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Alumni Feature: Harvest

Updated: 5 days ago

By Winter Wilson | June 10, 2024 | Joules Accelerator



In 2017, CEO of Harvest Jane Melia’s gas furnace died and she was on the hunt for a cleaner and more efficient alternative – a heat pump. But she did not anticipate how difficult it would be to find the right product, and how unscalable current market solutions were for home heat pumps.


With a background in engineering, business and technology, Jane worked a number of different roles before finding her way into the startup world. With the excitement surrounding the renewable energy space in 2008, she found climate technology startups and was hooked. And when she came face to face with replacing her gas furnace, she started wondering how she could innovate around this building efficiency challenge.


“I was becoming increasingly aware that we were focusing a lot on how we can clean up our electric grid and transportation, but nobody was saying anything about buildings,” Jane said. “Buildings release more emissions than the transportation sector… basically, if we do not tackle the challenge of emissions from our buildings, we do not solve climate change.”


So, when Jane came up empty handed in her search for a simple heat pump solution to replace her old gas furnace in 2017, she decided to design one herself.


“It just dawned on me that this technology is not scalable,” Jane said. “People can’t afford to do that, which means we only have a solution for the well-meaning, well-off and we aren’t going to be able to scale it. That’s when myself and two co-founders went back to the drawing board and built a system that means one heat pump, one tank and some very smart controls are delivering all that functionality.”


The prototype she developed in 2017 soon became the product she installed in her home in 2018, and the results were astounding. With a 90% cut in emissions compared to a gas furnace, and a 40% cut in her bills, Jane’s success gave her the confidence to launch Harvest, which she founded in 2019.


“The key thing is that our systems in the field are reducing emissions compared to gas by 90%. And they’re cutting bills by 30%,” Jane said. “And that is unique because typically heat pump systems are known to increase bills compared to gas. By reducing them, that is a game changer because what that means is that it’s freeing up money which is really important. It allows for what happened with solar, it allows for leasing, allows for loans. It allows you to have a positive payback and that’s really critical if you want to help electrify our homes.”


With 23 people and growing, Harvest has been generating notable attention and success. In September 2023, Harvest was awarded the CEE Integrated Home Competition. Just last year, they also closed a $4.2M seed round.


Joules Accelerator was instrumental in the early-stage development of Harvest . For Jane, early-stage startup accelerator programs are important milestones to build both a strong network and the credibility that allows a startup to scale.


“What I found on the journey as a founder is you’re shooting for the stars, but to get there you have to get through all these milestones,” said Jane. “It’s really important in those early days to get some recognition, to get some wins and to get some support. Joules Accelerator believed in what we were doing and brought us on board. That is something that we were able to build on.”


Moving forward, Jane is most excited about the growth of Harvest. What started off small scale and working with independent contractors has evolved into work with much larger contractors and expanding partnerships. Those contractor partnerships will enable Harvest to make a "planetary-scale impact on emissions." Their most recent technical achievement is Harvest Open, which allows Harvest to work with almost any existing HVAC system.


Harvest is “enabling homes to transition away from gas in a way that is comfortable and saves money,” Jane said.


If you or someone you know is interested in working with Harvest, you can reach them at decarb@harvest-thermal.com.

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