Keeping buildings "Honest"

There is a new social media network out there, except this one is for buildings. In an article for, Jeff St. John reports on the startup Honest Buildings and its most recent round of capital investment:

Honest Buildings, the startup that's collecting billions of square feet of property data in a LinkedIn-like online database for real estate professionals, efficiency experts and would-be tenants, has just raised an undisclosed Series A round from Mohr Davidow Ventures and RockPort Partners. Chalk up a point for information technology and social media, applied to greening the built environment.

What it does is tap public data sources on properties, and puts the data online for use by  thousands of building owners and management firms, along with architects, engineers, contractors and other building services businesses. That’s a lot of building data: square footage, building ownership and management, projects and renovations performed on the building, and on the green front, its LEED or Energy Star status. While much of the data comes from a variety of public sources, it also draws on relationships with property owners and management firms to collect proprietary information as well, Josh Boltuch, chief marketing officer, said.

This app is an interesting tool for identifying the energy data and ratings for buildings. There are, however, questions that Honest Buildings has yet to address:

 So how does creating such a database drive more green building investment? Boltuch mentioned a few avenues, such as providing green businesses a single source of properties to peruse for likely retrofits or services.

As more sources of data on a building’s green credentials become available, that could expand the usefulness of the site for driving efficiency. New York City’s Local Law 84 requires all buildings over 50,000 square feet to report annual energy benchmarks, and Honest Buildings is working with the city on integrating that data as it comes out, Boltuch said.

This isn’t a bad place to start. Collecting data about energy usage and green building initiatives is both a good way for tenants to review the energy profiles of their (and prospective) buildings and to keep buildings energy usage data up to date (and honest).

Read the article here: