WegoWise taps big data for energy efficient apartment buildings

While sometimes overlooked, the multi-tenant apartment building market represents a significant target for energy efficiency retrofits.

Clearly there are savings to be had in small commercial building performance upgrades, but challenges remain in project costs, incentive programs and simply finding a place to start.

Enter WegoWise. With a Web-based platform to analyze water, gas and electric utility bills for building performance, the company relies on data as its secret sauce to target the $2 billion multi-tenant building property market in the U.S.

Key to the Mass.-based startup's success is a cloud-based energy management toolkit and universal access to utility data, said Andrew Chen, CEO of Wegowise in an interview. "Cheap computing power, cheap storage and data-sharing makes it all possible."

The company takes a holistic, systems-view approach in aggregating information on building characteristics (square footage; windows and lighting information; heating, ventilation, and cooling assets) with regional weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well behavioral tenant information.

Subscribers to the WegoWise platform crunch all that data with automated monthly utility information to assess overall building performance.

"With information stored in one place, building owners can benchmark and identify major outliers in their building portfolio," said Chen. Users of the WegoWise system can then target resources to reduce operational costs in energy retrofits.

Chen says utility bills represent about one-third of all operational costs for multi-family and small commercial building owners.

Next page: New partnership with U.S. Green Building Council