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Scaling up Energy Efficiency

How can buildings perform to their maximum potential? Why efficiency hasn’t scaled yet? 

In his podcast series The Change Officer, CreITive's CEO MENA Vuk Zlatarov talked with the Founder of Taka Solutions on how to put together technology, engineering, and finance for a more sustainable planet.

Charles Blaschke IV is on a mission to reduce the world’s energy consumption by 20% with energy efficiency — optimizing building energy use acros the UAE. He launched Taka Solutions in 2012, with the aim to address the waste of energy in the region caused by the poor and unhealthy construction of buildings in the UAE.

Taka Solutions offers a very innovative business model, reducing the waste of energy in existing buildings while getting paid a portion of the savings.

In other words, the owners of the building don’t have to pay anything. They take no risks, they don’t have to know anything about energy efficiency. Taka Solutions team just does its thing, while the owners get a better building AND a bunch of money. Taka Solutions team only gets paid if the owner saved money and they’re helping our planet in the process.

An innovative and risk-free business model that sounds too good to be true

But it is true - and it works. Charles, the Founder of Taka, said in the episode of The Change Officer podcast that they have always wanted to offer this finance model because their goal is to scale impact and make a difference in the world.

When they started to explore, they realized buildings do consume way too much energy. If buildings can save 50% of the energy, that’s 20% of the world’s energy and carbon saved very easily - with easy technologies and easy equipment that exists today. Taka Solutions didn’t want someone’s budget or capital to stand in the way of them making that impact.

The business model seems flawless:

  • They provide the owners the technology to reduce the energy spending.
  • They provide the engineering to orchestrate all that to happen.
  • And they engineer it, plus finance it for the owners; while getting paid only a portion of the savings.

So what's in the way? Why doesn't every building owner say 'yes' to this opportunity?

"What’s in the way? So after all these years, I kind of came to this conclusion and the headline is: people don’t care. If they cared, they’d do it. I know that sounds very simplistic, and obviously expands out to many factors and root causes of why they don’t care. Why they don’t care — because it’s a transient population in general. The people we’re dealing with are saying: I’m only going to be here a couple of years, so I’m not actually going to get the benefit of this. The building owners and managers are temporary, we might sell this building next year. I’m just the property management, my contract ends in a year. I’m not being told I need to do it. I think I’m doing it already. So yeah, they just don’t care enough to do it, ultimately is the issue." - Charles Blaschke IV

What are we waiting for?

There are many ways to make people care, but the question goes back to why hasn’t the UAE market developed. Out of 30 companies that came in, there are only five of them left. That’s 25 that have gone out of business and left, which means massive losses for the investors, for the people that lost their jobs. Ultimately it is holding back the country from becoming more efficient and more competitive, which is the top of the UAE's agenda.

The original Dubai goals were 30,000 buildings retrofitted by 2030. Today, we're only at 100 of them retrofitted.

What are we waiting for?

Read the full transcript of the podcast episode with Charles Blaschke on The Change Officer's Medium page.


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