Great to chat with John Powers, Founder and CEO of Extensible Energy! Extensible Energy creates advanced demand management software to help commercial building owners to intelligently use electricity and reduce their demand and time-of-use charges! We discussed how a startup is a series of tested hypotheses, the four “C”s of good building energy management systems, predicting energy fluctuations and more! 

https://carbotnic.com/extensibleenergy

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James

The unedited podcast transcript is below

James McWalter

Hello today we’re speaking with John Powers founder and Ceo at extensible energy welcome to podcast John great to start. Could you tell us a little bit about extensible energy.

John Powers

Thanks a lot James looking forward to it. Sure yeah, we make a lightweight building energy control solution for smalltom medium commercial customers that helps them ah control what we call the four c’s basically ah cost and control comfort and carbon. So. If you’re managing a building for energy benefit. You have to address all of those concerns and you know we work with whatever is already in the building and you know we’re a software first company. We do put some hardware in the building but we’re a software first company. Ah, in the energy control space.

James McWalter

And what drove the initial decision to starch extensible. Okay.

John Powers

Oh boy. Yeah, so I’ve been an energy nerd for all my life and I’ve been about none my career as a consultant and half as a software entrepreneur so company before this was software for. Um, utilities to deliver information to their customers and that included commercial and industrial customers showing them what their buildings were doing so it was an information service. Basically that company was called energy interactive. It had a big impact on. Demand response market and some other markets but basically the product was there to say your building made a mistake yesterday. Maybe you can do better next time and the new prop company is there to say your buildings going to make a mistake in 2 hours but don’t worry. We’ve already fixed it for you. So it’s much more about actual automated print. Addictive autonomous energy control of buildings than any of the work I’ve done in the past.

James McWalter

And so I guess taking that kind of previous experience saying. Okay, we want I want to you know, solve this problem in a in a different way in this kind of new way. Um, from that that initial kind of decision to move in that direction. What were the I guess None None to twelve months like in terms of like what. This product and early team should look like and.

John Powers

Yeah, so um, we were very fortunate in that we got ah some support from the Us department of energy through a small business innovation research Grant as B I R Grant and and so.

John Powers

Yeah, okay, and an Sbi R Grant is non-dilutive financing with guidance from some of the best experts in the field so we had had some ideas around this um prior to that.

John Powers

So when we applied for that grant. We had some ideas about how we would do this and they give it to you in 2 phases. The none phase is sort of a proof of concept that just is ah um, we did it all as a simulation model that showed what it would be like if you could control all the flexible loads in the building in a way that reacted to. Um, any flexible, any flexibility in batteries car chargers behind the meter and especially hvac given that that’s the largest flexible load in each building so we did that and they liked it and so then they give you more money to go and build a working prototype and get it working in the field in. Ah, real building and so my my co-founder Ari and I um were able to then go out and and start to put together a team to to commercialize the product and so that’s that’s really we all all praised the the. Taxpayers of this country for helping to get this off the ground the sbir program I can’t recommend it highly enough for for other entrepreneurs in this space.

James McWalter

Yeah, yeah, it’s interesting I’ve had a quick look at it for some of the projects I’ve also worked on and it’s definitely something I think is like an underutilized resource. You know I often talk to entrepreneurs and I actually think you might be the None person and you know about None folks who who’ve actually mentioned it and that’s. You know I guess that’s surprising when you know it’s such ah such a powerful source of financing for your company.

John Powers

Well, it’s hard tech right? It’s really something that um, traditional angels or vcs won’t touch until you’ve de-risked um the technology bit so having what amounted to 2 years of funding to um. Build out all the core technology under nondilutive financing from the department of energy made us a much more attractive investment for follow on from the ventured community. So um, you know again, a startup is just ah, a set of hypotheses in search of. You know? Ah, ah you try that one again I can’t remember where I heard this. But I think Steve Blank says a startup is just a set of hypotheses that you’re testing and we’re always looking to test a combination of what’s the.

John Powers

Um, what’s what’s the initial viable product. The minimum viable product. What technical problems are people willing to pay for you to solve in what ways so being able to do the None bit of that all through um, solving some really hard mathematical and technical. And control problems through the sbir project was really helpful because then yeah, we knew what we were doing by the time we were asking anybody else for money. Yeah.

