It’s not that hard to make new buildings greener; it’s the ones already built that are a big problem. That’s where a startup like Sustainable Spaces comes in — the company founded by Matt Golden in 2004 will analyze your home and sell various green retrofits, like better insulation and more-efficient heating and cooling systems. This morning the company said it had raised $6 million in its first round of venture funds from RockPort Capital Partners and Shasta Ventures.
Golden previously told us that the company had been scaling up and had been working on this first round for the past few months. The team has now grown to several dozen employees, and earlier this year took seed capital from angel investors Blueshift Partners. Also unusual for a cleantech startup: Sustainable Spaces says it’s already profitable.
Home retrofits are exactly the kind of low-tech solution that get less attention but will make real differences in climate change. Golden says with houses responsible for a little under a quarter of U.S. emissions, leaky heating and cooling ducts could account for as much as 2 to 3 percent of electricity used in the U.S. Sustainable Spaces can reduce an existing home’s energy expenditure by 10 to 50 percent, Golden says; the startup has done around 400 retrofits in the Bay Area.
For now, though, there are a few hurdles to the green home retrofit market. First it can be seen as a luxury for higher-end home owners. Sure your energy bill will go down, but it could be hard to convince a family with a variety of bills to pay to invest in leaky air ducts first. Then there’s the regulatory market, which hasn’t really stepped up to encourage retrofits. Golden would like to see more incentives for energy efficiency remakes.