While green startups are (currently) a small sector, there are some really innovative ideas out there for helping the environment.
Here are 17 of the best green startups that I’ve come across in my research:
Tesla Motors –
I think that this one doesn’t need much explanation, but just in case you’re not familiar with them, they’re an electric car company that aims to produce carbon-friendly vehicles. This innovative company has been taking the automobile world by storm: their electric vehicles go from 0-60 MPH in 4 seconds or less and can drive as far as 300 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately, those impressive standards come with equally impressive price tags, but if Elon Musk wants to save this planet, then we should all be willing to help him out.
The ecobee3 uses built-in sensors in order to determine if it’s necessary to turn on your home’s heating or cooling systems in order to provide occupants with the most comfortable temperature possible. If you combine these smart thermostats together with other green technologies (such as an on-demand hot water system), then you can drastically reduce your home’s energy usage.
The vision of solar power has become more accessible to homeowners since prices for solar panels have fallen rapidly in the past few years, and of course, there are companies out there who want to make money off this new technology (e.g., SolarCity). If you decide that installing solar panels is right for you, then they will provide them for free instead of asking that you pay them monthly for the electricity that the panels generate. These systems are supposed to save homeowners $500 on average per year on their electric bills while also providing some independence from the utility grid.
This company’s goal is to provide access to finance for solar energy companies in Africa because, unfortunately, most conventional sources of funding focus on developed countries. With this money, SunFunder says that they aim to produce 1 GW by 2022 (equivalent to powering 750 000 homes).
Tesla Powerwall –
SolarCity and Tesla Motors designed this rechargeable lithium-ion battery system, but it isn’t exclusively available through them, much like the cars themselves. The idea behind this product is that homeowners can store excess power generated by their solar panels during the day (and any other time) for use overnight or whenever needed.
They provide eco-friendly cleaning services because they recognize the fact that businesses should be more concerned about the environment. Check them out to see if they can help you save money and conserve resources at your place of business.
Good Guide –
This company provides product ratings for over 200k products (from food ingredients to cosmetics) in order to help consumers make better choices (in terms of what they buy, but also what companies they support financially). They aim to provide transparency by evaluating each item against rigorous standards (e.g., health, environmental impact, social responsibility, etc.).
Carbon Engineering –
As Climate Progress explains it, this one is basically a “Direct Air Capture” machine that sucks carbon dioxide straight from the air before converting it into fuel which can then be used to power cars, trucks, and jets. The good news is that this one is still only in the prototype stage.
Here’s another company with a different philosophy: converting your car into an exercise machine by harvesting energy whenever you break or corner. If this technology becomes more popular, then we should see less pollution since people will need their cars less often (thus cutting down on trips to the gas station).
Do you run out of gasoline frequently? Then FuelMaker wants to find a way to solve this problem because we shouldn’t have to keep refilling our vehicles with gas every week, and it’s definitely not good for the environment. With this idea, you’ll be able to run your car on natural gas or hydrogen (with the latter being easier but still expensive), and even though these options aren’t as powerful as gasoline, they’re much cleaner.
This company is building products that harvest wasted industrial heat in order to provide heating/cooling systems for businesses/dwellings who can then save money on home energy bills (which would probably increase in cost if we were forced to rely on more conventional sources later).
Green Charge Networks –
By installing the Green-e Energy certified smart energy storage system at businesses, they can save money on their electricity bills while also providing backup power during blackouts.
Let’s be honest: solar panels are pretty expensive, so unless you have tons of extra cash lying around or you live in sunny states where they’re more affordable, this option might not work for you… but Sungevity is aiming to change that by offering zero upfront cost solar panel services (with financing through partners) that could save the average homeowner up to 30% on annual electric bills.
This company builds homes out of natural resources like clay, hemp, and lime because these materials are less likely to conduct electricity and less likely to catch fire. In fact, their homes are so energy efficient that they can completely meet the needs of a family’s residence with just a 1kW solar panel system.
Nest Labs –
For those who already have central heating/cooling systems in their homes, this product will allow you to control your thermostat from anywhere using an app on your smartphone or tablet (the first programmable thermostats were pretty expensive). Instead of setting a specific temperature for each time period throughout the day, this one focuses on “target temperatures,” which supposedly saves energy.
I’ve been hearing about these things for years, but only recently did I become aware of how good they are for the planet. The best part about these vehicles is how they’re designed to be recycled (e.g., carbon fiber body + aluminum components) and that they can achieve 96-100 MPG (electric models only get 2-78 MPG, with the latter being advertised as a “halo car” to show what’s possible).
Bloom Energy –
This company thrives on converting natural gas/biogas into electricity using solid oxide/ceramic fuel cells. While they’re still relatively new to the market, they’re already being used by companies like Verizon, Gap, Google, eBay, Staples, Coca-Cola, Walmart, AT&T, Apple, etc
There’s no doubt that the technologies like b2b sales and those featured above are advanced and will need even more research/investment before they become mainstream (let alone affordable). Still, hopefully, this is a good start. The only way we’re going to save this planet is if all of us do our part by joining forces with like-minded entrepreneurs & investors. I hope this article helps to know the basic concepts and things.
Interesting Related Article: “How to Grow Your Manufacturing Startup“