Start-up finds worst energy offenders

Summary:A Boston start-up says that the energy solutions market has a goldilocks problem that it can solve by making collecting and analyzing data cost effective for the small commercial sector.

Data visualization is the secret sauce of the WegoWise platform.

A Boston start-up says that the energy solutions market has a goldilocks problem that it can solve by making collecting and analyzing data cost effective for the small commercial sector.

The Environmental Protection Agency says that buildings in the U.S. waste an average 20 percent of the US$400 billion plus that's spent on energy annually, but not every building owner has the same resources to eliminate waste.

WegoWise has developed a platform that tracks and analyzes utility data through a Web application. A building owner would use it to identify their most wasteful properties and greatest potential savings. The entire process is automated by the application, which is available as a monthly subscription.

The small commercial sector isn't being served by high-end industrial controls or building management systems; nor by programs aimed at single homeowners, said CTO and co-founder Barun Singh. WegoWise focused on building a solution that was more accessible and does not rely on smart grid, he explained.

Building managers no longer have to audit their entire portfolio, because they can more easily identify problem properties, said Singh. WegoWise has the most impact with master metered buildings, because trends can be spotted over time. "We find spikes when there's failing equipment or water leaks," he added.

Even new buildings can have energy issues. A building in Boston used 3x the natural gas it was projected to use during its first winter. WegoWise was deployed, and contractors discovered that boiler controllers were incorrectly installed, Singh said.

Singh argued that today's energy conservation programs aren't being managed effectively. Programs that give out light bulbs aren't the best use of conservation money, he said. "We can save more energy by focusing on the worst offenders."

The WegoWise strategy is essentially to find the low-hanging fruit, visualize it in a way that demonstrates that value of action, and then to hope that its service is worthwhile enough to keep its renewals. I was intrigued by its approach, because tenants would not need to opt-in, and there's no advanced grid technology required.

Could it be that there is even more value in how data is presented to building owners than in things like replacement lightbulbs alone?

(Image credit: WegoWise)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

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