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All those large commercial buildings you walk by every day — or maybe work in — have big ol’ heating and air conditioning units that are often times controlled by what’s called a building management system. While it might not be very sexy, the business of making those management systems more efficient, has emerged as a hot sector in recent years. One of the leading startups in that space, called BuildingIQ, has raised a new round of $9 million in funding from the investing arms of energy giants like Schneider Electric, Alstom, and Siemens (s si).
BuildingIQ, founded in 2009 with research from Australia’s national research group, optimizes building management systems with a predictive engine using real time data, such as the information from weather services and the power grid. The company also has machine learning algorithms that tweak the system to make the buildings efficient but without making them uncomfortable for tenants. Think of it like the Nest learning thermostat but for commercial buildings.
BuildingIQ’s system can also work with utilities’ demand response programs, or when a utility asks building managers to turn down their energy use at peak times of day (picture a scorching mid-Summer afternoon in Texas). It has partnered with Nevada Energy on a demand response program. BuildingIQ says it can deliver 20-to-30 percent reductions in energy use from the HVAC system.
Check out this video of BuildingIQ CEO Michael Zimmerman explaining how the system works
And me interviewing Zimmerman:
The full round came from Aster Capital — which is a group with funding from Schneider Electric, Alstom and Solvay — Siemens Financial Services (SFS VC) and Paladin Capital.