Dreamit Alum Callida Energy named $80,000 winner of 2016 NextChallenge: Smart Cities

NextEnergy, in partnership with DENSO International AmericaDTE Energy and Wells Fargo, has named Callida Energy (Dreamit 2013) as the winner of the 2016 NextChallenge: Smart Cities technology challenge, a global competition challenging innovators to find hardware and software technology solutions to address unmet needs in urban areas. Callida Energy will receive $80,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate and validate their solution.

“The NextChallenge finalists and their proposed solutions demonstrate the response to a demand for addressing challenges related to safety, mobility, emissions, accessibility, and congestion,” said Jean Redfield, president and CEO, NextEnergy. “Each of the finalists provided great presentations and truly made great cases for their solutions, but Callida Energy’s solution had a lasting impact on the judges. We look forward to working with them to demonstrate their solution in 2017.”

Callida Energy’s Occupant App software uses real-time data collected from occupants via a comfort survey to empower building operators to more efficiently heat and cool buildings based on occupants’ comfort and presence. Rather than running HVAC systems based on a predetermined occupancy schedule, the software gathers data to learn zone occupancy patterns and recommend more efficient zone operating schedules that turn-down heating/cooling when offices are unoccupied or lightly occupied. It also visualizes occupant comfort problems to facility managers in real-time and learns what occupants perceive to be actual comfort to improve temperature settings.

Based on prior results, Callida estimates the software will achieve 30+ percent HVAC energy savings annually – as well as costs and carbon emissions reductions – with no decrease in occupant comfort.

Fifty-seven innovators submitted online concept proposals earlier this year which were reviewed and narrowed down to a group of semi-finalists based on the following objectives: validity of innovation, applicant qualifications, competitive advantage, and scalability. Twenty-three semi-finalists from innovators around the world submitted full proposals which were narrowed down to a group of 10 finalists from the United States who pitched their ideas live to a panel of judges – representatives from NextEnergy, DTE Energy, DENSO and Invest Detroit – who collaboratively determined the winners.

The 10 finalists included: Callida EnergyGoKidLocational Emissions Estimation Methodology (LEEM), LumenCacheMovaticNextek Power SystemsParkITRideHopSolartonic, and SPLT.

Charles LaCalle