The business plan for a home energy management system from EcoFactor won the $250,000 grand prize at last weeks Cleantech Open, a business competition supporting start-up activity in clean technology.
Having interviewed several companies in this sector over the past few months, I can say with authority that the home technologies attached to the smart grid are what fascinate me most right now. As I glance over at my own woefully out-of-date thermostat -- one that I doubt I will convince my husband we must replace anytime soon -- I find myself wondering how we're going to get that final piece of the puzzle to fall into place. This Green Inc. blog by The New York Times outlines where the Ecofactor technology fits and why its subscription pricing model might be the kick-in-the-butt that consumers need to adopt this stuff. AND my fellow blogger Harry Fuller has also blogged about the technology, as he just reminded me. Here's his post from early November.
EcoFactor gets $250,000, including $100,000 in seed capital. (It already won $100,000 in the regional competition.)
Cleantech also organized a Global Ideas Competition, encouraging communities to submit information about project they're working on at a grassroots level. The prize coffer was $100,000 in marketing services, legal advice and so on. The winner (selected by text message by the Cleantech Open Expo audience was Replenish Energy out of Puerto Rico, which is working on process to convert microalgae from saltwater ponds into biofuel. (The leftover stuff can be used in humus or feedstock.)
Interestingly enough, a former Cleantech "alumni" company, Adura Technologies, won an award for the best progress made over the past year. Adura is featured in this video over at our Smart Planet sister blog network.