REFI Radio: Tech startup tracks CRE energy usage

Tech startup Enertiv aims to transform the way commercial real estate landlords monitor energy usage in real time. “We’re building...

Tech startup Enertiv aims to transform the way commercial real estate landlords monitor energy usage in real time. “We’re building the most advanced energy data and analytics solution for real estate portfolios,” said Connell McGill, co-founder. “[We] track and analyze common area energy usage at the equipment level to help building operators identify opportunities for savings, and to alert them when there are critical equipment failures.”

The Enertiv platform also tracks tenant energy consumption, which enables landlords and property managers to invoice tenants for usage, and to engage the tenants by providing access to their energy data as a tenant amenity. It’s the first company to bring transparency to tenant and base building consumption, down to the equipment level. “We can bring a building online in just a few days, and begins sending out highly actionable operational insights in just a couple of weeks,” said McGill. “We are one of few companies in the space that develop our own hardware and software, enabling us to offer our solution very affordably. It’s likely the reason the the platform has been adopted by over 200 buildings.”

Most property owners today are issued a bill by their energy company at the end of each month that doesn’t a detailed analysis of where energy was spent. Entertiv users, for example, are tracking 150-300 individual pieces of equipment per building, and can see when exhaust fan belts slip, when elevators break down, when boilers suddenly fail, and when AC’s need maintenance and when compressors begin short cycling. “Anything that consumes power is tracked,” McGill said.

One of the firm’s earliest assignments was installing 20 of its units in four Connecticut public schools. Six months later, the data was analyzed with the findings that most teachers left their computers running all summer, cafeteria refrigerators were running while completely empty, and the air conditioning was running 24/7. “Our system delivered immediate ROI, creating thousands of dollars’ worth of savings,” McGill said. “This was a strong validation for the platform very early on, and over the years we’ve shifted our focus to real estate portfolios, where I believe there is a tremendous opportunity for our services.” Through angel investors, the company raised enough money at its conception to have one and a half years’ worth of runway to operate without having to make a profit. 

EnertivTwo meter is on the market today, and a third version is in the works. The cost to install Enertiv is about $10k to $15k per building including hardware and labor, and the yearly subscription costs between $5k and $10k depending on the level of service, added McGill. Enertiv’s current list of clientele encompasses close to 100 portfolios and recent clients include Colliers International, Edison, and Macklowe.