4 min read

#49: A competitive advantage

Cove.tool's pitch deck for better energy modeling, cutting through the base building network buzz, and announcing Cohort 2 of Nexus Foundations.
These are the most refreshing interviews I've seen regarding technology in the built environment.

—Lawrence Griffiths’ on Nexus podcast episodes #24 with Mike Brooman and #20 with Andrew Rodgers

Good morning!

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter, podcast, and membership community for smart people applying smart building technology—written by James Dice. If you’re new to Nexus, you might want to start here.

Here’s an outline of this week’s newsletter:

  1. 🤔 On my mind this week
  2. 📚 What I’m reading
  3. 💡 New from Nexus
  4. 🧐 New to me
  5. 🧱 Foundations


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

Tomorrow marks the final workshop for cohort #1 of the Nexus Foundations course. I’ve worked harder on this than I’ve ever worked in my life. And I remain as energized as ever to improve upon it for next time. I’ll be sharing what I and our students have learned over the next several months down in section 5 of this newsletter.

Early bird pricing for Cohort #2 (which kicks off in February 2021) is available now and will run until midnight on 12/31/2020. If you’re interested in taking the course, I recommend enrolling sometime before then to reserve your spot and capture the discount.

By the way, who is the course for?

👉 Those who are new to the buildings industry and want to understand the history, norms, and status quo

👉 Those who are new to smart building technology and want to understand how it's changing our industry

Reserve your spot and get 25% off

2. 📚 What I’m reading


A construction-tech startup that's developed a faster way to model a building's energy efficiency used this 13-page pitch deck to nab $5.7 million—Super interesting profile on startup Cove.tool and how they’ve built an energy modeling tool that appeals to many different stakeholders in the construction process: developers looking to reduce the costs to meet code, architects and engineers looking to reduce modeling labor, and product vendors trying to get their efficiency products specified in the design process.

A key part of making Cove.tool — and energy efficiency — appealing to developers is to make it financially attractive. As a result, the software takes energy efficiency and cost into the equation, outputting a design that will find the cheapest possible way to fit the energy efficiency protocols for the property.
"There are developers who don't care and just want to meet code minimum," Ahuja said. "They understand something when it relates back to cost."

Bringing costs into the energy modeling process seems like a gamechanger to me. Digitizing the back and forth collaboration between all those stakeholders seems like an even bigger gamechanger.

(Note: There’s a paywall on this article but I opened it in Instapaper and was able to read it)


Clean Energy For Biden’s (CE4B) Policy Recommendations—More than 200 clean energy professionals developed the recommendations found in this massive report on how to carry out US president-elect Joe Biden’s plans for clean energy policy.

It’s great to see how aggressive it is for the energy efficiency and smart buildings market and I recommend checking it out, especially the nods to policies for opening up building utility data, raising design and construction standards, investing in new technology, healthy and energy-efficient buildings retrofits, building-grid interaction, and more.

Note that Biden’s chances of getting much of this done depend on how our friends in Georgia place their votes for the Senate this January.

This installment of NEXUS is free for everyone. If you would like to get full access to all content, join the NEXUS Pro community. Members get exclusive access to the Nexus Vendor Landscape, monthly events, weekly deep dives, and all past deep dives.

Join NEXUS Pro

3. 💡 New from NEXUS

This week, Joe Gaspardone cuts through the fluff and buzzwords about base building networks. Enjoy.

4. 🧐 New to me

Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has over 100 vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week.

Here is this week’s discovery:

energywatch—I’m not sure how I just now heard about this company, as they’ve been around for a while. Another utility bill and meter management product with big clients in the commercial office space.

5. 🧱 Foundations

Let’s restart this section of the newsletter with how proud I am of the first cohort of students. First, they took a chance and signed up for an unproven course with no testimonials because they simply wanted to learn. Second, they invested in themselves.

So few of us today truly invest in ourselves, despite the value to our careers and quality of life. Luckily, as Mark Cuban says, learning is a learnable skill:

I learned that learning truly is a skill… and that by continuing to learn to this day, I can compete and get ahead of most people, because the reality is most people don’t put in the time to learn… and that’s always given me a competitive advantage.

The learning leadership of Nexus Foundations alumni from CBRE, Facilio, NYSERDA, Switch Automation, Slipstream, DLR Group, Oxford Properties, Vanti, Cannon Design, Siemens, PointGuard, Intelligent Buildings, Cortex Building Intelligence, Christopher Newport University, and many more companies gives me a ton of hope for our industry.

And if you missed your chance up above, you can join cohort 2 using this early bird discount link.

OK, that’s all for this week—thanks for reading Nexus!