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50 Leading Companies of The Year 2020

URBANVOLT, a Sustainability as a Service company with a global reach, working with large corporates to accelerate their transition to a Carbon Free future


"We seek to be the leading environmental sustainability partner for global multi-site companies that are serious about sustainability."

When you view sustainability through the lens of opportunity, you realise that this is all about speed. With growing pressure from investors, staff, consumers, and the general public in recent years, the number of companies dedicated to achieving true sustainability has undoubtedly increased. The global brands that work with URBANVOLT understand theneed to act quickly and roll out energy efficiency initiatives across their portfolio of sites. These organisations are typically more evolved and better equipped to assign staff to learn about what is achievable through a sustainability initiative.

URBANVOLT works as a full solution sustainability partner for large companies, enabling them to use their scale to rapidly impact climate change.

The company was incorporated in 2015. It has offices locate din Chicago, Fort Myers (US), London (England), Frankfurt(Germany)and Dublin(Ireland).

Kevin Maughan: Interview Highlights

Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?

URBANVOLT’s mission is to radically reduce the global carbon footprint, by working alongside the world’s biggest energy users to decarbonise their operations.

Everyone understands the benefits of becoming more energy efficient — cash savings, reduced carbon footprint, employee retention...It’s not a hard sell. But time and money always stand in the way.

URBANVOLT was established to break down these barriers. We wanted to make it possible for companies to achieve sustainability — quickly, at scale, and at no upfront cost. So we did.

We initially offered our service to all types of businesses: transforming shops, car parks, pharmaceutical plants, and more, all across Ireland and the UK by installing energy efficient LED lighting via our zero capex Light-as-a-Service model. Fast forward a couple of years, and we have fine-tuned our focus to where we can have the biggest impact: the warehousing, logistics, and manufacturing industries. We now operate on a global scale, with our primary focus being the US, Canada, mainland Europe and the UK.

We use our proprietary software platform to rapidly accelerate global roll-out programs with major companies. Our software platform  allows our clients to gather information on their portfolio of sites and identify where the biggest energy and cash savings are, in just a few clicks. URBANVOLT serves as a full solution partner, enabling our clients to achieve their sustainability targets worldwide. We start by making their facilities as energy efficient as possible (via LED lighting and other energy-efficient technologies), before looking at energy generation through renewable technology such as solar and wind.

How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.

Our first project was in a fashion clothing warehouse. The data told us the client would see 80 percent energy savings when they transitioned to LED, and a corresponding drop in their energy spend. As predicted, these savings more than covered the cost of the URBANVOLT service fee.

What we were not expecting, however, was the feedback from staff and management at the site.

The staff spoke of being able to complete more picks per shift because the quality of light was so much better. The staff also reported that they were happier at work because they felt the company had invested in upgrading the building they worked in.

This feedback has been repeated over and over again: happier, healthier, more productive staff.

While the motivation behind upgrading a building to LED is almost always based on hard, cold data, the feedback we receive once the installation is complete is overwhelmingly focused on the “soft” benefits.

“Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.”How do you interpret this statement?

URBANVOLT would be nothing without the trust and respect of our clients. They’re our biggest fans and promoters.

I mean, have you ever heard any one rave about an electrical installation like this? (No, these are not paid actors. These are our actual clients.)

So, how does URBANVOLT earn the trust and respect of our global portfolio of clients? We deliver.

From the outset, we achieve what we promise — often exceeding expectations. Regardless of department, each and every URBANVOLTer is focused on delivering excellent customer experience in every interaction.

We’re dedicated to making things as easy as possible for our clients, going above and beyond to do so.

Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?

Feedback from our clients has been pivotal to the success of URBANVOLT.

Our ambition to deliver an excellent customer experience doesn’t end once the final product is installed.

Throughout the pre-installation process and during the installation itself, our account managers seek feedback from both the decision makers of the project and workers on site. Post-installation, our marketing team takes over and follows up to learn what went well, and what didn’t. This follow up can take the form of a site visit, a phone call, or a detailed case study.

We strive for continuous improvement, and for each project to be better than the last.

If you had to list the factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?

  • The ever-increasing public focus on environmental sustainability — the climate crisis is extremely topical at the moment, forcing companies to recognize the urgency of taking action. This has resulted in a corresponding spike in interest in what we offer: the opportunity to accelerate your company’s sustainability efforts with ease.
  • Our business model — we assume all of the financial and operational risks, enabling our clients to achieve sustainability quickly, and at scale. Zero capex, zero hassle. What’s not to love?
  • Our team — URBANVOLTers are what differentiate us from the rest; their passion, dedication to customer service, and a knack for relationship-building are crucial to the continued success of the company.
  • Our existing clients — the clients are our biggest promoters; their video testimonials and referrals have been a serious asset in expanding our customer base.
  • Our global reach — URBANVOLT operates worldwide, enabling our clients to work with one partner on their global portfolio of sites. Centralizing sustainability efforts allows the company to benefit from economies of scale, ensure consistency of product, and capitalize on a huge marketing opportunity.
  • Our data-driven approach — our proprietary software, PLATFORM, enables our clients to gather information on their portfolio of sites quickly and easily. What once took months of time-

Do you have any new products ready to be launched?

Our Solar-as-a-Service, ‘SOLAAS’™, product is now being rolled out to our existing clients. There is enormous interest but there is also a lot of learning for the market. Solar has been hailed as a silver bullet but managing client expectations is important.

Driving efficiency and reducing energy consumption must be the first step; only then will companies get the best from solar. There are also other technologies we are ready to launch but we have not yet unveiled. Watch this space.

As a question on sustainability, where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We seek to be the leading environmental sustainability partner for global multisite companies that are serious about sustainability.

“Our proprietary software platform enables our clients to gather information on their portfolio of sites quickly and easily. What once took months of time-consuming and costly data gathering and manual site surveys can now be achieved in a few clicks. This allows our clients to move quickly to make a positive environmental impact.”