Josh Lake & David Richardson – Elephant Energy Founders – November 2022
We’re on a mission to build a sustainable planet by electrifying everything, starting with homes.
Why? Because humans have a narrow window of about 10 years to make real progress on the energy transition before our planet becomes unrecognizable. Electrifying Everything in our homes (think space heating, water heating, clothes drying, and cooking) is a keystone of the decarbonization puzzle, though so far this space is what we often largely overlook. We started Elephant Energy with a clear purpose: dramatically accelerate progress towards full residential electrification.
So, how did we get here?
Rewind to 2007. We met working at a strategy consulting firm in Boston, but left within two years as we both wanted to dedicate our careers to a more impactful mission than advising large telecom and media companies. For both of us, our mission’s focus is on the environment and the energy transition. DR went on to build a sustainable investment firm, and Josh became a climatetech 1.0 entrepreneur/operator.
Since that time (26 years, combined!), we have invested in and built companies at the forefront of the Electrify Everything movement: solar energy, electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and more. And through this work, it’s become clear to us that there are Four Pillars to the Clean Energy Transition. In order to reach net zero by 2050, we must:
- Deploy (much!) more wind and solar (rooftop and utility-scale).
- Manage the volatility of wind and solar (the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow).
- Transition 100% of new vehicle sales to EVs (kick that gas habit).
- Transition 100% of new building appliances to electric (#ElectrifyEverything — think heating/cooling, water heating, cooking, etc.).
If we can do those four things over the next 10 years, we will be on a path to reduce carbon emissions by more than 75% and thus we will have a fighting chance at staving off the worst impacts of climate change. Otherwise, other emerging tech (green hydrogen, carbon capture and sequestration, etc), won’t matter because it will be too late. If we don’t meaningfully accelerate the pace of our progress against these four pillars now, our planet will look very different in as little as 10 years.
Of the above pillars, the #ElectrifyEverything movement is by far the biggest laggard and contributes about one-third of total carbon emissions. The crazy thing is, there is no reason to wait: we already have all of the hardware and technology we need to electrify homes: heat pumps, induction stoves, rooftop solar, electric vehicles and heat pump water heaters. And these electric technologies are truly better for consumers: more comfortable, more affordable, healthier, and safer.
So far, a platform does not exist at scale that meaningfully reduces carbon emissions from homes. With this in mind, we are building Elephant Energy — a company on a mission to tackle this overlooked sector and #ElectrifyEverything, starting with homes. Climate change is the elephant in the room, and we can’t afford to wait.
Why should we Electrify Everything?
Today, most water and homes are heated with natural “fossil” gas (aka the super potent greenhouse gas methane) or other fossil fuels (propane, fuel oil, etc.). Most vehicles are powered by gasoline and diesel. And most of our outdoor appliances and power tools run on gasoline.
There is a better way. We must Electrify … Everything! And FAST!
Let’s break it down:
The first step is upgrading the “stuff” we use everyday. At Elephant Energy, we’re specifically focused on the infrastructure and technologies (HVAC and appliances) that power our homes (some of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels). Converting these systems is particularly challenging because it relies on convincing each individual homeowner — there are 121 million homes in the United States alone — to make the choice to switch and upgrade to all electric appliances.
Let’s define Electrify Everything:
Electrify → Replacing something that consumes fossil fuels (gasoline, diesel, propane, fuel oil, methane / natural “fossil” gas, etc.) with an electric version.
Everything → Heating systems, water heaters, clothes dryers, vehicles, and stoves. And lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and even chainsaws.
The “Power House”
In parallel, we need to “Cleanify” the energy sources powering Everything by transitioning to 100% renewable (and nuclear) energy. You may have heard this referred to as “greening the grid.” When we both Cleanify and Electrify, we massively reduce carbon emissions.
A question that some folks have when they think about this is, “Why does it matter if we transition to all electric appliances, if we don’t yet have 100% clean energy to fuel them with?” To that we say, – Electrifying in and of itself is still critical! Even with the energy mix of our current grid, modern electric systems would emit less carbon than their natural gas counterparts in nearly every U.S. household. Electric technologies are also much more efficient, as they consume less than one third of the energy that gas systems require.
And, every new fossil gas appliance that is installed (instead of electric) locks in another 15 years of higher emissions. Last, as we continue to Cleanify our energy sources, electric technology’s ability to reduce carbon will only be amplified.
