Johnson Controls opens energy-efficiency apps marketplace

Johnson Controls on Monday opened a new cloud-based apps marketplace intended to help commercial-building owners and operators save energy and money. 

The marketplace offers 17 apps so far, five of which were developed by third parties on the Panoptix platform, the company said.

Among others, these include apps that keep track of tenants' utilities, monitor buildings' energy performance and display the amount of carbon emissions each building, or group of buildings, is responsible for. The idea -- expressed as "See a bigger picture" by Panoptix -- is to help building owners and managers see energy trends across buildings, making it easier for them to find ways to reduce energy consumption, for example, or to see anomalies that could indicate fixable problems.

The apps are all based on Johnson Controls' Panoptix energy-management platform, introduced last year. The company earlier this month made its application programming interfaces (APIs) available to developers so they could begin designing apps for the marketplace.

This last weekend, Johnson Controls offered up the Panoptix APIs at GreenBiz's Hack City in a sponsored challenge. The winning challenge from InSite developed an app to benchmark building energy consumption and compare usage among other buildings in a portfolio. Building managers can then share these results through social media (Facebook and Twitter).

While the HackCity challenge is intended to spur developer interest in Johnson Controls commercial building apps, the launch of a marketplace brings a needed channel for startups like First Fuel, Lucid, EnergyPoints, T4G and FirstFuel to sell their wares.

The marketplace is free for property owners, but they pay for the apps and vendors pay to connect. Johnson Controls also gets data out of the deal. Customers must agree to provide data in order to use these apps, and Johnson Controls also will have access to that data.

VERGE editor Derek Top contributed to this report. Image of binary digital city by Leszek Glasner via Shutterstock.