In the summer of 2015, Canada committed to the G7’s plan to end the global economy’s use of fossil fuels by 2100. We have already seen the evidence of reduced fossil fuel reliance; there have been changes in government policies, business practices and individual habits. We are witnessing a paradigm shift in motion.
As we transition towards operating models of zero-waste, 100 per cent renewable and circular economies, businesses increasingly recognise opportunities to prosper while doing good. Given BuildDirect is an online marketplace for home improvement products, their newly launched Clean Energy Division and educational hub literally puts the power of renewable energy back in their customers’ hands.
A Conversation with Rob Banks, Co-Founder and Executive Officer at BuildDirect
Please tell us a little bit about the BuildDirect Clean Energy Division. What are you hoping to accomplish?
The BuildDirect Clean Energy Division aims to make it easy and cost-effective for mainstream consumers to bring sustainable energy into their homes.
What sort of sustainable energy are we talking about?
This division is currently focused on offering solar energy products ranging from photovoltaic (PV) panels, inverters, roof racking, full off-grid kits, batteries and all types of energy storage solutions.
So the Clean Energy Division focuses on bringing solar energy to your customers?
Our aim was to build a platform that served as both an educational tool and product marketplace to support consumers who are interested in solar energy for their home. The current solar landscape is filled with complex information that can be difficult for consumers to navigate.
Could you elaborate?
We found that many of our customers were interested in renewable energy, but were unclear where to turn for answers or how to go about purchasing products once they decided what they wanted or needed. Suppliers also have challenges getting into the market – specifically moving heavyweight products outside of their traditional markets in an efficient manner.
Then there’s a component of greening the supply chain as well! So you’re reducing the carbon footprint of the products sold through the Clean Energy Division, too.
Yes. BuildDirect enables solar suppliers to efficiently move heavyweight solar products outside of their traditional markets in an entirely new way that saves them time, money, and resources. Solar suppliers can choose to ship to warehouses or directly to consumers.
There’s also an educational aspect to this Division, correct?
We […] made it our mission to make the process of going solar simple, by informing homeowners about all of their options and connecting them with suppliers. The education hub demonstrates how solar energy works, why it increases a home’s value while dropping utility bills, and what equipment is necessary to get started.
So you feel you’re putting the power into consumers’ hands to make a difference.
Our platform is inherently unique as it is based on transparency. We give homeowners choice and data-verified information so they are able to make the best decision for their lifestyle and needs.
What made you decide to do this now?
Clean energy has been in the marketplace for decades with advancements happening at a rapid pace, but adoption has lagged because the market has been difficult to navigate. Again, many consumers are still under the impression that solar energy is too complicated and too expensive to be a viable option.
Yes, that seems to be a common misconception. So what was the biggest challenge in all of this?
Our challenge was to gather and sort through a lot of information and build out a product platform that could present it all clearly.
You can check out BuildDirect’s Clean Energy Division here.
BuildDirect is a leading online marketplace for home improvement products. The company has transformed how homeowners access and purchase home improvement products by building an online marketplace that offers a wide selection of products at the best value, direct-to-home shipping, free virtual design tools and best-in-class customer service. Suppliers are able to leverage the Home Marketplace to showcase and sell their home improvement products directly to consumers, creating a simple and trusted online shopping experience.
BuildDirect is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.