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: 14

Comment

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

Join Home Energy Pros

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Twitter

Latest Activity

Dale Hoffmeyer posted a discussion

Friends and Family Referral Marketing

Is anyone aware of home performance contractors that have had success with some type of friends and…See More
12 hours ago
Amber Vignieri posted a blog post
13 hours ago
Diane Chojnowski commented on Chris Dorsi's blog post My Favorite Announcement of the Year
"Congratulations Michelle Nochisaki and Ed Matos!  "
14 hours ago
Chris Dorsi's blog post was featured

My Favorite Announcement of the Year

Each year, Habitat X engages in…See More
14 hours ago
Sydney G. Roberts commented on Tom White's video
Thumbnail

Building Science Insights -- To Vent or Not to Vent

"R Higgins, you can insulate exterior with with foam board or nailbase when you reroof and then…"
15 hours ago
Steven Lefler posted a status
yesterday
Ryan T De La Rosa is now a member of Home Energy Pros
yesterday
Chris Dorsi posted a blog post

My Favorite Announcement of the Year

Each year, Habitat X engages in…See More
yesterday

© 2016   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service