Tom Steyer to begin net-zero apartment upgrades nationwide

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The investment firm of billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is set to begin acquiring and upgrading apartments and buildings across the U.S. in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to reports.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Galvanize Climate Solutions’ latest plan will rest on  strategic asset acquisition, proprietary methods of retrofitting buildings and adding solar panels in buildings across the country, and result in the long-term payoff of assembling a portfolio of energy-efficient buildings.

The head of Galvanize Real Estate Joseph Sumberg told the media outlet that the firm will also look into purchasing student housing, self-storage, and industrial properties, focusing mainly on low-density multifamily residential properties that have one to three stories and surface parking, which can provide a great area for solar panels.

“This is a real estate strategy with a decarbonization goal,” Sumberg told Bloomberg. “Capitalism will look at this successful strategy, and replicate it, creating ripples through the built environment.”

Sumberg also said that the firm will focus its investment on multiple U.S. markets such as the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, California, Arizona, and Texas.

The Galvanize Real Estate arm will also get assistance from the firm’s Impact team, a group of in-house scientists and tech experts, on their new initiative, according to Bloomberg.

The news comes as Galvanize joins a growing list of companies and investors with the aim goal: to decarbonize buildings at scale in the U.S.

BlocPower, a climate technology company backed by Goldman Sachs and the Microsoft Corporation’s Climate Innovation Fund, announced last month that it has raised $150 million in funds to finance building decarbonization in low-income communities. They have already rolled out its green energy upgrades to more than 5,000 apartments, homes, houses of worship and commercial buildings across the country, according to the company.

“We’re trying to show that doing this is a good investment from an absolute, straight up financial point of view,” Steyer, who ran in 2020 for the Democratic presidential nomination, told Bloomberg. “The impact and the returns are linked; it’s not a trade-off.”

“We are trying to create a new model for climate investing,” he added.

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