The four companies behind Meadowlark Energy include Meadowlark Builders and Arbor Spray Foam Insulation both from Ann Arbor, Superior Spray Solutions from Superior Township, and BuildScan Thermography of Saline. Each will continue to operate as separate companies.
Meadowlark Energy will focus on doing energy audits in homes as well as small- to mid-sized commercial buildings and then providing an action plan for how the energy efficiency changes can be done, said Doug Selby, President of Meadowlark Builders, which has been the driving force behind creating Meadowlark Energy.
“It should be noted that while Meadowlark Builders is an independent company, Meadowlark Energy will utilize much of the DNA of Meadowlark Builders in terms of building modeling, building science knowledge and in-home customer service.”
Selby said home and office energy efficiency will mushroom into a $1 Trillion market this decade. He predicted Meadowlark Energy will grab about $100 million of this market in five to seven years.
“The real magic is to combine our systems and find opportunities to make homes and buildings more energy efficient,” Selby said. “We would come in and say, ‘here’s where you are now. If we do this collection of tasks, here is where you can be.’ We’ll tell them this is your most cost effective option, or one that goes all the way. We’ll give them a path to the summit, where they could get a zero-energy home.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Meadlowlark Energy is John Cunningham, who owns Arbor Spray Foam Insulation.
“Doug and I talked about this several years ago and started talking more seriously 18 months ago as energy efficiency became more the norm,” Cunningham said. “We know the market exists, but think it will be fueled by such programs as Michigan Saves, a pilot program that provides low-interest unsecured financing for energy efficiency upgrades.”
Cunningham said the four companies are transferring employees into Meadowlark Energy, but also have begun hiring from outside. Meadowlark Energy is looking for people with an interest in building performance, energy auditing, modeling, as well as production roles installing insulation, HVAC and carpentry. The business plan calls for the Meadowlark Energy to have about 20 employees by year’s end and 120 employees in four to five years.
“We’ve raised about $300,000 from friends and family and hope to raise a total of $1 million to launch our performance contracting,” Cunningham said. “We’re working on some software products and developing ideas and technologies to serve the building performance base.”
Over the summer, Meadowlark Energy will do a soft launch by working with a few customers and then ramp up after the Labor Day Holiday, he said.
“It’s a difficult business model because it requires pieces to come together, such as consumer education and financing. Our first objective is to get the contracting up and running, and move into larger software and technology and financing plays in the space that we’re working on.”