A Geek’s Dream

The space where energy meets IT is a geek’s dream. Four years ago, about when I took an extended hiatus from blogging for cleantechblog, the available software and hardware options that supported residential energy efficiency were slim, and the solutions, clunky. Home performance and energy rating professionals had paper data collection sheets and time-consuming modeling software that unappealingly overestimated energy savings and sometimes heating load. No web-based solution – and none with homeowner-friendly graphically illustrated information – had made it to market.
The exercise for the home performance contractor went something like this …. collect the data in the field on paper, drive back to the office and (after working all day) enter data into software loaded onto a single a computer, then email or print and mail (or drive) it to the homeowner, and perhaps also to a government-funded energy efficiency program, if they gave you a compelling reason to do so, like volumes of sales leads, or better yet, cash. If a homeowner wanted a loan to pay for home energy upgrades, they were handed printed forms to be hand-filled and faxed.
I was curious about the possibilities of streamlining the data communication processes in this field when one home performance contractor in Maine showed up on a job with a handheld tablet. Disliking the software solutions available for the home performance profession at that time, I spouted off that the home performance industry would find its wings when Silicon Valley and the IT/telecommunications industry got into energy software.
This was 2007, before iPads, Android, SmartPhones, and Google Chrome … and before Central Maine Power installed a smart meter on my house.
Since then, the opportunity to collect and manage energy data has exploded with the introduction of these tools. (I am finger tapping this blog entry on an iPad2.)
The convergence of IT and energy efficiency nearly defines cleantech, and the leaders in this space are coming not out of Silicon Valley or the Massachusetts Tech Corridors, but San Francisco and Boulder…
more about them next week.

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  1. […] and energy rating professionals had paper data collection sheets and time-consuming modeling […] Cleantech Blog TAGS:  Dream, Geek’s This entry was posted on Sunday, May 6th, 2012 at 10:16 am and […]

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