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Lowe's buys in to home efficiency retrofitter Recurve

Home improvement supplier Lowe's invests in Recurve, which offers home energy retrofit services and sells software to other home performance providers.

More than just building supplies, your local Lowe's hardware store may offer services to make your home more energy efficient.

The home improvement giant on Wednesday said it has invested in San Francisco-based Recurve, which provides software and services for auditing and retrofitting homes to be more efficient. Lowe's was the lead investor in the series B $8 million round, which brought participation from existing investors Shasta Ventures and RockPort Capital Partners.

Lowe's invests in home energy retrofit company Recurve. Will you sign up for blower door test while shopping?
Lowe's invests in home energy retrofit company Recurve. Will you sign up for blower door test while shopping? Martin LaMonica/CNET

Lowe's stores in the San Francisco Bay Area now have displays offering the home retrofit services of Recurve, formerly known as Sustainable Spaces, Recurve CEO Pratap Mukherjee told Dow Jones. The investment from Lowe's opens up the possibility of an expanded marketing campaign to contractors who shop at Lowe's, which also sells Akeena solar panel kits.

Recurve specializes in energy audits and follow-on services to lower a home's energy consumption, such as sealing air ducts, adding insulation, or improving heating and cooling systems.

Unlike the many other home performance companies, Recurve is also a software company, having developed an application which runs on table computers for speeding up the energy-auditing process. It plans to offer the hosted application to other energy audit companies.

The funding will be used to expand and meet the growing demand for energy retrofit services, according to the company.

The home performance industry, which right now is fractured among thousands of small providers, is in line to get a significant boost from pending Home Star bill, also known as Cash for Caulkers. The Home Star program would make thousands of dollars in rebates available to homeowners depending on the extent of efficiency work done and appliances purchased.

The HomeStar Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 bill passed the House by a wide margin in May and has bipartisan support as it seeks to jump-start the home efficiency business, save consumers on their energy bills, and reduce pollution. But the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate because of political fighting and a crowded legislative agenda, according law firm Mintz Levin.