As Founder and CTO of WegoWise, Barun Singh is at the forefront of efforts to use big data to transform building efficiency. And he’s bringing his expertise to BuildingEnergy 15 in a big way. On Tuesday Barun is offering a workshop on drivers of energy use in buildings. He’s also chairing sessions on efficiency financing and municipal energy reduction initiatives. For this post, Rachel White, vice-chair of BuildingEnergy 15, asked Barun to share some highlights of his role at the conference.
Rachel: In a nutshell, what’s your role at WegoWise?
Barun: Our platform and tools are used throughout the country to power new building efficiency and retrofit projects, largely by helping people better understand how their buildings are performing. I spend most of my day guiding the development of our products.
Rachel: Why did you propose the sessions you are involved in?
Barun: We started WegoWise with the idea that we could improve how the efficiency market works and, as a result, drive more retrofits. A lack of actionable data was either hindering investment or leading to poor decisions by building owners, service providers, utilities, and cities. So we went about developing the tools we thought could fix the problem. Now that we've been at it for almost 5 years, I wanted to revisit the initial hypotheses that led us to create WegoWise and ask: Where is the market now? Are things moving in the right direction? What are the biggest barriers to further progress? NESEA is an ideal venue to bring people together to discuss these questions.
Barun: The efficiency industry is changing, and it's changing fast. It seems like we were in a somewhat stagnant place for decades, but over the past 5 or so years a lot has been happening. There are many reasons: new technology, better access to data, social views on climate change, cost of utilities, evolution of renewables markets, new financing mechanisms, and more. We have the opportunity to significantly improve the built environment, but we need to be smart about how we do it.
Rachel: What session or sessions are you excited to attend?
Barun: The keynote about the future of the grid should be quite interesting. Aside from that, there are so many sessions on topics I engage with on a daily basis that I haven't yet decided which ones I'm going to attend. I'm just going to try to get to as many of them as I can.
Rachel: What would you say to someone in your industry who is on the fence about attending BE?
Barun: Given how much and how quickly things are progressing in the efficiency industry, it's important to make sure you don't get stuck in old ways of thinking. The value to a conference like Building Energy is that you're exposed to new ideas through the sessions and the people you meet. As a result, you can think more critically about your own work, and evolve your approach to it. It's also reinvigorating to be reminded that there are a lot of passionate people who care about the same things you do.
Learn more about BuildingEnergy 15: http://nesea.org/be15
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