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Study: 'Building IT' to speed energy efficiency

With companies from IT and building management systems moving into energy efficiency for buildings, Lux Research sees a shakeout coming.

Buildings are the next frontier for computerized instrumentation, leading to a collision between building management incumbents and IT companies looking for new markets, according to a report.

Lux Research tomorrow is expected to release a report that predicts a wave of acquisitions at the intersection of buildings and IT.

One of the best examples of energy efficiency retrofits through green technology is the Empire State Building. Empire State Building Company

Building control companies Siemens, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, and Schneider Electric are likely to purchase smaller companies, as they already have. Meanwhile, IT companies IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, and Google will continue to look for a foothold in building energy efficiency.

In the past few years, several new and established companies have moved into building control in part because buildings, in general, perform very poorly when it comes to meeting their expected performance on energy efficiency.

Adding modern controls to HVAC systems, such as sensors, and introducing energy monitoring systems and efficiency lighting could improve commercial building efficiency by 24 percent and 16 percent in residential homes, Lux said. These types of improvements could save hundreds of billions of dollars a year worldwide, it said.

On the business side, building efficiency is ripe for innovation because it fits the venture capital investment model relatively well.

In the beginning of the decade, entrepreneurs and investors who moved into green technology often focused on power generation, such as solar or biofuels. Increasingly, green-technology venture capitalists are moving into energy efficiency because it requires less money to develop and commercialize a product.