Honest Buildings is a free platform that connects the wide world of real estate, but it’s not necessarily all about energy.

Honest Buildings is like LinkedIn for the real estate market, connecting building owners, architects, engineers, contractors and other building services. While energy efficiency is one facet of building performance, a new partnership with Lucid will help bring energy information to the forefront.

“This kind of transparency changes the building performance market the way LEED changed the construction market,” said Andrew deCoriolis, director of marketing at Lucid.

Lucid will first post real-time energy and water usage for buildings that are using Lucid’s technology. Down the road, other buildings will be able to get Lucid’s service simply by clicking a widget on HonestBuildings.com and filling in information. For buildings that are already working with Lucid, a link to performance data will appear on the overview page of the building’s profile, just below the contact link.

“Lucid’s innovative, real-time energy monitoring technology adds another layer of rich information to our building profiles and will help people who use Honest Buildings make faster and more informed real-estate decisions,” Riggs Kubiak, co-founder and CEO of HonestBuildings.com, said in a statement. “It’s another great example of a cutting-edge company using the platform to accelerate the adoption of high-performance buildings.”

Both Lucid and Honest Buildings share a passion for social media and transparency through data sharing. Lucid is an energy dashboard company that is best known for its work in institutions using competition and social media to drive energy efficiency and automated demand response participation. 

In 2011, Lucid teamed up with Constellation Energy to allow companies to use money earned through Constellation’s demand response program to pay for Lucid’s building dashboard.

Honest Buildings is part of a growing group of freemium offerings in the building space, giving away basic offerings for free and charging for added services as part of a subscription model -- much like the way LinkedIn operates. DeCoriolis said that Lucid’s offerings through Honest Buildings will probably be the same. Some performance metrics will likely be free, or the first building or two of a portfolio may be free, and then there will be subscription services for deeper offerings. The startup recently closed a Series A round of funding

The timing for Honest Building coincides with a growing legislative push for buildings to disclose energy benchmarking information. In New York, the data has to be publicly disclosed, while other cities like San Francisco only require disclosure at the point of sale or lease.

There is increasing access to utility data through efforts like the Green Button, and a growing number of companies are making a business out of working with utilities to unlock data. “The cost per year per building comes down substantially with things like Green Button connect,” said deCoriolis. “It makes a big difference.”

At first it will be the buildings that are already performing well that will want to toot their own horn on Honest Buildings. But eventually, increasing transparency through disclosure laws and websites like Honest Buildings holds a lot of promise to drive efficiency, whether it’s building owners looking to draw better tenants or vendors being able to fine-tune their project acquisition process.

“The scale is exciting. The question for [Honest Buildings] and for us is, how do you make all of that data valuable and how do you make it valuable for different audiences?” said deCoriolis. “They’re trying to bring a level of transparency to the building market that was never there before.”

Tags: better buildings, building energy management, commercial building use, energy benchmarking, energy efficiency, honest buildings, lucid