The company is in a busy and bustling space, with everything from multinational firms like Johnson Controls and Siemens to nimble startups like FirstFuel and SCIenergy. But OutSmart is not really like any of those companies, according to Kevin Johnson, founder and CEO of Outsmart.
OutSmart has a solution that uses small sensors on every circuit and transmits information whenever there is a change in energy use. “We send a lot less data with a lot better information,” said Johnson. “We’re the cardiologists of energy management.” He likened the focus on circuit-level information to the sophistication of an EKG, compared to pulling basic utility data, which he compared to a doctor only using a stethoscope.
The solution works best for owner-occupied buildings with high energy density that’s more than $4 a square foot in energy costs. OutSmart is also looking for spaces with high load diversity, said Johnson. The Natick, Mass.-based business finds that supermarkets, food manufacturing, data centers and pharmaceutical labs work particularly well for the technology.
Like other solutions, much of the savings come from monitoring equipment and ensuring that it is all running correctly. “In a lot of companies, energy and equipment are not seen as one and the same thing,” said Johnson. By focusing on the equipment, clients see a 10 to 15 percent savings. The payback for the system is about a year, but can be much faster if equipment is being run incorrectly.
Connecting all of the sensors in a large commercial building to the many circuits is a messy business – often there are just too many wires and sensors to fit into the small area. Outsmart can have up to 32 of its proprietary sensors, called EnergyMate, to a single collector that communicates over powerline. Powerhouse Dynamics also monitors power by the circuit, but its solution is tailored for small commercial and residential.
OutSmart is aware that it’s not working in a vacuum and Johnson said that his company’s solution can work with other building management systems. “We believe our technology fills an important gap in energy efficiency and this financing will allow us to grow our customer base, expand distribution through strategic partners and further enhance the OutSmart technology,” he said.
If a building owner already has a building management system or other efficiency software, OutSmart can feed its data stream coming off of circuit-level sensors into other platforms, or customers can just use OutSmart. “We realize most data is more valuable when it’s combined with more data,” said Johnson. “We think our role is this granular and sophisticated energy monitoring.”
The most recent round of capital brings OutSmart’s total funding to more than $9 million.