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Petra Pocanic

Apr 28, 2016
02:41

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Hello RentRocket(s),

thank you for your challenging proposal.
I've got a few comments/questions I hope could help you.

1. In the pitch I suggest to rethink about the first part: 'If we want to reverse climate change, we have to reach people who don't care about it.'
It is too general and says too little about your problem. Also, it must not be true landlords/tenants don't care about climate change but could be they might not have the tools/knowledge/resources to make a positive change.

2. I see a potential in your project not only as 'transparency tool' but also as facilitator between landlords and tenants with the aim of triggering collaboration and new relations. I was wondering if you have interviewed landlords/tenants about this issue to find out what else would make them invest in energy efficiency and what would make them collaborate with each other (goals not only related to the property but a broader shared sustainability goal)? There could be some leverage points if you take it from the relational prospective.

3. To make your users share their data they must feel like having a purpose and being part of a community of changemakers. People are not motivated only by money and building a RentRocket community around sustainability issues could help you. Adding simple tools as small rewards, labeling or gamification could be a very powerful trigger too.

Hope this was useful at least in part :)

Good luck with your idea!

Petra


Jacqui Bauer

May 2, 2016
03:03

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Thank you Petra!  Your comments are very appreciated.

We experimented with some other, more detailed tag lines, but so far have gotten the best response to this one.  I'll keep seeking feedback.

Your other suggestions are very helpful too.  I need to think about them in more detail.


jacqui

 


Roy Russell

Jun 7, 2016
04:51

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If you could crowd-source some apartment information you could get around the privacy issues with utilities.  Specifically, if tenants were encouraged to enter things like energy bills, along with other review information, then the full cost of the apartments could be calculated.

I suggest you consider a simple site which just aims to collect this information and make it available.  You might have a paid service for landlords who could enter their own apartments' information also.

The sign-up process for tenants would encourage them to provide some information about past or current rentals.

An important aspect will be to establish a high degree of trust, so that the prospective tenants trust the accuracy of the information presented.  Perhaps showing the provenance of that information, who entered it, what other information have they entered, who vouches for them, etc.  If such a system were built on Facebook it could take advantage of the social network which would provide some amount of trust, though with a lot of negative Facebook baggage.  Perhaps a more "lightweight" Facebook integration could provide some of the benefits without some of the negatives.


Tiziano Cattaneo

Jun 13, 2016
12:28

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Hello RentRocket.org, Good luck for your project proposal. Just review and make it completed before meet deadline after tomorrow. Thank you.


Matthew Naud

Jun 13, 2016
12:09

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Thanks again for the thoughtful comments.  Another aspect of this project is the potential to create a large data set of building energy data, building data (from city assessor data), and behavior change.  This could be a powerful academic tool to parse the role of energy knowledge, efficiency investment, and behavior change in realizing GHG reduction goals.  Some of this has been added to the text.  To the question of trust, this is one of the reasons a university consortia makes sense as opposed to zillow or trulia.  The goal of the system is to provide transparent information to students.  Universities won't benefit monetarily except to demonstrate GHG reductions through demand side management via better education and varying levels of behavior change in the rental decision process and living in the rental unit.


Pat Graczyk

Jun 14, 2016
02:43

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Is there an energy performance certificates that houses are already given by the Government? This is what happens in UK and I think that there is a potential for linking up your projects and potential data that you could obtain for cross checking the accuracy of the certificates. Saying that I am not sure if you have anything like that in US. 

Good luck with your proposal


Jacqui Bauer

Jun 14, 2016
04:58

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In response to the judges' comments, we made a number of changes:

  1. Increased emphasis on how we see the tool being used in the long term - namely, as an added feature of websites like Zillow and Trulia.
  2. Added detail on how data is collected and integrated now, and how we see it being integrated going forward (e.g. increasing the number of properties showing relative energy costs by switching our color-coding formula to draw from EnerScore (which was recently added to the site and which has data for 56m households across the US) instead of from crowdsourced data)
  3. Added limited detail on our intention that communities can use the tool in conjunction with other programs, like green leases and incentive programs.
  4. Increased the level of detail on how funds will be used if we receive them, and reduced the level of detail on the project costs overall (since space in this section was limited, and we felt emphasizing immediate use of funds was more important than our less-specific long-term estimates.  We spelled out specific development priorities and how we see these contributing to overall success.
  5. Added reference materials on our efforts to document homes needing attic insulation as indicated by snow melt patterns - these pictures could be added to the site and could help communities identify and assist problem areas.

Petra Pocanic

Jun 15, 2016
07:12

Catalyst


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hello!

glad your project has make it to the semi-finalists.
Good luck with the next phase!

Petra


Maryjean Holwager

Jul 12, 2016
11:33

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As a renter for the last 8 years, having a program like this would have been incredibly useful when making my rental decisions over the past years. I hope you win as I'd love to see this fully developed!


Courtney Hayden

Jul 21, 2016
11:01

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Working in State College, PA, I've been following RentRocket since it began. I hope that you are successful and that this will be expanded to other university towns.