White House Energy Datapalooza Inspiring, Successful | U.S. Green Building Council
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White House Energy Datapalooza Inspiring, Successful

Published on Written by Posted in Advocacy and policy
Photo credit: Nicola since 1972 via Flickr

On Monday, Oct. 1, the Obama Administration convened a successful data “nerd-fest” they described as an Energy Datapalooza.

Entrepreneurs, thought leaders, policy makers, and other stakeholders gathered in the Old Executive Office Building to talk about building energy information and opportunities to create value and drive market transformation at scale.

The event kicked off at 8:30 a.m. – a tough start for nearly half the attendees that had flown in from the west coast, but Obama Administration Chief Technology Officer Todd Park fired things up quickly with a high-energy introduction. He stressed the importance of unlocking government data to enable new business opportunities. His remarks were echoed by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Bob Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Participants covered a wide-range of topics. Consumer-oriented entrepreneurs included the leaders of WattzOn, Simple Energy, PlotWatt, and OPower. They showcased new solutions to engage and inform customers to save money on utility bills and select more efficient products. I was particularly inspired by PlotWatt. They’re developing cool technology to interpret whole house energy meter data to understand the performance of individual components, like refrigerators or air conditions. This is a form of virtual sub-metering. Check out their demo – all this information is generated from one whole house meter.

The audience also heard from so-called “data intermediaries,” such as Data Market and Clean Power Finance. These companies are market makers, providing data or money to make competitive markets work. For example Clean Power Finance provides software and residential power purchasing agreements that makes it easier for homeowners to buy rooftop solar panels.

Entrepreneurs focused on commercial building energy efficiency wrapped things up. This included FirstFuel’s CEO Sway Shah describing new ways to massively accelerate energy audits, Michael Murray describing Lucid Design Groups’ solutions for building competitions (including the USGBC co-sponsored Campus Conservation Nationals), and Riggs Kubiak’s vision for Honest Buildings.

During the commercial building session, I described the need for a new type of unique building ID – a combination of spatial, temporal, and semantic information that allows us to make reliable data connections for building-related information. I demonstrated a prototype for the tool using the Green Building Information Gateway and capabilities provided by USGBC-member ESRI.

The day featured many other announcements – check them out on the White House fact sheet.

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Chris Pyke

Chief Operating Officer for GRESB.com / Vice President for Research, USGBC U.S. Green Building Council
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