Bloomberg, Cornell Tech, & Tech:NYC invite you to join us for the latest installment of the Cornell Tech @ Bloomberg Speaker Series, featuring Donnel Baird, Founder & CEO of BlocPower, in conversation with Caroline Hyde, host of Bloomberg Television's flagship daily technology show.
The child of Guyanese immigrants, Baird grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in an apartment without well-functioning heating & cooling systems. The experience of huddling around a gas stove for heat - & his background as a community organizer - surfaced what he saw as an urgent problem: The impacts of climate change will hit low-income communities & neighborhoods with aging building infrastructure hardest.
Those early realizations led to the inception of BlocPower, a climate technology company founded in 2014, that finances & installs green home & commercial building upgrades. In 2021, BlocPower inked a partnership with the City of Ithaca, NY, to retrofit its entire building stock of more than 6,000 buildings by 2030, making it the first large-scale, citywide electrification initiative in the U.S. Last year, the company announced a similar retrofit project for 10,000 buildings in Menlo Park, CA, as well as several other large-scale decarbonization initiatives in Denver, Oakland, & San Jose. BlocPower also recently expanded its AI-powered software platform, BlocMaps, for use by municipalities & utilities to analyze & plan data-driven strategies for sustainability initiatives.
In addition to its retrofitting technologies, Baird has also designed the startup's growth model to be an engine for workforce development. In 2022, the company won a $108 million contract with the NYC Office of the Mayor to train 3,000 New York City residents for green economy jobs. Last fall, BlocPower opened two new training facilities in Brooklyn & the Bronx to kickstart training & job placement programs for 1,700 workers.
We hope you'll join us for this conversation, in which Baird will discuss how his childhood apartment inspired his founder's journey, the tech sector's role in accelerating emissions reductions goals in cities, how to make tech tools accessible to low-income communities, & what it will take to green up urban infrastructure nationwide.