5 min read

#63: Embodied carbon, Uber for HVAC, building rating system confusion

Plus: a new podcast on overlay software, The Lens, and a new Tenant Experience app out of Europe
“Nexus Labs offers a great way for new hires in the building tech space to get up to speed on the trends and terminology as well as the challenges facing our sector. We recently enrolled a new biz dev hire in the program and it really helped them as well as saved our team hours for training time. They were in good hands with James and learned from the other students as well. Well worth it!”

—PointGuard CEO Shannon Smith on the Nexus Foundations Course

Good morning!

Welcome to Nexus, a newsletter, podcast, membership community, and online school 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: Cohort 2 liftoff
  2. 💡 Insights: Uber for HVAC and Embodied Carbon
  3. Brand new stuff: A new podcast and this month’s edition of The Lens
  4. 🧱  Foundations: How to make sense of all the building rating systems out there
  5. 🌎  Diversions: The multi-sided platform approach to Tesla’s dominance


1. 🤔 On my mind this week

This week we’re prepping hard for Cohort 2 of the Nexus Foundations course. We’re stoked to have 52 students and alumni mentors on board for our 6-week sprint. This is over double the enrollment from Cohort 1 and it’s such an honor to be able to lead the group.

In this cohort, our big upgrade is to develop a case study that allows a student to develop a Smart Building Strategy even if they don’t have access to a real building. If you’re keen to join Cohort 3, join the waitlist here and you’ll be the first to hear about it.

2. 💡 Insights

Only the best smart building resources we consumed this week…


Building Engines Acquires Ravti—While I don’t have first-hand experience with either company, this is an interesting acquisition based on the capabilities they’re bringing together. Building Engines’ CMMS and space management meets Ravti’s HVAC equipment inventory, capital replacement planning, and service/project marketplace (i.e. Uber for HVAC). There aren’t very many examples of a workflow-focused feature set as comprehensive as this one will be.


Embodied carbon is the next big challenge for green building—Nice profile on the Architects Climate Action Network, a grassroots industry group founded by a few designers in 2019 that has rapidly grown to include more than 1,000 supporters across the U.K.

Did you know this crazy stat?:

Embodied carbon is estimated to account for 11% of global carbon emissions and 75% of a building’s emissions over its entire lifecycle.

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-ish deep dives, and all past deep dives.

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3. Brand new stuff

Everything Nexus created this week…


DEEP DIVE—The Lens: Honeywell+Sine, FERC order 2222, Axiom's reincarnation (Pro members only)

  • This month’s installment of our monthly recurring series where I unpack the strategy and context behind the news in as few bullet points as possible.
  • I unpacked why Honeywell acquired Sine Group, why you should care about FERC order 2222, and using the “extensibility” of the overlay to analyze refrigeration analytics startup Axiom Cloud’s potential


PODCAST—🎧 #038: Rajavel Subramanian on the 3 types of software silos and how the overlay helps

  • Episode 38 is a conversation with Rajavel Subramanian, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Facilio.
  • We did a deep dive on the overlay as a solution to the siloed software systems that plague the industry worldwide, including the types of overlays in the market and why I'm excited about Facilio’s hybrid overlay approach.


VENDOR UPDATE—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:

Spaceflow—Yet another occupant experience app (for offices and multifamily) that I read about in this nice Propmodo piece.

“All buildings need one operating system for their occupiers. Occupiers shouldn’t have to jump between multiple apps to use their space effectively,” outlined Lukas Balik, Spaceflow’s CEO. “Tenant experience platforms have evolved as the main building integrator and now play a critical role as an umbrella for almost every use case in a building.”

That’s a strong statement!

4. 🧱 Foundations

Bite-sized learnings for newcomers to the smart buildings industry courtesy of the Nexus Foundations course. To be notified when we launch Cohort 3, join the waitlist here.


This week I received a briefing on the Building Intelligence Quotient, a CABA program with a long history that is soon getting re-launched. Since this program began back in the early 2000s, there have been many more upstart rating systems for a building’s intelligence. And there are new ones hitting the streets seemingly all the time.

This can be confusing for newcomers to wade through all the competing systems and definitions of intelligence. In the Foundations course, we recommend delineating between assessing a building’s infrastructure and assessing the outcomes it produces.

Infrastructure assessments are asking questions like, “What HVAC equipment is there, and is it digital and connected?”. This enables smartness. Whereas an outcome assessment might ask, “Is the space within the required IEQ zones during occupied hours?” This proves smartness.

5. 🌎  Diversions

Technology resources from outside of the built environment. What might we apply in our industry?


How Tesla’s Charging Stations Left Other Manufacturers in the Dust

“An electric car, therefore, is a two-sided platform good, the two sides being an installed base of car buyers and a large network of geographically dispersed multi-stall rapid-charging stations. Selling electric cars requires a robust charging network. But, investments in building a massive charging network make sense only if there is a large enough user base and demand for these chargers. Tesla has such a network, and everyone else’s is laughable. How did this happen and what can Tesla’s history teach us?

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