Startup FirstFuel revs up with funding for energy data analytics

FirstFuel Software, which uses data analytics to assess and reduce the energy consumption of commercial buildings, has raised another funding round of $8.5 million, bringing its total funding to $20.9 million to date. The company’s investors include utility giant E.ON and venture capitalists Nth Power, Rockport Capital and Battery Ventures.

FirstFuel’s analytics are interesting because they use data to remotely determine the energy information of a commercial building, like its energy consumption habits, and can give recommendations for how to make the building run more energy efficiently. The company doesn’t use onsite hardware (like sensors) or onsite energy audits (a guy walking around with a clipboard) to get this data, but says its energy info and recommendations are as accurate and effective as if the building had used hardware or an audit — both of which are far more costly.

One of the major groups of customers for such a service are utilities (remember E.ON is an investor), which want a cheaper and quicker way to figure out the energy information about their large commercial customers. Thom Siebel’s C3 has also been working on analytics tools for utilities to measure the energy data of commercial customers.

FirstFuel says it’s been growing rapidly over the past year, and as of November, says that it’s software has analyzed over 700 million square feet of total commercial building space. FirstFuel has deployed its analytics with government agencies, too, including the U.S. General Services Administration and the Washington D.C. Department of General Services.