James McWalter

And you mentioned this building right? This None building. Um, what was that building because I feel you know right now climate related and these forces you mentioned like these are top of top of mind for many building owners and and people running companies around the world. But yeah. Years ago when you were kind of first starting this. It. It probably was less top of mind especially around the kind of climate carbon piece and so Yeah’d I’d love to hear the details of ah of the building itself. So.

John Powers

Yeah, the none building was an office building in downtown Berkeley within 3 blocks of our little space we we were in a wework space at the time in downtown Berkeley and I wanted it to be something we could walk to and fix if we had done something bad, right? so. Um, it was the David Brower Center which is ah a building in downtown Berkeley that has multiple sort of climate um mission nonprofits in it. So it was great because they understood what we were trying to do and trying to prove. We got great. Um. Help from the ah upper management down to the facilities managers in that building. So it was a really good experience and we anticipated that office buildings would be a big target for us and it’s turned out that really other commercial buildings have been been more attracted to what we’re doing. So we can handle anything where there are a lot of um, flexible loads that are dominated by hvac so office retail church school conditioned warehouse municipal building but the um you know the folks in in retail and schools and I’d say you know. Houses of worship and event centers sort of these places that have event driven schedules have been much more interested in in our solution than a lot of the office buildings. We thought we’d be targeting. We’ve done a few but most of them have been outside the office sector.

James McWalter

And yeah, it’s so interesting I mean to go back to your point earlier about you know startup is just putting out hypotheses testing them and then you know trying to wind your path. Um, you know you had this hypothessis around the office building being that maybe core early. Yeah Beachhead client and customer and.

James McWalter

Yeah, as you said it’s still part of what you’re expanding into but it was not as core and so I guess what are the attributes of the the kinds of you know retail or how a worship and so on that are different to office buildings that I I guess were ah you know new information as you’re kind of working through that hypotheses building. Piece of the of the founding and.

John Powers

A number of decision makers that is the biggest impediment in a lot of office buildings because with multiple tenants all it with multiple control of their own zones underneath the landlord who has the. Ownership of the assets whereas the control of the assets falls to folks who manage the building and the occupants in all the different spaces. It’s much more straightforward with a school district that might own dozens of buildings. And have exactly None control point for who you have to convince. So um, definitely the non-residential small to medium non-residential space is always hard for every kind of product and service. But. Um, in our case, the fact that you can go to a single decision maker at a lot of owner occupied retail for example or we’ve done a bunch of car dealerships I’ll just say I didn’t know there were over 20000 new car dealerships in the United States but there are and so we’ve become you know a. Provider of load flexibility services to um, energy- consciouss car dealers that’s been great. Um school districts the same way. There’s a lot of them that have already gone solar. The product is designed from the beginning to work well with solar or without but with solar it gives even greater savings. So. There’s a lot of folks outside of the office building space that we’ve but had a lot of success with. We’re starting to get some traction with the um sort of asset managers in the office space and that I think is a is a good path for us. But we’ll see.

James McWalter

It yeah’s it’s so interesting I I think a lot of founders when they’re you know trying to approach particular problem. You know they’re like okay this is a clear problem but often kind of struggle to identify the end buyer right? and also kind of. Struggle to often kind of combine that with what is the sales cycle here because if you a product where your sales cycle is like nine months and it’s a $700 end and result like that’s a bad business. But if it’s nine nine minutes that’s a great business or if it’s nine months and it’s $7000000. That’s also great in business and so I think figuring out exactly. Ah you know.

John Powers

Yes.

James McWalter

Who the endbuer is who actually has the problem because often the person buying the product may not have the problem you’re trying to solve and kind of combine this and so I love this idea of where are their decision Makers who are aggregating a lot of buildings right? So the person who’s running the school district you know, even in the office space. You know I would imagine a cowork like we work with might be more interesting then.

John Powers

I That’s right.

James McWalter

And because even though they have lots of tenants tenants don’t really have probably a lot of choice in terms of electrification of the building and so you know identifying those aggregation points as part of your sales cycle sounds like it was very important to the trajectory of the company.

