Building IQ takes smart building software to US

System tailors energy use for large buildings

Australian software developer BuildingIQ will soon be offering its smart building services to US companies thanks to securing a runner up prize in the NSW Innovation Showcase: Fastpitch competition.

The competition is run by Industry & Investment NSW to help Australian companies with innovative products break into the US market.

BuildingIQ will receive three months of rent-free office space in a Los Angeles-based business technology centre and six hours of business coaching.

The company developed software that reduces the cost of heating, ventilation and air conditioning by up to 30 per cent by learning a building's energy requirements. The system is offered on a subscription basis and users pay for it out of resulting energy savings.

BuildingIQ chief executive, Mike Zimmerman, said the software connects to existing building management systems (BMS) and uses a thermal model to monitor energy levels.

"For example, it optimises the building for changes in weather conditions but also looks at utility prices. In Australia you have different electricity prices for peak and off-peak energy use," he said.

"Off-peak is usually in the afternoon so it will automatically use slightly more energy for air conditioning and than redirect that energy to another appliance before the changeover to peak periods.”

Zimmerman said it had taken a lot of ideas from the IT world such as optimisation and applied it to the building sector.

“The areas of the market that we are targeting (in the US) are commercial buildings 100,000 square feet and up," he said. "That’s because buildings of that size spent more than $US26 billion annually on energy.”

Based on savings achieved in Australia, Zimmerman said it had the potential to reduce energy costs for US companies by $5 billion a year.

BuildingIQ received the backing of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for the software development.

It is also involved with a smart grid project in Perth with Western Power using a smart grid application called optimised demand response.

Optimised demand response provides building owners with information about the costs and benefits of meeting energy reduction targets.

He said the company is keen to be involved with more smart grid projects but has not been approached by state governments at this stage.

However, BuildingIQ will be announcing some smart grid projects in the US later this year.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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