By Ryan Star | BisNow | Posted on Forbes
Bractlet, whose software uses Internet of Things sensors to create super-accurate commercial building simulations, helps owners optimize energy use and forecast savings. CEO Alec Manfre outlines his plan to take the Austin startup nationwide.
Manfre, recently named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Energy, said Bractlet is in 30 properties totaling 20M SF, and the firm is working with groups across Texas, including Parkway Properties, CIM Group and HPI Real Estate Services. Bractlet is deployed in office buildings, healthcare facilities and universities. Manfre’s team deals directly with owners and targets groups with portfolios in the 10M SF to 100M SF range, REITs especially. “Our value proposition resonates with those guys.” Bractlet has projects outside Texas, in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, and Manfre said it is forging partnerships with telecoms and Fortune 500 firms.
There’s no shortage of players dealing in building-data collection. “This is a very noisy space,” Manfre said. Building controls companies, equipment vendors, utility rebate programs — all of them gather building operation information, monitoring smart meters and automation systems in a bid to improve energy efficiency and resource management. What sets Bractlet’s tech apart, Manfre said, is its ability to bring all the disparate pieces of data (utility bills, localized weather, sub-meters, automation systems) together in a single platform. “The software basically does an on-site audit,” he said.
Bractlet makes a digital twin of a building via automated software, allowing it to simulate the exact operation of individual pieces of equipment, as well as building energy loads, with 98% accuracy. It gives owners a clear sense of how buildings will respond if they take steps to increase energy efficiency. “The big differentiator is Bractlet’s ability to accurately predict and forecast energy savings for building owners,” Manfre said. “It can evaluate savings opportunities and you can be confident of the results and outcome.” Bractlet does not take a percentage of equipment sold into a building, he said.
Manfre started Bractlet in 2012 with two mechanical engineering pals he met in freshman year at Georgia Tech. Energy efficiency and renewable technology has long been his passion. “It’s the reason I became an engineer.” Manfre recognized an opportunity in building tech; a sphere in which data spending was high but the quality of analytics to analyze all the granular info was low. “That started us on our journey.” Early days involved bootstrapping, but Manfre and his cohorts persevered, “because every time we got in front of customers and talked about our vision, the kind of analytics we could build, the response was so positive.”
Bractlet’s tech is primarily deployed in Texas, but Manfre said the goal is to expand across the U.S. The software delivers an average 30% cut in building energy costs, “and about half of that comes from the fast payback measures our technology identifies.” Payback can come in under a year, which is super-fast, he said. The tech not only saves money and energy costs, it is also a strategic asset for owners. “We help maximize their investment, and they can be sure of the returns they’ll get when investing in energy efficiency — which has been a big barrier previously, the lack of trust and certainty in savings.”