Partners and will continue to connect with new strategic partners in the energy and utility spaces.

To date, SparkFund reports completing nearly 100 projects with customers in 42 states, saving commercial customers an average of $42,000 annually on their energy bills. These projects have cut more than 182,000 tons in greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the emissions generated by powering 24,000 U.S. homes for a year, according to the company.

Case Study: First Pentecostal Church Upgrades to State-of-the-Art LEDs

Challenge

New Orleans-based first Pentecostal Church has a rich history of community and congregational initiatives. In 2013 the church celebrated its 55th anniversary. Like many historic churches, the building’s upgrade of older, pre-existing technology presented an excellent cost-saving opportunity. The facility was underlit in several critical spaces for the church, which created lighting output and temperature issues throughout the building. A lighting upgrade for the entire building required thousands of dollars of upfront costs -- a factor that would greatly reduce financial resources for the church’s ongoing congregational initiatives.

Solution

LightEdison and Sean Bernard Construction created a retrofit solution that would include 380 fixture upgrades, replacement fixtures and replacement lamps, and it was expected to generate savings of $56,230 over a 10-year period. A Lighting Service Agreement with SparkFund allowed First Pentecostal to proceed with the lighting upgrade without zero out-of-pocket expense and monthly savings from day one.

 

 

 

 

Learn more about the companies in this story:

SparkFund

 

 

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