Electrifying Everything has many other benefits that can greatly improve our daily lives. Here are just a few.
Direct benefits to homeowners:
- Cost savings – electric appliances are significantly less expensive to operate, resulting in thousands of dollars of cost savings to homeowners.
- Increased home comfort – fewer hot and cold spots and less noise.
- Improved indoor air quality – burning methane in your home (including your fossil gas-powered stove!) leads to 42% higher rates of childhood asthma.
- Reduced noise pollution – we’re looking at you, old HVAC units and gas leaf blowers!
- Increased peace of mind – you get to sleep easier knowing that you’ve made a decision that supports progress on the climate transition.
Broader societal / environmental benefits:
- Further reduced methane emissions – by minimizing the production of natural gas, thus reducing leakage from both fracking and pipelines.
- Energy independence – deploying wind turbines and solar panels locally reduces our dependence on foreign energy.
For more, see WTF is Electrify Everything?
What We Need: A Scalable Platform, Purpose-Built to Electrify Everything
We’re building something unique: a team, culture, MOVEMENT, and platform that will unlock the Electrification of Everything. We just raised $3.5M from a great group of investors who believe in our vision and will help us scale our early successes.
Image Credit: Rewiring America
What we’re building:
A One-Stop Shop:
Electrification requires the coordination of multiple trades — HVAC, plumbing, electrical — and other specialty contractors like drywall, insulation, and air sealing. We’re bringing it all under one roof to radically simplify the process for homeowners. No more pain from vetting and organizing multiple contractors. We help you design a system to meet your individual goals and needs, maximize incentives/rebates, manage the install and permits, and even offer financing
Software Tools to Simplify The Process:
Our digital-first experience makes it easy to streamline and simplify the process of upgrading your home. Our tools enable our contractor partners to electrify better, using building science to make better decisions instead of relying on typical contractor “rules of thumb.” And once projects are operational, we’re here to ensure the optimal performance of your systems via our monitoring and service platform.
Your Home’s Electrification Roadmap:
Electrify your home all at once — or over time. Most of your home’s systems don’t need to be replaced simultaneously. Instead, we help you create a custom roadmap for your home, so that you can electrify as your systems age and become ready for retirement. This allows you to avoid the midnight emergency water heater replacements that always leave you wondering if you’re getting ripped off. Instead, you can be proactive and make the best decisions for your home and your family.
Curious about your home’s electrification roadmap? Get yours here.
How we’re approaching it:
Great People and Partners:
There’s just something different when you show up for work every day with a greater purpose in mind. Our team and the community of teams we partner with care deeply about the climate, making modern electric technologies accessible and affordable, and having fun.
We are committed to bringing down the cost of installations and improving the homeowner experience through better solution design, internal systems, and processes. Our motto is always be learning! #ABL
Build a Movement:
In the wild, elephants are the trailblazers — their travel clears the paths for others who follow behind them. This is what we are doing here at Elephant Energy: showing every day that electrification can be done, that it can be done at scale, and that we can lead the way by helping homeowners design their own paths.
And when we’re successful?
There is real impact to be had!
- Millions of outdated fossil gas technologies recycled (and many fossil gas systems entirely capped).
- Millions of homeowners benefiting from comfortable and healthy all-electric homes.
- Millions of good-paying jobs in the trades.
- A national brand radically simplifying home upgrades.
And … a MASSIVE dent in climate change by directly eliminating millions of tons of emissions.
Ambitious? Absolutely. Necessary? Abso-freaking-lutely!!!
We’ve built our careers around the idea that change only happens through the collective effort of stubborn problem-solving. We want to have a HUGE IMPACT. And we firmly believe that transitioning to electric technologies is a win-win-win: better for our planet, our health, and our homes.
We’re super proud of the team we’ve built, the homeowners we’ve helped electrify, and the installer-partners who have helped us deliver projects. But, this is just the beginning. It’s time to build!
Your partners in electrification,
–Josh & DR
Join the Herd: If you are a homeowner interested in transitioning from fossil fuels to modern electric technologies, a future employee looking to make a leap in their career, or a future contractor-partner hoping to evolve and grow your business, please email us at hello@ElephantEnergy.com! #JoinTheHerd #ElectrifyEverything