In step for tomorrow
Next Step Living™ is one of New England’s fastest-growing businesses. Geoff Chapin, founder and CEO, explains how collaborating with National Grid has been a catalyst for the firm’s exceptional growth – and also helped tens of thousands of people make smarter use of energy in their homes.
In step for tomorrow
“The more people we partner with, the more data we can accumulate and the more insightful and effective our service becomes.”
Geoff Chapin, founder and CEO of Next Step Living™
Next Step Living™ helped to reduce New England’s carbon footprint by 400 kilotons in 2012 alone.
Source: Next Step Living™
In simple terms, Next Step LivingTM is a one-stop resource for homeowners who want to be energy-efficient. We offer in-home consultations, insulation, efficient heating systems, solar, and windows, along with guidance about incentives and rebates. In just three years we’ve helped over 40,000 homeowners take action.
In 2012 alone, our services reduced the carbon footprint of New Englanders by more than 400 kilotons, which is equivalent to taking more than 4,000 cars off the road, planting more than 9.3 million trees or not using the coal from a coal train 24 miles long. Put another way, this translates into $100 million in savings on homeowner utility bills over the next 20 years.
We couldn’t have done it alone. A big part of our success has been due to the relationships we’ve built with community partners like National Grid, with whom we were introduced via venture capital firm Vantage Point. We did a pilot with National Grid and fellow utility NSTAR in 2009, consisting of 100 home energy audits that went on to generate great results and a lot of follow-on work. On the strength of that, National Grid changed its programme to allow Next Step LivingTM and other providers to participate as home performance contractors.
Since then, the utility has helped us reinforce the importance of home energy efficiency to a larger audience, and we’ve helped raise awareness of the utility-backed Mass Save® programme. Together, we are educating more homeowners, more quickly, for more results. A significant achievement was Renew Boston, a major green initiative in the city involving a series of home energy assessments, efficiency upgrades and weatherisation programmes for middle income folks across the city.
Such partnerships also have a direct impact on the economy as a whole, creating more of what we call ‘green-collar’ careers – those in the environmental sectors of the economy. In 2008, we started with five employees and now have 502 full-time and 140 part-time employees. This year alone, we’ve increased our real estate space from 7,000 to 17,000 square feet. We now count more than 500 utilities, municipalities, civic organisations and leading companies as partners too, and we’re all drawing on each others’ expertise.
The lesson of Next Step LivingTM is that the more people and organisations work together – rather than independently – the better the outcome. The more people we partner with, the more data we can accumulate and the more insightful and effective our service becomes.
Collaborating with National Grid has helped us go to market and provide more efficient energy solutions to more people than ever before. And in a part of the world where the winters are very cold and the summers are very hot, that’s a good outcome for everybody.