Published on September 12th, 2012 | by James Ayre4
New Startup Essess Is Making a Mashup of Google Street View and Zillow, to Perform Efficient Home Energy Audits
September 12th, 2012 by James Ayre
Billions of dollars of energy are wasted in the U.S. every year because of uncaulked air seal leaks in windows, walls, and doors. With nearly forty percent of the energy in the U.S. being used for the heating and cooling of buildings, any wide-scale improvement in the energy efficiency of buildings could have a potentially huge impact on the total energy used in the U.S.
The approach that is currently used to detect the leaks in buildings is the “blower door test, which is time-consuming, inconvenient and certainly doesn’t scale the way it must in order to become cheap and ubiquitous. And it doesn’t scale the way the venture community requires of its portfolio companies.”
A new startup, Essess, is aiming to change that. (The company’s name is pronounced ēssess.)
The company plans to drive cars past every building in the U.S., the same way Google Street View has, to take high-speed thermal scans of all residential and commercial structures. After creating a massive library of the thermal signatures of all the structures, it will give an energy score to every building, creating a simple way for building owners to consider possible improvements.
The scans, which will need a contrast of images taken in cold and hot weather, will only cost the company around $1.00 per building.
“Armed with that data, the plan is to identify every weak link and thermal problem with the building and then provide a tangible ROI-based solution to the building owners,” according to CEO Storm Duncan.
Essess is, essentially, doing away with the need for utility workers, energy auditors or contractors to spend any time inspecting the leaks and insulation in a building. Potential clients will simply be presented with a detailed report and potential steps to be taken.
“This ‘light-touch’ style of analyzing data for efficiency insights is part of the claims of companies like Opower, Tendril, EnergyHub, EcoFactor and many others in the home energy management space. FirstFuel does the same in the commercial energy market. Despite the ‘light touch’ analysis of the structure, building shell improvements like insulation and windows are not cheap.”
The company, which aims to have 10 percent of the U.S. imaged by the end of the year, has already raised $6 million dollars from DFJ Athena, Vocap Ventures, and the founders of BlackRock.
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