The Empire State Building is in on it, and so is the Clinton Global Initiative these days – “it” being energy efficiency analysis aimed at identifying cost-effective retrofits for commercial buildings. Now FirstFuel (formerly iblogix) has announced that it has secured a $2.4 million initial round of financing led by Battery Ventures and Nth Power, with participation from individual investors, to quickly scale up and accelerate adoption of its Rapid Building Assessment (RBA) platform, which provides zero-touch analysis of the energy performance of commercial buildings.
There’s a lot of cash and carbon to be saved by upgrading commercial buildings with energy efficient retrofits, but until now, building owners and managers have largely had to rely on what FirstFuel characterizes as “intrusive” on-site assessments as a starting point. These come with high costs and long timelines. FirstFuel’s software platform was designed to allow owners and managers to input essential data regarding their buildings and generate recommendations for energy efficient retrofits that will produce significant savings on utility bills.
However, FirstFuel views the market for its software as not primarily those who own and manage commercial buildings, but their utilities. “Utilities have had difficulty engaging their commercial customers and realizing energy efficiency savings on a large scale,” said Swapnil Shah, co-founder and CEO of FirstFuel Software. Shah said his company’s platform applies deep analytics to consumption data, delivering insightful profiles of energy-use at a speed and cost that enables scalable delivery across a large portfolio.
Using patent-pending analytics that disaggregate whole building consumption into end-uses, the FirstFuel RBA platform aims to circumvent the traditional, high-touch process by which building managers uncover cost-effective retrofit opportunities. How does it measure up against that traditional process? According to the Cadmus Group, an energy engineering and consulting firm, the FirstFuel RBA platform did indeed perform on par with current best practices in a recent field test on a school, delivering results via remote analysis concurrent with an ASHRAE Level 2 audit.