Zheng Zhang, CEO, HaoPeng Wang, CTO, and Weili Xu, CPO, are co-founders of BuildSimHub which has built a cloud-based solution to help buildings optimize energy efficiency and compliance with codes and regulations.
HaoPeng Wang, CTO
Launched in 2017 with the help of accelerator TechStar, the Pittsburgh-based startup has closed one round of funding ($120,000), but is upbeat about more investor interest, given the solutions gap in the market it serves.
Wang, a recent graduate of Carnegie Meelon University and the company’s CTO, says the code of compliance for commercial buildings can be complicated, depending on jurisdictions, and typically necessitates professional expertise to figure out the various requirements and performance thresholds.
With BuildSimHub, building managers can seamlessly integrate their solution with their existing workflow to optimize building performance.
He offers more insights about the startup to Icons of Infrastructure.
Weili Xu, CPO
Zheng Zhang, CEO
How did you get into the energy sector?
After I graduated from University of Pittsburgh with Master degree in Information Science, I joined Prof. Khee Poh Lam’s team in Intelligent Workplace, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where we do research in buildings and the energy sector.
So how did you start BuildSimHub?
I started the company with my CMU colleague Weili Xu and his friend Zheng Zhang. After Weili graduated from CMU with a PhD degree, we thought we could provide a SaaS solution to save huge amount of time for modelers in building energy modeling and simulation processes, and improve their existing workflow and boost the RoI. We started the company last year.
And what is BuildSimHub?
BuildSimHub is the world’s first platform to automate the building energy modeling. Using the innovative AI technology on the cloud, BuildSimHub offers architects, engineers and real estate developers an agile and collaborative environment for all kinds of modeling task including energy simulation, code compliance, and performance analysis. With over 100 projects on board, our solution demonstrates a 60% of modeling time reduction, resulting in at least a $10,000 saving for every project.
What were your main obstacles when launching BuildSimHub?
In our opinion, we are facing 2 main obstacles:
- It is difficult for contractors and owners to foresee the benefits of energy modeling in the very beginning of a building’s life cycle, a 2% – 20% rental premium for high-performance buildings for instance. They need fast and well-documented processes and analyses to prove attribution of substantial energy benefits to building energy modeling.
- Our vision at BuildSimHub is to create an agile and collaborative environment for the industry. How to deliver on idea and product to different stakeholders, architects, engineers, and developers, is another challenge.
What is unique about your startup?
I will say it is the founding team makes our company unique. We are a group of passionate young professionals with different backgrounds: architecture engineering, business, and computer sciences. This balanced combination creates an effective and innovative team dynamics within the company.
Our solution is unique. Instead of making the building energy modeling more powerful and complicated for a small group of experts, our approach wants to make insights from the energy modeling more accessible and understandable for everyone in the industry, from architects, engineers, developers, to even house tenants just like you and me.
How will your solution benefit the customers?
Our solution automates the energy modeling process and shortens 60% of the time for our customers, saving at least $10,000 design cost each project we estimated. Also, our cloud-based approach can help customers easily integrate our solution into their current workflow, creating a customized but stable ecosystem for their companies. It will become not only a service but also an asset to our customers.
What are your future plans?
Besides further penetrating the current market, several plans are underway. First, we have seen there is a significant opportunity for new growth in residential applications. We are talking with city governments, NGOs and industry to put together a solid case of using our technology to make house energy retrofit more informative and affordable. Also, expanding our business from a central platform to terminal devices is another plan. Using our cloud energy models to connect with IoT devices and improve the energy efficiency of a house will be another exciting idea.