as a Service
A business model innovation to massively green up our cities
and 2 obstacles
Green roofs and green walls are beautiful, they reduce pollution and flooding risks, they absorb noise, they boost biodiversity in urban areas and they reduce the need for air conditioning ... But they are still rare, especially on existing buildings.
Why? Because of 2 key factors putting a drain on the green roofs enthusiasts desire to turn their interest into actions:
1) A significant initial cost, even if over its lifetime a green roof can be cheaper than a “classic” roof.
2)There is a perceived uncertainty about future costs and potential savings. Choosing these structures requires more effort than a conventional roof (It often involves more maintenance and seeking more information)
"As a Service" is the solution
A “Green roofs and walls” monthly subscription with no initial investment and monthly payments would be a game-changer:
1) A Lower initial investment than conventional roofs with all the benefits they bring with no hefty price tag. Furthermore this optimizes the maintenance costs of the structures throughout their life
2) The service is simple, requires next to no effort for the user, leaves no space for uncertainty
This business-model innovation makes even more sense done at the scale of a city or a district. Here are the advantages:
• Bigger scale means savings! Installing green roofs and walls at the scale of a city, or a neighborhood, allows economies of scale associated with the marketing, installation and maintenance costs
• It becomes possible to monetize positive externalities of these installations, reducing the costs supported by the owner, while offering a more cost efficient service to the local communities and structures managing stormwater
Selling solar panels as a service rather than in the traditional way has been a key factor in the solar roof boom in the USA. This business model is even more relevant for green walls and green roofs and could make our cities massively greener.
Organizing a 7 months feasibility study
This business model innovation is a huge opportunity, yet offering a green structure monthly subscription service implies taking into account many different constraints, aligning the interests of the various stakeholders, finding new sources of funding...
To tackle those challenges we will be launching a seven month study by the end of the year, to turn our ideas into a concrete project, in Lille’s urban area (the fourth largest in France).
We will be working and exchanging with the actors of the industry and with many different local stakeholders during all phases of the project.
Photos : 1 danna § curious tangles (Flick) / 2 Chuttersnap (Unsplash) /
3 Martijn Hendrikx (Unsplash) / 4 Markus Spiske (Unsplash)