Let’s talk about room air conditioners for a minute or two. Most room AC units are bought when the old one dies, and not a minute before. The consumer runs down to the big box retailer and buys something cheap and fast. But sadly, by avoiding higher up-front costs, the consumer has just bought a stream of unfortunately high utility bills too.
When the room AC dies, the consumer calls 1-800-BetterAC. Within hours an energy-saving room AC is delivered. It is easy to install, needs no special tools and is running in under 30 minutes. Also it’s energy efficient: the consumer just purchased 60% energy savings over the previous room AC.
There are no up-front costs. The payment plan for the room AC is based on hours used. The user just puts in $20 and gets 80 hours of cooling time. Eventually the user pays off the AC unit and can use it without additional payments.
OR, What if…
The consumer agrees to pay $20 per month for 8 years. The room AC will last more than 15 years, so the last 7 years are free. And again, no up-front payments.
These are not just musings here at GLYNT, but actual problems we’re tackling. GLYNT is at the start of a two-year grant-funded project to develop and implement these new buying journeys and payment plans. The grant, “Innovative Low GHG Residential Space Conditioning Technologies”, was awarded by the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) of the state of California to GLYNT, Treau EPRI and Otherlab. We also have local support from the City of Modesto, CA and the Central Valley Opportunity Center.
In this grant GLYNT will be developing “Blueprints for Energy Innovators: How to Design Energy-Saving and Renewable Energy Products for Low Income and Disadvantaged Communities.” We’ll be looking at the intersection of product design, user experience, buying journey and financing, detailing the “must haves” and the “don’t dos.” The grant will be bringing them to life in hundreds of homes in Modesto, CA over the next two years.
Our goal is to flip the energy innovation paradigm. Instead of starting with a high-priced appliance that only the upper-middle class can afford, and then working down to the middle-class with price cuts and utility subsidies, let’s design for the mass market of consumers who demand affordable products and innovative financing.
When we wrote the grant application, California was booming. While the SGC has been thoughtfully focused on bringing innovation and deployments to the Central Valley, most energy innovators have not. And now, with Covid-19 shaking up our economy, the perspective has changed. If we don’t design energy-saving products for affordability and financing from the start, no one will be able to adopt the energy-saving innovation. This grant opportunity is more important than ever. Thank you SGC!
During the next two years we’ll be:
- Deploying 20 Treau room ACs in Modesto, CA [Summer 2020]
- Monitoring the usage data
- Researching and writing the Blueprint for the Buying Journey
- Research and writing the Blueprint for Scalable Finance Solutions
- Deploying 200 Treau room ACs in Modesto, CA [Summer 2021]
- Monitoring a second, larger panel of usage data
- Bringing all the insights together into our final reports [March, 2022]
If you are interested in following our progress, join our email list below.
If you are a financing partner, product innovator or community-based energy team and would like to collaborate on this project, contact us here.
We love the Treau, it is gorgeous and a game-changer. And it is just one of a series of energy-saving and innovative GHG-reducing technologies that have streamed out of OtherLab. Saul Griffth, the founder of OtherLab, has proposed a sweeping climate change solution that deploys these and similar technologies in homes across America. You can read our take on his Audacious Idea here, and learn more about Saul’s new book (and get a free preview of the first three chapters), In Climate Emergency, Break Glass here. Our work on the Blueprints helps to lay the foundation for large-scale climate change solutions he captured in the Audacious Idea. We are eager to improve every home and every community in America.
Happy Earth Day!