Obama, better buildings and the innovators

When Obama unveiled his “Better Building Initiative” last week, it wasn’t just the usual architects, builders, and energy efficiency service companies that perked up with interest. A whole new segment of energy efficiency companies saw opportunity: the innovators.

Emissaries from the high tech world, the innovators are a growing force in energy efficiency. They bring web and wireless to what was once a field more about windows and weatherization.

Obama’s plan would create new business for the innovators by providing incentives to reduce building energy use. Buildings represent a large market for the US energy efficiency industry because they eat up 20% of the nation’s energy. Obama has proposed tax deductions, financing, competitive grants and other incentives as part of his budget.

Where do the innovators fit into this?  Daintree Networks offers one example. The Silicon Valley company provides open platform, wireless technology for lighting controls. Lighting is a big deal in buildings; it is responsible for about 40% of a building’s energy bill. http://old.aceee.org/ogeece/ch2_index.htm. Lighting controls increase efficiency by automatically shutting off or dimming unneeded lights.  The controls are often used in conjunction with occupancy sensors. The sensor detects when people empty a room and signal to the control system to turn off the lights.

“Anyone who is considering lighting upgrades now is asking about controls. It is no longer just about replacing light bulbs and fixtures, but about the control implementation,” said Danny Yu, Daintree Networks CEO.

With controls in only about 7% of commercial buildings, the market potential is large for innovators like Daintree Networks.  So Yu has his eye not only on federal energy policy, but also activity by the states.

“We are very keen on seeing what policies are coming down the line, exploiting them with innovation, and then educating the market. We have focused on California and the Northeast,” Yu said, adding that prime areas for lighting controls have the “magic combination” of high electric rates and strong efficiency incentives.

But he especially likes the Obama plan because of its national scope. Incentives that vary from state to state tend to discourage energy efficiency efforts that scale across geographic boundaries.

“The Obama Better Buildings Initiative is an important first step in establishing national policy to drive energy efficiency in the commercial building sector. Energy efficiency within existing buildings should be considered a massive and mostly untapped resource. Adding greater incentives, financing options and a more consolidated approach to strong building regulations helps to solve many of the challenges currently standing in the way of greener facilities,” Yu said.

Will the Obama’s initiative win Congressional support?  Yu is optimistic. “Energy efficiency is often the low-hanging fruit.  The government has realized this,” he said. “Among the innovation companies, there is a very clear sector rotation into energy efficiency. The government seems to be following the venture capital community. We are very worthy in this category. I’m very excited to see the validation of the business model.”

Details about the Obama Better Building Initiative are here.http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/02/03/president-oba...

Visit Elisa Wood at www.realenergywriters.com and pick up her free weekly newsletter and podcast.

Views: 19

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Profile IconJeffery Liang and Ellen Phillips Soroka joined Home Energy Pros
Friday
Charles Cormany added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Energy Efficiency Incentive Program Manager - Efficiency First California (Berkeley)

Position Title: Program Manager Terms: Full time, available immediatelyAbout Efficiency First…See More
Thursday
Charles Cormany joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

Job Board

This group is for posting jobs related to all aspects of the home performance industry including…See More
Thursday
Linda Wigington liked Home Energy Magazine's blog post Art Rosenfeld's Legacy
Thursday
terry nordbye added a discussion to the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
Thumbnail

Combustion anaylizer Testo 310

This little beauty only has a few hours on it. Almost brand new in box.Sell: $350.Terry 415 669…See More
Thursday
Barbara Smith's video was featured

Indiana HCA...On Location - Celebrating 40 Years of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) interviewed two clients of Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Both homes were weatheriz...
Thursday
Home Energy Magazine's blog post was featured
Wednesday
Profile IconEfficiency First California and Kevin Daly joined Home Energy Pros
Wednesday

Home Energy Pros

Welcome to Home Energy Pros – the unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network. Please honor our Guidelines

© 2017   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service