What's your smart building IQ?

What's your smart building IQ?

Summary: The timing of this post was prompted by my colleague Joe McKendrick's post over on ZDNet sister site SmartPlanet about the anticipated market for so-called smart building solutions.According to some new research from the IDC Energy Insights group, spending on smart building technology with growth at a compound annual rate of 27 percent between 2010 and 2015.

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TOPICS: Cisco, IBM, Software
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The timing of this post was prompted by my colleague Joe McKendrick's post over on ZDNet sister site SmartPlanet about the anticipated market for so-called smart building solutions.

According to some new research from the IDC Energy Insights group, spending on smart building technology with growth at a compound annual rate of 27 percent between 2010 and 2015. That means the market could be $10.2 billion by 2015.

Mind you, I am pitched about many, many technologies that sort of fit into this category and I try to write about as many as I can that seem viable (yes, that's a pitch opening for you PR types). IBM and Cisco are falling all over themselves to get a piece of this market, as I wrote last year on SmartPlanet (Is a clash of the titans coming on the smarter buildings front?) But this particular post today focuses on one of the lesser known companies eying this market, Building IQ. The reason that this company caught my notice is that they were one of the chosen presenters at the Cleantech Forum last year in New York. I spoke with the CEO Mike Zimmerman some time ago to get a sense of his priorities; the reason I chose now to write about them is that BuildingIQ has some new technology out.

First, a word on the company, which hails out of Australia and (naturally) has snagged many of its initial customers in that country. The overall focus of BuildingIQ is a suite of energy management software for commercial buildings that works with existing building management systems to help control energy gcosts and such. When I interviewed Zimmerman, he noted that BuildingIQ's software works with legacy building management technology, which means it can even be used with management systems that haven't been touched since the 1990s. On a good day, BuildingIQ's software can help reduce energy consumption in a building by up to 30 percent; the average load reduction is between 10 percent and 20 percent, Zimmerman said.

BuildingIQ's software works by adding a layer of intelligence to existing systems. "We interact with existing building control systems like an autopilot would control a plane," he said.

The software uses the data it is collecting to help provide a predictive model of energy consumption. When I asked Zimmerman about return on investment, he said that over time, building owners could save $1.50 to $2 for every dollar invested.

One thing that I found interesting is that apparently in Australia, where this technology was born, Zimmerman said that once you are in contract for a commercial real estate transaction, the seller is obligated to disclose the energy performance. (This apparently applies to any building that are more than 20,000 square feet in size.) Pretty smart policy, if you think about it. How many surprises have you had personally with the energy consumption metrics of your home or office?

According to the Cleantech Forum profile I'm reading about BuildingIQ (published last fall), the company has revenue projections of $1.5 million this year. Its U.S. office is sited in San Francisco.

The latest news out of BuildingIQ is the beta release of a new application called FaultIQ, which is supposed to help detect anomalies or inefficiencies a building system. The software integrates with BuildingIQ PEAC Energy Optimization and helps building managers better act on problems in a building that could be a drag on energy performance.

Topics: Cisco, IBM, Software

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  • RE: What's your smart building IQ?

    This is not new technology.
    I worked with Entergy on a fancier version in 1995-98.
    A great international team.. (US, Russia, China, Australia,etc.) Cream of the crop. Fun place to be.
    Small (less than 35 people) but very focused group.

    At that time.. the focus was the expected de-regulation of electricity and how this power company could compete in a much more "open" market.
    The system could run on existing hardware or newer / smaller / cheaper platforms (we designed the hardware also).
    The system ran (in background) full simulation of building (knowing the building's limitations, number of people in the building at all times) with use of DOE's simulation software with additional data via the web (local weather, energy pricing at that moment in time) with smarter control of the AC and lighting (where most energy was used). We could project power usage within 0.5% for any given hour of the day .. with only a few days modeling/data collection.
    Got very good results in reducing peak and average power. Typically reduced peak by 50%, avg 30%.
    However, the project lost funding due to ENRON's abuses of the market.. which curtailed the deregulation of electricity. And a change in management that provided funding of the project... and the product was effectively killed.

    But a lot of us on that project .. are now working with new players (Cisco, etc..) with very similar products.

    The point... the technology isn't new, but it's "time" is coming closer.
    jrlambert
    • RE: What's your smart building IQ?

      @jrlambert I am an ex-Enterprise IT (Dedicated VMWare Hosting) Business development professional currently working in the LED lighting industry. I've noticed the great thing about Building IQ is that it does not require upfront capital investment which is a plus for payback. Do you have any idea how I would get a start in this smart building industry as a business development professional?
      Jtburrows
  • RE: What's your smart building IQ?

    the Australian regulations for advertising / disclosing energy performance, are based on calculations made on the design prior to construction -- in many cases it doesn't accurately reflect the built conditions, and is in no way based on the real-world conditions. if large property vendors were obliged to disclose gross energy usage, in combination with data on areas and average occupant numbers, it would prove an excellent resource for potential buyers to evaluate and compare properties. <br>smart building software may be a good way to optimise your energy usage, but there are many other factors that may be beyond its control. ideally it should be looked at from an integrated perspective, including aspects such as monitoring indoor air quality and workspace illumination quality, all managed with Building Information Modelling (BIM).
    krzyst0ff