The Data-Driven Transformation of the Energy Efficiency Sector
The Internet of Things, characterized by technology platforms that enable interconnection of devices, has empowered companies to design innovative technologies, especially in the Energy Efficiency sector. Companies are embracing connectivity in product design, ranging from sensors to device communication to data analytics. As a result, we have seen increasing investments in software-based companies that are reshaping traditional energy efficiency products. Examples include Jasper, Nest, and Enlighted, which have garnered interest from many investment firms, news outlets, and social media. These companies are capable of transforming the Energy Efficiency sector through enabling cross communication technologies between devices.
Nest, one of the leaders in the Smart Home subsector, has developed an interactive thermostat that learns and adapts to users’ behaviors. The Nest Thermostat interacts with its environment – it gathers readings on external climate, time of day, and movement in the house. Through sensor-driven analytics and behavioral data, Nest automatically adjusts the HVAC system, which allows for seamless automated energy savings. This autonomy is how data is redefining the energy efficiency landscape – providing cost savings through data analytics, all without any effort from the user.
Enlighted, another innovator within the Smart Building subsector, has developed a platform that enables enhanced building efficiency. It has designed smart sensors that automatically adjust energy consumption by responding to environmental factors. Through real-time sensing and control, Enlighted’s system tunes lighting conditions based on energy consumption and lighting demands. These automated data-driven responses increase the triple bottom line of these businesses without compromising on budget. Such interconnected devices are redefining the status quo for products in the Energy Efficiency sector as they gradually transform into an industry standard.
Within the past decade, we have experienced an influx of data through the development of software technologies and the cloud. With more devices being embedded with sensors and the ability to communicate, there is an emerging need for companies to manage this wealth of data. In 2014 alone, there has been more than $886 million equity investments made in the Energy Efficiency sector, with data-driven smart technologies receiving about 28%, or $250 million of that share. Looking into the future, as data and the Internet of Things continues to develop, we will likely see more data-driven technologies across multiple cleantech sectors.