GE, Intel Back Smart Building Startup Scientific Conservation
Smart building startup Scientific Conservation has officially brought on power conglomerate GE as an investor. While the company announced a Series B round of $15.65 million in January of this year, Thursday morning, Scientific Conservation said it has boosted that round to $19 million, with investment from GE Energy Financial Services and investors Triangle Peak Partners.
In a separate announcement Thursday morning, Scientific Conservation also said it has a deal with chip giant Intel to reduce energy consumption for campuses, workspaces and data center cooling. And as part of the deal, Intel Capital has also invested in Scientific Conservation.
Scientific Conservation came out of stealth back in the summer of 2009 after spending years developing and selling its product: a web-based software platform that links into a building’s existing automation system and applies analytics to continuously predict, detect and diagnose system faults and anomalies. CEO Russ McMeekin has estimated the company will grow from 20 million square feet under management today to 100 to 150 million square feet by the end of 2011, and customers include Neiman Marcus, California’s Santa Clara County, Boeing and GE.
GE has been supportive of the company even before this investment, and GE picked Scientific Conservation as one of its 12 Ecomagination Challenge winners. GE’s real estate arm, GE Capital Real Estate, also plans to install the company’s analytics in “several” buildings in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. GE’s interest in the company, is a real validation that it works as advertised and saves building owners money on energy bills.
Most large commercial buildings in the U.S. rely on some type of automation system for operators to monitor their buildings’ energy consumption. Scientific Conservation’s tools pull in data from existing sensors installed in a building, combine that data with weather data and power pricing from utilities, run simulations, and identify faults. The software can predict imminent failures by comparing data with past performance. It also prioritizes the maintenance needed and estimates the cost of inaction. Sensors or other devices that are malfunctioning — even intermittently — are identified and, once replaced, make air conditioning and other energy hogs in a building run as intended.
Other companies offering similar services include Pulse Energy, BuildingIQ (one of our Green:Net Big Ideas winners), and Cisco’s Building Mediator. While long-established companies like Johnson Controls have been developing automation systems for decades, these newer entrants are leveraging advances in information technology and the Internet to make these older building automation systems run more efficiently.
Scientific Conservation has now raised $28 million, and other investors in the firm include Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Westly Group.
Image courtesy of Scientific Conservation.
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