Lowe’s Invests in Home-Energy Auditor Recurve

Lowe’s Invests In Home-Energy Auditor Recurve
By Kerry Dolan
http://blogs.forbes.com/velocity/2010/06/23/lowes-invests-in-home-energy-auditor-recurve/

Fans of energy efficiency, take note: big do-it-yourself is signing on. Home-performance company Recurve is announcing early Wednesday that it has received an investment from giant retailer Lowe’s as part of an $8 million round of funding—its Series B . Other investors include RockPort Capital and Shasta Ventures, both of whom invested in the earlier round.

San Francisco-based Recurve performs home energy audits and does green remodeling projects for existing homes. For the last year it has been working with Lowe’s stores in the Bay Area, promoting Recurve’s services within Lowe’s stores. Recurve CEO Pratap Mukherjee wouldn’t disclose financial details of the relationship between Lowe’s and Recurve thus far except to say, “They get a piece of the business. It’s a profit-making product for them.”

Mukherjee  says Recurve will use the $8 million to distribute and improve its home-energy-audit software. “Think of it as Turbo Tax for homes,” he explains. Instead of having an energy auditor take notes and later enter them into a spreadsheet, Recurve’s software, which is designed to be used onsite at a home with a web-enabled notebook computer, prompts the auditor to ask certain questions and enter variables such geographic location. Ten home-performance contractors around the country have been using the software, and another 200 have expressed interest in buying it.  Pratap says the company will continue to add features and functionality to the software.

For Lowe’s, the investment opens another avenue for selling equipment needed to make homes perform better and use less energy.

Home Star legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate may give the home-performance industry a big shot in the arm. The House of Representatives passed the Home Star bill in May. If passed, it would include federal rebates on energy efficiency improvements people make on their homes. Says Mukherjee: “It would be a huge win for the whole home performance industry.”