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Jimmy Jia

Distributed Energy Management has business intelligence software that analyzes the energy data from smart meters, or any other data source, and correlates it to business operations. I chatted with founder Jimmy Jia, who  holds a BS and MS in Material Science and Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the University of Oxford, to learn more about the Bremerton-based startup company.

How is Distributed Energy Management going to change the world? “Thinking about energy in terms of operational cost makes it easier for business owners to make changes and save energy. We’re a business intelligence service on top of their energy usage information that turns their smart meter data into something that relates to their business operations. That way the building manager or business owner doesn’t have to make energy decisions based on kilowatt-hours, which is something most people don’t understand. Instead it shows how to optimize their operations.”

How much energy can you save this way? “In one of our customers we identified that about five percent of their energy cost came from keeping the lights on for evening janitorial service. They could make the decision of whether it was worth the disruption of going to daytime janitorial service, based on that cost information.”

How do you make money? “We charge a penny per square foot to analyze small to medium sized commercial buildings. Then we charge a monthly fee to monitor and verify that changes have been made and actually achieved cost savings. We’re making profits in the Puget Sound region, which has some of the lowest energy costs in the U.S., so we’re excited about expanding to the rest of the country.”

Where did the idea come from?  “I’m an engineer by training, with an MBA. This idea originated when my cofounders and I realized most property managers couldn’t afford an energy management system — or if they could afford one they couldn’t use the output to make energy-saving decisions about their business operations.”

This article is one of a series by Denis Du Bois about participants in the 2012 Cleantech Open. Denis is a GeekWire contributor on energy topics, and a volunteer mentor to startups in the Cleantech Open.

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