There’s roughly $50 billion in excess energy usage leaking out through the roofs of more than 35 million homes across the United States.
Those wasted dollars aren’t just bad for consumers’ wallets, they’re also a significant contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet.
Home heating and cooling represents about 20% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and reducing that figure is a solvable problem.
Founded in 2012, Sealed has a simple pitch to customers. They’ll take care of upgrading homes with new insulation, air sealing, LED lights, smart thermostats and new heating ventilation and cooling technology and their customers only spend money if Sealed is reducing their energy consumption.
The team behind the company couldn’t be stronger. Andy Frank, Sealed’s co-founder and president, spent the last 14 years working on bringing better energy efficiency to the built environment. When he and Lauren Salz, Sealed’s chief executive, met on Angel List they knew they had the team to tackle the climate crisis by giving consumers a better deal.
A former McKinsey consultant, Salz was looking for her next opportunity and found it in Frank’s attempt to boost building efficiency.
Both founders are deeply committed to providing solutions to the climate crisis and they’re both aware that improving energy efficiency is one of the easiest steps individuals can take to achieve that goal. And it seemed that the home retrofit market was a dinosaur was ripe for innovation.
“We are going to be the default way in driving homes off of fossil fuels,” Salz told us recently.
Even the Biden Administration has funding for initiatives like Sealed’s baked into its infrastructure spending package.
As Frank wrote in a recent opinion piece for “The Hill”, there’s $213 billion allocated to retrofit more than 2 million homes.
“No objective is more important to U.S. climate goals,” Frank wrote.
“Government money alone is not enough. The Biden plan’s success depends on three things: better appliance standards, incentives for private companies to make home-energy upgrades and much more funding to low-income communities. Only then will we be able to take every home off fossil fuels.”
Currently operating out of the Northeast, where 76% of homes are thirty years old or older, the Sealed is planning to use its latest funding (and potentially money from the stimulus package) to expand across the U.S.
And the services Sealed offers do more than just reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting energy consumption, they also work to ensure grid reliability and avoid the risk of outages and blackouts.
“A widespread blackout during an intense heat wave may be the deadliest climate-related event we can imagine,” Brian Stone Jr., a professor at the School of City & Regional Planning at Georgia Institute of Technology told the Times. And those scenarios seem to be increasingly likely, he said.
Sealed’s customers seem to be embracing the company’s pitch and doing their part to stave off these types of catastrophes. The company saw its year-over-year growth increase 167% between 2019 and 2020 and folks are spending more with Sealed. The company’s contracts bumped up 1.5 times over the pre-pandemic 2019–2020 year.
With energy partners like ConEd, National Grid, NYSEG and PSEG Long Island and backers including the New York Green Bank and Munich Re, the company has credit on its books to handle the upfront costs of upgrades.
The type of work that Sealed is doing can’t happen soon enough. At the current pace, it’ll take 500 years to upgrade every home in the US, and every day these leaks aren’t plugged and appliances aren’t upgraded is another day that more fossil fuels are being burned unnecessarily.
Think about this, roughly 97% of American homes haven’t been fully modernized.
That’s one reason we’re so interested in the company. And we’re not alone.
Sealed’s new $16 million funding round includes the top real estate investment firm, Fifth Wall Ventures, and savvy investors including Cyrus Capital, and CityRock Ventures.