NASA inspires launch of software for energy-efficient buildings

NASA inspires launch of software for energy-efficient buildings

3D building image by jl661227 via Shutterstock.

An interesting startup called Ekotrope is marketing web-based software that allows buildings to be analyzed as they are being designed and built.

It allows design options to be compared in minutes, cutting building construction costs 2 to 10 percent and resulting in buildings that are 40 percent more energy efficient. It's also used for renovations.

It can analyze entire buildings during the design phase, comparing various component configurations to find the most cost-effective ways to reach the greatest energy efficiency. The software provides an interactive report of a building's energy performance, allowing users to make real-time decisions and conduct what-if scenarios during planning and construction phases.

Designers also can drill down and analyze wall, roof and floor assemblies.

Step 1: Upload your design(s)

Step 2: Compare designs optimizing for construction cost, payback period or energy savings

Step 3: Choose design options that match the project's goals

So far, Ekotrope has optimized about 700,000 square feet of building space in 11 states across the U.S.

Designers of a net-zero energy community in Florida used the software.

"When embarking on this new development it was crucial for us to fully understand all of the cost, energy and sustainability build options available to us in detail," says Greg Thomas, managing member for Green Key Village LLC. "For each individual design plan, this meant considering more than 10,000 unique variables. We also want our buyers to be able to choose from 10 different, fully sustainable designs."

Green Key Village found the software to be "amazingly sophisticated but easy-to-use, enabling us to intuitively review and compare a wide array of build and material options."

MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor Edward Crawley developed the software, drawing on NASA technology, because he was searching for help in designing an energy-efficient home. He wanted his architect to be able to analyze trade-offs in using various components to find the best energy and investment combination.

Recently, the Massachusetts-based company raised $1.7 million, bringing its total capital raise to $3 million. Part of that money came from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The state-funded organization invests in Massachusetts clean energy companies to create local, high quality jobs while supporting them in reaching national markets.

This article originally appeared at Sustainable Business News.

3D building image by jl661227 via Shutterstock.