When a homeowner buys a LEED-certified home, it's likely that they already care about sustainability. So it’s not a stretch that people in those homes, whether single-family or apartments, are interested in their energy use.
To help get the most of these high-performance homes, the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers LEED certification, has partnered with WegoWise, which provides building energy analytics.
“When you buy a Prius, one of the coolest features is that it shows how many MPG you’re getting in real time,” said Courtney Baker, Residential Operations Manager at USGBC, who noted that people in LEED-certified homes are often looking for that same level of feedback on their house. Essentially, they’re probably the early adopter geeks who are into this stuff.
Every building manager and occupant of a LEED-certified home, of which there are nearly 23,000 units in the U.S., will be offered a year’s subscription of the WegoPro platform, which allows developers and owners to monitor energy and water usage. There are another 86,000 additional projects in the pipeline.
The platform is currently available as a pilot credit, but could become a base LEED credit down the road. On the commercial side, EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager is the approved system for credits.
Until now, WegoWise has primarily been focused in the multi-family space, where its analytics crunch data for more than 100 million square feet. USGBC was looking for a company that could handle multi-family units, which make up about two-thirds of its LEED-certified units, and single-family homes.
The software is similar to many other packages available in the commercial building space, merging utility and building data to produce a snapshot of how the building is performing, with corrections for weather and other factors.
The company’s approach is based on an 80/20 rule. It wants to deliver at least 80 percent of the analytical detail the customer would like, at 20 percent of the cost. Currently, it’s a subscription model of $5 per building per month for multi-family unit buildings.
“It is a very important consideration to balance as much analytical power with a platform that’s easy to use,” said Barun Singh, founder and CTO of WegoWise. “We built this thing to be used by non-experts.”
Although WegoWise started in the multi-family space, the Boston-based company expects to expand in other areas that dovetail with its core offering, including small commercial and single-family markets.
In both areas, there are a host of other companies that have similar offerings, including Powerhouse Dynamics, ThinkEco, EnTouch, SCL Elements in small commercial and Tendril, EcoFactor, EnergyHub, Opower and AlertMe, to name a few, in residential.
While LEED is just a slender sliver of the building stock, there are an increasing number of credits available for buildings that carefully monitor energy use. Demand response is also a pilot credit for LEED, and is expected to be available as a base credit by next year.
Increasingly, taking big data, whether off of smart (gas, water, electric) meters, thermostats, boilers or major appliances, is becoming a more common offering from telecoms to security companies to utilities.
For LEED developers, a monitoring application is likely an easy sell, not only for more points, but also to help verify the energy efficiency that makes the homes appealing in the first place.
To learn more about how big data is becoming big business in smart grid and building performance, join Greentech Media for The Soft Grid in San Francisco, August 14-15.