Clean Markets needed an online tool to predict the return of their clients’ energy efficiency retrofits over time. PromptWorks built a statistical model and web-enabled forecasting software to help building owners understand the financial impact of making their buildings more energy efficient.

Clean Markets cash flow chart

The Challenge

Partnering with PromptWorks gave us the software development expertise we needed to develop a user-friendly experience for our signature product.

Ellen Lutz, Founder and CEO of Clean Markets

Clean Markets is a leading market development firm focused on growing market share for clean energy solutions and environmentally sustainable technologies. The company develops and executes marketing and business strategies for utility and government programs and for clean energy entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2008, Clean Markets has supported numerous utility energy efficiency incentive programs and has assisted more than 1,500 utility customers in receiving financial incentives for efficiency projects.

With the markets for many products and services still in early developmental stages, there is a critical need for businesses and homeowners to be educated about the benefits of clean energy technologies. Clean Markets responds to that need by delivering targeted marketing and outreach services that advance the expansion of market opportunities such as energy efficiency and demand response.

Clean Markets recognized a need for an online tool that would demonstrate to contractors and building owners the business case for investing in energy-efficiency projects. Clean Markets turned to PromptWorks for the software development expertise required to create the tool called the Building Energy Efficiency Retrofit Investment Model, or B-RIM.

“We knew that building owners would benefit from a software solution that provides clear information about their energy investments, so we turned to PromptWorks to help us figure out how to develop the software,” said Ellen Lutz, Founder and CEO of Clean Markets.

Clean Markets financing data

Strategic Execution at Work

The objective was to develop a tool that would allow clients to take the guesswork out of deciding whether to proceed with an energy efficiency upgrade. Reducing a building’s energy consumption can be an expensive proposition, and owners need to understand whether proposed retrofit projects will pay off economically to justify the initial investment.

PromptWorks developed B-RIM using regression analysis to create statistical models that predict costs and savings from potential retrofit projects. PromptWorks and Clean Markets designed B-RIM to become more accurate over time – as the amount of data used by the system increases, Clean Markets can train the models to make more precise predictions. B-RIM provides users with insights such as return on investment, internal rate of return, payback period, and impact on cash flow. It also allows them to select various financing strategies including bank funding, self-funding and government programs.

Clean Markets outcome data

The resulting solution is a web-enabled financial modeling tool used by building owners and energy service professionals to fully understand the short-term and long-term financial returns that could be realized from an energy efficiency project’s implementation without first needing to conduct an energy audit. B-RIM also identifies options for financing the potential project and can provide an analysis for replacing individual units of equipment or for replacing multiple units bundled into one project.

“Working together with PromptWorks we developed a robust solution that enables building owners to understand the financial impact of making their buildings more energy efficient, and the best way to fund the project,” said Ms. Lutz.

The Results

The proprietary, patent-pending B-RIM solution became the basis of Clean Markets’ grant proposal for the Commercialization Challenge conducted by the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation, an organization composed of research universities, industrial firms and national laboratories dedicated to creating opportunities for energy reduction in existing buildings.

B-RIM won the Commercialization Challenge over five other finalists, out of an initial competition of 200 energy efficiency software technologies that were developed throughout the U.S. As the winner, Clean Markets has received grant proposal support, mentoring services, and networking opportunities from the CBEI’s Commercialization Center. Clean Markets is in the process of exploring additional funding opportunities to continue expanding the availability and application of B-RIM.

“Partnering with PromptWorks gave us the software development expertise we needed to develop a user-friendly experience for our signature product,” said Ms. Lutz.