Retrofitting a building, especially an old building, is one way to improve energy efficiency and even attain LEED certification. But hiring professionals to research efficiency solutions can get pricey. Boston-based start-up Retroficiency Inc. has produced software that streamlines the process and—more importantly—saves money.
“Our goal is not necessarily to replace the guy going out auditing,” says company founder Bennett Fisher. The goal is to “put a tool in his hands to make him 25 to 50% more efficient.”
The software can be used in pre-bid evaluations. It can be deployed to predict the current energy consumption of a building, based on a proprietary database of tens of thousands of building energy audits. By factoring in the building’s age, square-footage, occupancy type, hours of operation and other parameters, it generates an estimate and list of retrofits likely to be needed to bring the building up to efficiency standards.
This isn’t the first time efficiency software has hit the market, says Bruce Sirota, senior vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle, Chicago. But he says other software he has used made sweeping assumptions that weren’t really accurate.
“I’m a skeptic of course,” says Sirota. “So I tested Retroficiency on the same properties we had just tested the old-fashioned manual way and had very good success. Our intention is to use it in the future as we do assessments; it will help us streamline our process and save money.”
Fisher says he interviewed owners as the product was being developed about what problems they were having. “The owners were looking for a workaround to avoid paying 50 people to go around and count the light bulbs in each of their properties,” he says.
That inspired his goal of breaking bottlenecks that come from manual approaches to energy appraisals.
The company recently received funding of $800,000 from angel investors that include World Energy Solutions Inc. and Jean Hammond and Jill Preotle, two early investors in Zipcar.
See retroficiency.com for more info.