Meet Enervee, the platform making energy efficiency actionable
Enervee is a clean technology company that combines data science, behavioral science, and digital marketing to drive better energy-related buying decisions across dozens of consumer product categories. Its Commerce platform, featuring Choice Engine technology and Eco Financing, eliminates longstanding barriers that prevent consumers from following through on their ambition to buy products that contribute to a clean energy future.
We caught up with Enervee CEO, Matthias Kurwig, to better understand how exactly the company is helping consumers cut their energy usage and save money, the benefits of its end-to-end online marketplace for retailers, and Enervee’s continued mission to deliver shopping behavior change at scale.
Can you tell us a bit about what your company does, what problems you solve for your customers, and what you are focusing on at the moment?
Matthias: Enervee is a venture-backed climate tech company founded in 2010, with a vision of achieving efficient shopping for all. Our focus has always been on eliminating barriers and empowering consumers to buy the energy efficient products they aspire to own. In fact, the vast majority of people are concerned about climate change and want to take action; Enervee makes it easy.
Enervee’s efficient shopping ecosystem, which relies on our Choice Engine, empowers utility customers to make better energy efficient choices and is proven to deliver shopping behavior change at scale. We do this by offering efficiency ratings, total cost of ownership, and price comparison across major retailers for over 40 product categories.
We recently unveiled our new transactional online marketplace, Enervee Commerce, where customers can purchase products spanning dozens of categories. Unlike Amazon, the site features a sophisticated Choice Engine® that makes it easy to identify and choose the most efficient products, as well as an Eco Financing® option, so shoppers can pay with no money down and low monthly payments.
With our new platform, we can scale reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and advance energy equity in tandem, which is our top priority.
How did you come up with the idea for Enervee?
Matthias: Don Epperson and I founded Enervee in 2010, because we both had a simple question in need of a simple answer: How can you make the most energy-smart buying decisions for your home? I had just moved to New York from Germany and was looking to make eco-friendly choices, but found it really difficult to identify the best products for my new apartment. This led Don and I to set out to make the complex simple – with data, technology and behavioral science. Finding the answer has meant not just creating the infrastructure from scratch to source, cleaning and curating the right data but fundamentally rethinking how and why we buy.
How does Enervee help consumers make more energy-smart choices?
Matthias: Enervee has orchestrated an efficient shopping ecosystem, in partnership with other market actors – from retailers and contractors to green banks and lenders – that eliminates barriers and empowers shoppers to purchase efficient products and related services via an online marketplace. By developing our proprietary Choice Engine technology we initially addressed a suite of market, cognitive and psychological barriers that make it nearly impossible to choose the most efficient products.
In 2021, we added Eco Financing into the online shopping experience to eliminate financial barriers. This is a global first and accomplishing it was a heavy lift and a big gamble for a small company. Enervee’s platform is currently deployed for many leading utilities operating in 16 US states and Canada, and will scale rapidly over the next year.
What is the Enervee Score®?
Matthias: The Enervee Score is a zero-to-100 energy efficiency index, dynamically assigned to each product model, taking into account the efficiency of all products offered for sale each day. The Enervee Score makes energy efficiency visible and actionable. If a refrigerator scores 100, for example, it’s the most energy efficient model available that day. But, as more efficient models enter the market over time, the same refrigerator model will receive a lower score.
Published research has shown that the Enervee Score serves as a visual shortcut to make it quick and easy to identify the best products and has been proven to result in more efficient choices. This is new to the energy efficiency world, which traditionally relied on rebates, rather than tackling the underlying obstacles that prevent people from buying efficient.
What is your Eco Financing program and who will it benefit?
Matthias: Eco Financing is an industry first. It allows customers to purchase energy efficient products with no money down and low monthly payments. Instead of having to cough up $1,000 for a new appliance at checkout, Eco Financing breaks the purchase into much more manageable $25 monthly payments.
Eco Financing was designed to bring the cost savings, health, and environmental benefits of energy efficiency to all. A critical aspect of achieving this goal was to design a program that could serve historically underrepresented communities. Specifically, low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities, those without access to credit and renters, which have adopted energy efficiency at lower rates due to the inherent upfront purchase price barrier of utility rebate programs.
In partnership with the California State Treasurer’s Office, which provides us with a loan guarantee fund, we are able to offer affordable financing to consumers with credit scores as low as 580, reaching a large demographic of borrowers that otherwise would not be able to secure financing. Since the launch of Eco Financing, 89% of purchases have been financed, 87% of loans have gone to underserved borrowers and 55% of borrowers have credit scores of 640 or lower. We’ve secured a similar loan guarantee from the State of New York and are working with DOE’s Loan Programs Office on a loan guarantee that will allow us to offer inclusive and affordable Eco Financing nationwide.
How does Enervee benefit sellers?
Matthias: Enervee is the marketplace merchant of record and marketplace sellers, like Best Buy, are our partners. They fulfill the orders and provide related services, such as delivery, installation, haul-away and recycling services. In addition, retailers can more easily achieve their sustainability goals and manufacturers are finally able to market their category-leading products on their efficiency credentials. In both cases, Eco Financing opens up a new market segment that otherwise could not afford efficient new appliances. We just conducted a survey and found that 69% of those who paid with Eco Financing wouldn’t have been able to buy the efficient product they did without it.
What do you look for in an investor? What makes Future Energy Ventures different?
Matthias: It’s important to us that our partners, including our investors, share our mission of increasing energy efficiency and accelerating decarbonization. Beyond that we see Europe as our next market and Future Energy Ventures is ideally positioned to support this expansion.
Future Energy Ventures’ view on Enervee
Appliances are a huge factor in driving down energy usage and CO2 emissions. Moving the needle here however requires reaching and influencing millions of consumers at the same time and in the same direction. When we got to know Enervee and their mission to enable consumers to better understand energy efficiency when it comes to appliances and cars, we knew that we found the right team to build a platform to affect that change in purchase decision making. Over the years, Enervee has developed a deep insight into tens of thousands of products and made these insights available to consumers in a very simple way. The fact that the Enervee score is continuously updated with the latest data keeps the insights highly relevant and up-to-date. Eco Financing is the final building block to make the insights actionable for a large part of the population and the numbers confirm what Matthias and the team knew all along: if you give people the information and a path to take action, they will make the right decision to save energy and the planet.
We could not be prouder of the Enervee team around Matthias for tackling one of the key issues of our world early on and solving it with the power of mass adoption.