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Summary:

Green building and energy efficiency company Serious Energy has acquired building energy management startup Agilewaves. Is the building energy shopping spree starting up again?

Agilewaves Gauges Your Home's Greenness

Green building and energy efficiency company Serious Energy has acquired building energy management startup Agilewaves. The companies didn’t disclose terms of the deal.

This is the first I’ve heard about Agilewaves in about three years. Back in 2008, Agilewaves was trying to raise its first round of VC funding and launched the next-generation of its energy management system, called the Resource Monitor, in projects like the Nueva School in Hillsborough, Calif. The system offers building owners a detailed look at the resource consumption of the building, and ways to reduce that resource consumption.

Since then, Agilewaves launched software called the Building Optimization System (BOS), which is a way to monitor and manage the resource consumption of a building via a website. Serious Energy says it will incorporate the building optimization system into its Software-as-a-Service energy management tools.

Agilewaves has been tackling ways to get a lot more granular energy data than other comparable systems, and the company has been targeting commercial buildings, and really high-end residential homes. The system can be linked with sensors to monitor things like temperature, moisture, gas sensors and electricity, and can break down data by room, floor and per appliance. Agilewave’s energy dashboard could also be paired with control systems, so it can dim lights, turn heating and cooling off and adjust smart appliances.

For that kind of granular data, the building owner paid no small price: between $3,000 to $7,500, the company told us back in 2008, though the systems cost even more in the early stage because they were custom designed.

Serious Energy has been acquiring or rolling out a variety of products, and now its sort of the one-stop shop for building efficiency tools. Last year, the company launched its own building energy management software. And last week, Serious Energy rolled out a program called SeriousCapital, which will provide upfront financing for the energy retrofit of a building via a 10-year contract, with a cut of the energy savings over time going to Serious and the bank that help financed the project.

Building energy management startups have a pretty high rate of being acquired. I think it’s because of a few factors:

  1. Often they are small teams with software based tools that can be acquired for cheap.
  2. There have been a lot of them, so many don’t do that well and can be acquired for cheap.
  3. Energy management dashboards and tools can be sexy to big infrastructure companies, like when Silver Spring bought Greenbox. It’s the point where home owners or building owners interface with all the geeky gear that you put in the building.
  1. So, Serious investors realized that selling commodity building products like drywall and windows wouldn’t give them 10x returns on their money? Surprise. So, now they are buying up failed companies in energy management to try and get higher valuations. This won’t end well.

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  2. @Dilbert, I think you’re right that building products are a hard sell. About a year ago Serious decided to get a lot more into energy software, so this is the latest move in that. Not sure if it will end badly or not — I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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