Everything old is new again as demand response comes to real estate with Blueprint Power

Real estate developers and their properties are getting an opportunity to cash in on power management and surplus energy production thanks to a new company called Blueprint Power.

It’s a new twist on an old idea dating back to the first cleantech boom based on ideas of demand response and power management.

Companies like EnerNOC and Comverge pitched ways for manufacturers to make money by reducing power consumption during times of peak demand and getting paid for it by energy companies. In the wake of the massive blackout that hit the U.S. in the early 2000s and decades of concerns around failing energy infrastructure in the U.S., the notion of having some way to respond more flexibly to changes in demand from the grid seemed to make sense.

Now, as more residential and commercial buildings install actually renewable generation capacity and have more robust digital networks, these buildings can themselves become power generators or local points for gird power management — all in an effort to make the grid more responsive, according to a statement from Blueprint.

The company’s pitch was able to compel investors, including Congruent Ventures, MetaProp Partners, Fred Wilson and Brad Burnham, to throw $3.5 million to the company.

The company’s founding investors, Lennar and Fifth Wall Ventures, also returned, with new investors, including Hanwha Energy subsidiary, 174 Power; Urban.us, and URBAN-X, an accelerator backed by BMW and the Mini Cooper.

According to a statement from the company, the business uses, by monitoring onsite demand and measuring the output from onsite renewable power assets like solar panels, any energy storage devices, waste heat product, fuel cells and load balancing or controllable load features.

Additional software to monitor pricing allows the company to dynamically pitch energy sources to the various markets that would need it.

“Until very recently, buildings were not able to proactively sell excess energy capacity in the same way that traditional power plants do,” said Robyn Beavers, the chief executive of Blueprint Power, and a former vice president of innovation at Lennar and an assistant to the founders of Google Inc. — the search engine giant that is now a subsidiary of Alphabet. “Now in states like New York they can. We are helping buildings connect to and transact in these markets in a scalable way.”