Technology developed at CWRU allows a building’s energy use to be audited remotely, saving time and money
Case Western Reserve University has executed a license option with Edifice Analytics Inc., a “spinout” company founded by engineering professors who developed the technology to conduct a building’s energy audit remotely rather than on-site.
The agreement allows the Cleveland Heights-based company to commercially develop, use and sell the university-owned technology.
“Our exciting new technology uses big-data analytics, machine learning and satellite weather data to provide fast, accurate, low-cost, no-touch virtual building audits,” said Edifice Analytics CEO David Gordon. “We can efficiently process entire portfolios of buildings with only minimal information.”
Most energy audits involve performing leak tests, infrared imaging, “blower-door” tests and other procedures on-site. The work can be expensive—$5,000 to $10,000 or more —and take days to conduct, which may also disrupt normal business operations. The Edifice Analytics technology allows the work to be done for less than a tenth of the cost.
The software performs a virtual audit using smart-meter data. The technology allows building owners and managers to have energy audits of their properties conducted remotely instead of requiring a physical inspection.
The company can remotely analyze potential savings for insulation and window replacement, HVAC efficiency, refrigeration efficiency, occupancy patterns and more.
The technology was developed by Roger French, Kyocera Professor of Materials Science at the Case School of Engineering (CSE) and director of the university’s Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) Research Center, and Alexis Abramson, formerly the Milton and Tamar Maltz Professor of Energy Innovation at Case Western Reserve and director of the university’s Great Lakes Energy Institute. She is now dean of Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering, but still maintains her collaborations with Case Western Reserve.
“This is a great example of how visionary faculty can leverage the earliest types of translational funding to build out their research into a full market solution,” said Daniel Pendergast, senior director of operations for the university’s Technology Transfer Office.
Edifice Analytics, which has worked with several commercial partners during the development phase, is working to attract pilot customers interested in conducting virtual energy audits of their buildings. In 2016, Case Western Reserve was awarded a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop software to perform virtual energy audits of light commercial buildings, with the creation of a new venture as one of the aims.