Thursday, February 9, 2012

HAL Comes To Energy-Savings Software

Companies like Viridity Energy will play a key role increasing the energy efficiency of the vertical parts of our economy (for buildings, energy represents the second or third largest expense).  Viridity Energy develops sophisticated software - - located in Philadelphia and backed by $24 million in VC dollars.  Maybe not HAL in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but this is software that turns the skyscraper into a "thinking structure" in the context of energy management.

The software works with the building or factory's energy systems - - monitor and control functions for heating, cooling, appliances, and generators.  The operating algorithm constantly checks with the variables that affect how much a building or facility pays for energy.  These variables include the price of electricity and weather forecasts (which cause price spikes).  The software is smart - - it knows which rooms of a building are better insulated than others and makes adjustments.  If electricity prices rise, the software automatically reduces heat in the law library for example (books trap a lot of warmth).  If a facility has a source of energy (e.g., solar panels) - - the software also lets facilities sell their excess energy back to the grid.

So if you are in a building and hear, "Affirmative, Dave, it's a good time to sell electricity," it might be the building talking to you.

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