Retroficiency Will Add Scale and Speed to Ecova’s Delivery of Energy Efficiency Programs

Investment in utility data analytics continues at a frantic pace after established players have been buying up specialists like Pulse Energy, and venture capital has been flowing into firms such as FirstFuel. On October 14, 2015 Ecova announced it has acquired Retroficiency, a provider of building energy data analytics software for the power utility sector. Ecova plans to leverage Retroficiency’s remote energy auditing capabilities to support its offering to utilities, by helping utilities better focus energy efficiency programme efforts across portfolios of commercial customers.

Retroficiency seems a good fit for Ecova - which is currently managing and implementing energy efficiency programmes for 50 utilities across North America. The increasingly targeted approach it will be able to apply is highly valuable for delivering energy efficiency programmes, as generally 30% of the buildings within a portfolio account for 70% of the efficiency opportunity.

The strategically interesting part of the acquisition is that Ecova will get its hands on some highly valuable energy data disaggregation analytics. Our previous research has found data disaggregation is a potential market disrupter for energy management – as it can break down end-use energy consumption to the appliance-level from an aggregate energy data point. This dramatically lowers the initial cost of identifying potential savings. The biggest impact will be the opening up the small and medium sized commercial market for energy efficiency programmes, because it is too costly and time-consuming to send an energy auditor to review sites that have less than $10,000 of annual energy spend.

The extent to which Ecova will be gaining a durable advantage from this deal remains in question. We expect other energy management software providers to integrate data disaggregation into their offering - for example both Opower and FirstFuel have already been boosting their capabilities.