Optimum Energy, which is making its mark managing cooling systems in large buildings, announced a partnership on Monday with Johnson Controls, one of the world’s largest players in commercial building efficiency.

The startup has been on our radar for some time, and it has already been working with Johnson Controls, and a variety of other partners, to bring its dynamically controlled software system to the huge chillers used in large buildings. The new products by Johnson Controls, Plant Optimization 10 and Central Plant Optimization 30 offer energy management for central chilled water plants that are used to cool water for air conditioning systems in skyscrapers.

“[The partnership] validates our solution from one of the largest players in the space,” said Matthew Frey, president and CEO of Optimum Energy.

Optimum’s solution, OptimumHVAC, dynamically adjusts the chillers by taking a holistic approach, rather than just shutting the system on or off. One of Optimum's systems, for example, will shed 750,000 kilowatt hours off of the load in Adobe's headquarters in San Jose.

The two programs from Johnson Controls using Optimum software are similar, but CPO 30 just offers a more significant savings opportunity by continuously monitoring each piece of equipment and balancing the relationship between them. Frey said that CPO 30 could save up to 60 percent of the energy used by a chiller.

Although Johnson Controls will garner a lot of the focus of the Seattle-based startup, it continues to work with all different players in the market, from consultants to manufacturers to installers. Working with various stakeholders gives Optimum Energy a better chance of being involved, no matter who is in the driver’s seat on any one project, said Frey.

The timing for Optimum could not be better. The current focus of the partnership will be North America, but Johnson Controls was just awarded an 'Energy Saving Service Institution Record Certificate' that qualifies it to provide comprehensive building efficiency services in China. Besides China, Frey said they would also like to expand in the Middle East, where there are plenty of air conditioners -- and plenty of skyscrapers. 

Tags: energy efficiency, hvac, johnson controls, optimum energy