Hetal Parekh On Building The Largest Database Of Green Financing For Property Upgrades
Please introduce yourself.
I am Hetal Parekh, an architect and a Building Energy Scientist by qualification (PhD in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University), with domain expertise on building energy efficiency policy. Having gained seven years of experience in this field, I founded EnerYields last year. As a NYC-based company, we connect property owners with tax incentives and financing options, which help them finance green upgrades that reduce energy use by 30% and increase project profitability.
What prompted you to start EnerYields?
During my PhD at Carnegie Mellon, I discovered the need for EnerYields. In my conversations with a variety of stakeholders, I found that access to financing has been one of the biggest obstacles to owners and developers considering energy-efficient upgrades. Despite billions of dollars freely available for green upgrades, these incentives are hard to find and hard to access. Following validation from the industry for my research, I started EnerYields to bridge this gap, helping property owners and developers capitalize on free money.
Which states is EnerYields data available in?
Our services are available to all multifamily (5+ units) and commercial property developers and operators nationwide. In addition, we are doing a beta of our platform with selected operators in PA and NY states, which will provide them with low- or no-cost funding options for the upgrade project in minutes.
What is one software you use for your business and recommend to others?
As a company that is just starting out, we need to be lean and find no-code and free solutions that help us as we grow. I have found Airtable to be an extremely versatile and helpful tool for collecting and organizing data, and staying on top of tasks.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone starting their real estate career?
Scaling faster requires investing in relationships. A good and reliable network of sourcing, financing, and execution partners gives you an edge over the competition. We have discovered that many clients often miss out on opportunities as they are perceived as exclusive. I also had a similar experience while starting out. EnerYields started out as nothing more than a PhD dissertation. In order to grow then, I only had the option of asking my faculty to introduce me to industry professionals so I could conduct market research. This eventually led to a network effect, which I am striving to grow further.
What is your superpower in life?
I pride myself on having a detail-oriented approach to problems, and it is something that I have been able to translate into EnerYields as well.
Oftentimes, people hear about rebates and grants, but when they get the paperwork completed, they qualify for a tiny amount that is not worth the time and effort put in.
Doing a deep dive not only helps me avoid bad surprises, but also structures a green cap-stack for clients that gets them the most bang for their buck. We collect the fine-print on every financing program so that when we match the line items in the Statement of Work (SOW), we know exactly what works, what doesn’t, and also what could be done to make the deal more profitable!
What is a failure you’ve had in life that set you up for eventual success?
As an architect, I have pitched green interventions to my clients, albeit without much success. It was difficult to comprehend why green certifications and ratings never went beyond marketing efforts. I set out on a journey to understand my clients’ perspective and the obstacles they face and subsequently built EnerYields, a solution that will help them overcome these obstacles.
What is one book that has influenced your life the most? Why?
As a business owner, I am often weighed down and frustrated by the day-to-day inefficiencies, many of which are outside my control. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson gives me a fresh perspective and reorients me. I often re-listen to the audiobook while carrying out mundane tasks, so I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.