Agilewaves is developing a system that monitors electric, gas and water usage from energy sensors and links them through an integration panel within the building.

It’s one of a number of startups, among them Tendril Networks, EnergyHub, Control4, and Onzo, designing systems to integrate energy monitoring devices and sensors with data acquisition software and, in some cases, smart meters in order to measure and manage power use.

I spoke with Ed Campaniello, Agilewaves' CFO.

He described the firm:  "Agilewaves provides a building energy management solution that is uniquely positioned as a very cost effective, easy to integrate product for reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings.  We are significantly differentiated from building automation or energy monitoring systems."  One of the distinctions of the company is that "We are not going to the utility, we are going directly to the building owner.  We've made the decision that we are not going to be dependent on utilities for info from a smart meter to make this data available to customers who need it." 

Campaniello claims that the firm has, "Upwards of 30 customers right now including some of the leading real estate companies in the country."  Some of these firms manage more than 10 million square feet of building space. Others going straight to building owners include Cimetrics, Johnson Controls, Adura Technologies and Advanced Telemetry while EcoFactor will sell its products through broadband providers.

"Because of the approach we've taken on the architecture of the solution, we can provide more visibility than can be provided via a smart meter from a utility," he adds.

"For firms going after residential customers - it makes sense to partner with a utility, but for us going after the commercial and institutuonal space -- it's a different strategy .  Our strategy is something that can be deployed quickly and easily and provide highly accurate, targeted, intelligent info as opposed to just data."  That information can be sent to computers, mobile devices or third party monitoring services.

The angel-funded company was founded in 2006 by a group of engineers out of NASA who were developing data acquisition technology for science and space applications.  They decided to take that data acquisition expertise and apply it to buildings.

Campaniello claims that their software and hardware solution is so accurate that it can provide visibility of energy usage with "billing grade accuracy."  Some customers actually use the product for the purpose of sub-metering.  "We can offer real-time data in kilowatt hours," adds Campaniello

An example of sub-metering: In a large commercial office building the rental agreement could be "full service" with utilities paid by the building owner.  In this type of arrangement - there is not a lot of incentive for the tenants to reduce their utility bill.  By adding the Agilewaves system to accurately track the energy usage for a given tenant -- the owner has a system in place to shift tenants to paying their utility bill directly with the added benefit of marketing the building as a green building.  New York City actually offers subsidies for owners who provide sub-metering.

The system is priced by the number of end-points being monitored including electricity, gas or water.  "The sensors come in a variety of different forms but they are tested in our own lab, and they are easy to install. 100,000 square feet takes a licensed electrician about a day to install."

There is an upfront fee for the first year and a subsequent subscription for the software which is hosted, managed, and periodically upgraded by the start-up.

Products like the Agilwaves system allow users to recognize where there are problems in a building, for example:

  • HVAC systems that are simultaneously cooling and heating a building
  • Systems that are on 24 hours a day that don't need to be on 24 hours per day
  • Pumps that dont need to be runnning all the time
  • Lights that don't need to be on at night

The bottom line according to Campaniello: "Building owners can see savings of 15-25% in the first year."

The smart grid ecosytem is complex and crowded.  A great tool to navigate the terrain is Greentech Media Research's Free Smart Grid Report.