#Winning: EcoFactor Software Puts Thermostat On Auto-Pilot To Curb Energy Waste

EcoFactor, an energy efficiency startup based in Redwood City, Calif. was named a winner at the Utility Technology Challenge today in Boston. The other two winners were Ideal Power Converters and Power Tagging, according to a press release from the event.

EcoFactor’s flagship software as a service (SaaS) helps electricity consumers and utilities to diagnose and curb energy waste related to heating and cooling. This technology works with any kind of grid-enabled, or two-way thermostat. According to Scott Hublou, a senior vice president of product and a co-founder of EcoFactor, here’s how it helps curb energy waste:

“We look at the way outside weather conditions correlate with indoor heating and cooling needs at home. Then, we ask ‘how effective are your heaters or air conditioners at overcoming that?’ Once our system calculates and can understands the correlation, we can adjust the thermostat. We have an objective of reducing the energy required to keep the house comfortable. We can also help power companies reduce peak demand, and shift the load…”

Businesses that provide power, or energy management services to home owners— including cable operators and telecommunications providers, electric and gas utilities— are EcoFactor’s current and targeted customers. EcoFactor is available to end users in 10 states through a combination of pilot and commercial programs today.

The company recently found that homes that put their heaters and air conditioners on auto-pilot— via EcoFactor pilot programs across the country, and one commercial program in Dallas, Texas— realized a 17 percent reduction in energy use related to heating and cooling, on average. According to the most recent available D.O.E. study, half of the average Americans’ home energy bill is spent on heating and cooling.

The Utility Technology Challenge was started in 2009 (with funding by the U.S. Department of Energy) by the Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization (CTSI). EcoFactor competed against fifteen semifinalists, listed below:

* 7 AC Technologies, Massachusetts (www.7actech.com)
* EcoFactor, California (www.ecofactor.com)
* Electric Pipeline Corporation, New York (www.elpipes.com)
* Energy Compression, Inc., Massachusetts (www.energycompression.com/)
* EnerVault, California (www.enervault.com)
* Ideal Power Converters, Texas (www.IdealPowerConverters.com)
* Innosepra, LLC, New Jersey
* Minesto, Sweden (www.minesto.com)
* NovaThermal Energy, Pennsylvania (www.novathermalenergy.com)
* OsComp Systems, Massachusetts
* Plasma2Energy, Texas (www.Plasma2Energy.com)
* Power Tagging, Colorado (www.powertagging.com)
* Tropos Networks, California (www.tropos.com)
* V&R Energy Systems Research, Inc., California (www.vrenergy.com)
* XTreme Power, Texas (www.xtremepower.com)