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Building and Energy Startups Reduce Costs While Improving Efficiency

Posted by Matthew Windt on

Category: Northeast


Improvements in energy efficiency are among the most abundant yet underutilized resources for large-scale cost reductions, energy savings, and regional economic development. Spurred by the vast potential for far-reaching improvements, cities across the US (particularly in the Northeast) have taken proactive steps in tracking and implementing energy efficiency enhancements.

The venture community and entrepreneurs alike have capitalized on these opportunities. A report from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors found that an investment of $280 billion in building retrofits could directly lead to more than $1 trillion in energy cost savings over ten years. These retrofits also reduced the energy use of buildings by more than 30%.

The Cleantech Open Northeast alumni startups below are creating a diverse range of building-related products, from interactive energy management systems to low carbon waterless concrete.


Sealed wants to make energy improvements simple by guaranteeing savings in home energy improvements. They accomplish this by working with contractors to identify, recommend and implement energy efficient improvements, while replacing the homeowner's utility bill with a single Sealed energy bill.

In the company's interview on Fox Business, CEO Andy Frank stated that during the company's pilot program in Long Island, the average home efficiency upgrade cost $10,000 and yielded savings of about $800 every year. Costs incurred by homeowners could be financed through state or federal programs, yielding immediate cash-flow-positive results.

Courtland Research

POUNCE Systems by Cortland Research offers a complete solution of smart electrical devices that monitor and control energy consumption at the final point of use. The system features smart outlets and switches embedded with a radio frequency antenna and microsensors that can monitor occupancy, room temperature, and plug load. The POUNCE system can be retrofitted into existing structures, allowing for real time data analysis and optimization to be conducted regardless of the age of the building. Check out their installation in the Onondaga Community College's retreat center.


SmartPwrNet provides technology-driven solutions for thermal comfort utilizing BTU-metering equipment as well as air-flow controlled diffusers. The company strives to deliver simple, sustainable solutions through software while ensuring a short return on investment.

Aeolus Building Efficiency

Significant amounts of energy are wasted by the speed of airflow in HVAC systems. Aeolus Building Efficiency aims to optimize airflow rates and costs through software monitoring and adjustments, increasing energy efficiency while providing comfort to tenants.


BlocPower leverages social impact investors through an online platform to finance solar and energy efficiency improvements for religious institutions, charter schools, nonprofits and other financially underserved areas of the community. The company hopes to create jobs, yield energy savings, reduce carbon output and finance returns for their investors. Some of their recent clients include barbershops and bodegas.


LitGreen offers a unique line of energy-saving LED lighting for street lighting. At roughly a third of the cost and two thirds of the energy use compared to conventional street lights, LitGreen offers cities an inexpensive yet effective way to increase their energy efficiency. In the town of Lloyd, New York Supervisor Paul Hansut holds the LitGreen LED, newly installed inside existing main street lighting. The installation will save about 75% of the energy used for lighting and will dramatically reduce system maintenance.

Green Sulfcrete

Green Sulfcrete is commercializing a technology from Brookhaven National Labs that utilizes sulfur polymers to create a low-carbon, high-strength, waterless concrete that can be made from the oil and gas industry's waste sulfur. The material can be made at parity with Portland cement while exhibiting twice the compression strength.

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  • By Matthew Windt on in Northeast

Updated on April 15, 2015 4:47 PM