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Insightful, driven and passionate—Jason Jannati is a devoted brand strategist and leader in energy efficiency. As a founding member of the Howard County Business Council, he plays a key role in fostering the development of important relationships within the energy efficiency industry.
As co-founder and chief communication officer of greeNEWit, Jannati is responsible for defining the high-level strategic direction of marketing and affiliate partner initiatives. He has helped greeNEWit reach revenue goals by communicating concept-to-reality ideas that bring brand awareness and sales to new heights.
greeNEWit is an organization founded to help our society build more sustainable communities and better economies through energy efficiency and conserving the use of natural resources. They provide quick home energy checkups to single and multi-family homes. The upgrades include installation of energy efficient CFL light bulbs, aerators, low flow showerheads, hot water heat wraps and pipe insulation.
MO: What are some ways that you help homeowners, businesses and municipalities implement energy efficiency measures to cut costs and achieve energy savings?
Jason: First, we take a look at where they are in regards to energy and resource usage, and we determine what their benchmark is so that we may identify cost savings through energy efficiency. We develop a plan that gets them to a place where they are using less resources and saving money on monthly electricity bills. We use common sense as a guide and focus on the simple things; allowing the savings from the initial, low-hanging fruit upgrades to fund the more capital-intensive projects down the line.
MO: Where does your passion for energy efficiency and sustainability come from?
Jason: We started greeNEWit based on the fact that we believed energy efficiency and the conservation of natural resources was a matter of common sense. We figured that if we could get into the business of saving people money and improving the impact on the planet, we could develop some staying power in the marketplace. We’re helping to empower individuals with knowledge about their energy usage so they may make more informed decisions moving forward.
MO: Are there any ways that our readers can identify some potential opportunities for reducing consumption and saving resources on their own?
Jason: Sure, the best part is that it is simple. For residential purposes, you can break energy usage into three components. First, is the building envelope that includes insulation and air sealing levels. For example, if you have a good heating system, but all the heat constantly escapes through a leaky building envelope, then unfortunately it’s not helping. You’re just wasting efficiently produced conditioned air. One note on windows: unless they are single pane and in horrible condition, they are never usually worth replacing. Now with that being said, if you a want to replace them for aesthetic reasons that is your decision, just don’t do it for energy savings. The second component would be the building systems. This component focuses on the efficiency of the hot water heater, the furnace, the appliances and other items within the home that consume energy. Again, if you have a good building envelope but your furnace is inefficient; that is an area for improvement. The third component-and perhaps the trickiest- is the behavioral aspect. This component provides room for the most creativity. If you have an efficient furnace and a solid building envelope, but like to keep the heat at 80 degrees with the windows open, that will affect your usage. I find that breaking it down into these three components keeps it simple but also covers all the areas that should be considered. More energy saving tips can be accessed on our blog: Making Efficiency More Efficient.
MO: What was the inspiration for your creative social project OUR Schools and what do you hope to achieve?
Jason: We did not start greeNEWit to simply make money, we started greeNEWit because we wanted to change the way we as a society use and think about energy. We felt strongly about the need to provide energy education free in public schools through this program, and we believed that by educating the younger generation we could avoid reliving our habits of inefficiency. Through this program, we hope to neutralize the carbon footprint of Maryland schools in the next 10 years. We’ll also produce the first generation of truly energy-conscious students, teachers, staff and administration.
MO: Can you provide an example of how you’ve brought brand awareness and sales to new heights for greeNEWit?
Jason: I think the simple answer is that we started greeNEWit on a shoestring budget. Literally, we threw three 0% credit cards in the middle, and decided we were going to make this work. Since then, there have been thousands of people who have experienced the greeNEWit brand either as homeowners, business owners or individuals learning about energy through one of our social programs. This past year alone, we provided retrofit solutions to more than 22,000 local residents.
One of the best books I read when we were looking to get our company off the ground was, Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki. One of his main messages was that your customers are your biggest assets. He states that those with great aspirations look at customers as layers of people who believe in your brand. I feel our employees are the first layer, and when they enjoy their job and believe in our mission, our customers can sense that positive energy and want to spread it to those that they love and care about.
MO: The world needs more companies like greeNEWit, any plans for expansion?
Jason: Absolutely. We believe in our mission to solve the global problem of energy and resource efficiency. During the next 24 months, we are excited about expanding our footprint within the region as well as additional opportunities in the US. We have adopted a ‘local to global’ mindset and we have plans in the works to provide energy efficiency solutions across the globe.
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