4 min read

#56: An "unparalleled career opportunity"

Next level M&V, on-bill financing novelty, and a new IAQ app from DLR
“The struggles of today have inspired the digital tools of tomorrow as the world finds new ways to strive for the same progressive goals. Our society will prevail by finding a better way to live and our smart buildings will be at the heart of that bright future.”

—The Turbulent Story of 2020, via Memoori

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: 2021 planning!
  2. 📚  What I’m reading: M&V, new types of energy efficiency projects, Memoori’s 2020 memoir, and the path to the decarbonization of real estate.
  3. 💡  New from Nexus: nada!
  4. 🧐  New to me: DLR Group’s sonrai IAQ app
  5. 🧱  Foundations: A must-read prediction on the career prospects of the smart building professional


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

This week I’ve been all-in on reviewing 2020, setting goals, and planning for 2021. My best friend Josh, who’s the CEO of a company called Mission Matters Group, and I are getting together this week to challenge/help each other take it to the next level. Our “review meetings” usually look something like this:

What are your goals for 2021? How can Nexus Labs help?

2. 📚 What I’m reading and watching


M&V as we know it has changed—Matt Golden posted this quick ~8-minute presentation on how his company Recurve has tackled the quantification of energy savings in the COVID era and beyond, where we can’t totally rely on the old IPMVP Option C methods anymore. Go deeper: this one hour video shows why and how they’re using comparison groups to do this.

With funding from DOE and collaboration with NREL, they’ve also open-sourced the methods, that can now be picked up and used by building analytics software providers.

“The GRIDmeter methods have proven accurate through empirical testing for both residential and commercial applications.”

And finally, they also introduced a method to protect the privacy of building owners in these calculations.


First Pay-for-Performance Efficiency Retrofit Project in San Francisco Delivers Innovative Upgrades to Historic Downtown Properties Building—Gridium leverages two innovative utility programs to finance otherwise unbudgeted equipment and to drive deep energy savings for the building and the electric grid.

PG&E’s On-Bill Financing Program was used to fund this comprehensive efficiency project, which was otherwise unbudgeted at the building. PG&E finances the energy upgrades to match the energy savings, then places loan repayment services charges on the monthly utility bill. The loan is sized this way to provide bill neutrality while enabling proportionate cost recovery. Tenants benefit from a better built environment without increasing total utility costs.


A Year in The Life of a Building — The Turbulent Story of 2020—A nice piece from Memoori looking at what was on our mind a year ago vs. today.

“Little did we know that occupancy analytics would soon shift from emerging productivity technology to become critical to survival for any commercial building hoping to maintain optimum performance in the unprecedented year ahead.”


Investing in Climate Tech for the Built World—Fifth Wall’s Brendan Wallace and Greg Smithies outline real estate's path to decarbonization in this inspiring interview.

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.

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3. 💡 New from NEXUS

  • Nada… We took the last two weeks off of podcasting and writing!

4. 🧐 New to me

Even though the Nexus Vendor Landscape has 150+ vendors on it, I still learn about new companies/products to track every week.

Here is this week’s discovery:

DLR Group’s Sonrai IAQ app—it’s a sensor manufacturer-agnostic IAQ data analytics app built on SkySpark, modeled with Project Haystack, and approved as RESET Accredited Data Provider.

5. 🧱 Foundations

I asked Skip Freeman if he would recommend the Nexus Labs Foundations Course and his answer was 🔥🔥🔥 so I had to share it with you all:

"I absolutely recommend the Nexus Foundations Smart Building Course. It's frankly, a ‘mini-MBA’. In the next decade, as we focus on improved building efficiency, renewable energy, and equipment standards, professionals who understand "smart buildings" are going to be at the forefront of an unparalleled career opportunity.

Existing buildings will be where the greatest opportunity to reduce carbon emissions lies. The smart building professional who can:

~Understand the needs & desired outcomes of the various stakeholders associated with a property,
~Figure out how decisions are made within any given facility,
~Learn what budgets are impacted,
~Map out the current workflows,
~Compare those workflows against what could be,
~And put all of this together into a financial plan that improves a property's efficiency and profitability,...

...will be the ones whose careers will accelerate in one of the most lucrative market niches of the next 40-years."

With all the students that took advantage of early bird pricing in December, we’re now at about 25% capacity for cohort #2, which starts in late February. If you’re interested, enroll soon to claim your spot in the group.

Enroll in cohort 2

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