Retroficiency app sizes up building energy

Start-up launches to streamline the process of evaluating and retrofitting commercial buildings for better energy efficiency.

Retroficiency's Web application is designed so energy auditors or building managers can get a quick idea of energy use and evaluate efficiency projects.
Retroficiency's Web application is designed so energy auditors or building managers can get a quick idea of energy use and evaluate efficiency projects. Retroficiency

Start-up Retroficiency today officially launched its service for streamlining efficiency projects in commercial buildings and said it has raised a seed round of funding.

The Boston-based company said it has raised $800,000 from local angel investors and World Energy, which operates online auctions for bidding on energy supply contracts.

Retroficiency's Web-based application is designed to quickly create a picture of a commercial building's energy profile and potential efficiency upgrades. It can be used by energy auditors to speed up creation of their reports or by buildings' facility managers to prioritize projects.

Many building owners or occupants are interested in improving efficiency, but the manual process of sending out an energy services professional can be time-consuming, said CEO and founder Bennett Fisher.

With the application, users fill out a survey with basic information, such as square footage, occupancy, and year built. Drawing on a database of existing buildings, it can infer more specifics, such as the type of lighting used and estimated electricity and gas usage. People can later update the profile with more specifics.

"There's a huge bottleneck of finding efficiency opportunities and going after this. New York City wants to audit 20,000 buildings. How are they going to do this with a guy walking around with a clipboard counting lightbulbs?" said Bennett.

So far, Retroficiency has signed one customer--commercial building manager Jones Lang LaSalle--for its service and is in trials with a handful of others.

In the commercial building efficiency area, there are dozens of large and small companies seeking to find a niche for their goods and services, in part because there's a lot of potential to save money and lighten buildings' environmental footprint. Bennett said he has found that its "identification and qualification platform" competes largely with manual processes and spreadsheets.

 

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