John Powers

It absolutely was and it affected some of the decisions we made in product design too. There’s a feedback loop there. So We we very quickly realized that especially in places like office or shared Retail. We needed to make the product. So simple. And um, low upfront cost that it would work for tenants as well as for landlords so we don’t need this to be a big um you know a change in equipment in the facility. Um, the most we ever end up. Changing is Thermostats basically go from Dumb Thermostats to Smart Thermostats and the tenants have the right to do that. So The payback time is so quick often under a year That um, even tenants with short to medium term leases find this super appealing. It’s just finding the person who’s responsible for the electricity bill we can help whoever that turns out to be in in pretty much any commercial facility that I was just listing off there.

James McWalter

So yeah, so let’s then go into yeah where the kind of product is today in inr detail so you kind of spoke a little bit there about the implementation and I guess once it’s implemented like what is the kind of experience like for all the various kind of stakeholders and.

John Powers

Sure so the the trick is to identify upfront what the flexible loads are and we have certainly controlled batteries. We’re getting our none car charging workplace car charging solutions going. Ah, but in every building we’re also controlling hvac because that’s the biggest flexible load in most of the buildings in the country and so you you need to get buy in around the idea that you control within a range now. Everybody’s controlling within a range already in most buildings. There’s either. You know most buildings under one hundred Thousand Square feet I think 87% of them have nothing but dumb thermostats as their control system. So the the comfort is dedicated or is determined by the last person who walked by the thermostat right? So that’s not a good energy management system. So um.

James McWalter

Right.

John Powers

In those facilities you can rip and replace dumb thermostats with smart thermostats with a one day installation and you can have ah energy. Um and demand savings by keeping the temperature within a range if you like at None we can keep it anywhere between 70 and 76 most of the time we run it right down the middle nobody even notices when they’re you’re getting close to your peak. We might pre-cool the building before the peak and then let the temperature go up a little bit. It turns out to be a huge amount of energy that can be moved from minute to minute and hour to hour and the experience with the customer is they notice nothing. As the fans keep running everybody’s still comfortable. You know if we’re doing our jobs right? Nobody knows we’re there. So the the improvement comes from the facility management side where somebody who owns a portfolio of these buildings. And is getting hotch and cold complaints or getting other kinds of complaints. They can manage all of those centrally they don’t have to send out a human in a van to go and check just to do the diagnostics as to why somebody is cold. Did they misuse the thermostat did they is there a malfunctioning unit. You can figure out all of that before you get out to the site. You can see it all in front of you on a dashboard and then the the only site visit is for actual repair so you know that’s where the benefit to the end customer comes in is in you know, improved comfort but then also in improved economics. Economics for maintenance and economics for your electricity bill. So so my none job out of college was actually in the rates department of an electric utility. So I I know how all of the tricks are done by utilities to get more out of commercial customers. So you you and I just pay for kilowatt hours on our bill at home right? So ah, certainly a commercial customer pays for kilowatt hours too but they pay up to the 70% 30% to 70% of their electricity bill is based on when they use energy not just how much they use.

James McWalter

Right.

John Powers

A lot of that is in a demand charge the highest 15 minutes of usage for the entire month can cost up to None your bill and some of it is in time of use charges where expensive times a day cost 3 or 4 times as much for the same Kilowatt hour as cheap times a day so we can shift energy.

John Powers

Without anybody noticing from expensive to cheap from dirty to clean times a day and save on cost and carbon that way too. Yeah.

James McWalter

And so you mentioned these four c’s earlier and you were kind of touching upon these are the the elements that customers find compelling if you have to stack rank them from the customer’s perspective. You know, which which which see is like number 1 number 2 number 3 number 4 Yeah interesting.

John Powers

Comfort top. You have to be able to handle. Um, all of the you know, ah occupants are worth much more than electricity right? So so comfort is number 1 control and especially in a facilities management environment where.

John Powers

I’ve never met a facility manager who was not undersourced right. Facility management is ah given a None priorities and they can only attend to their top 3 right? And so if you don’t make the if you don’t take work off their plate with a solution instead of putting it on.

John Powers

If I just built us a bit of software that sends you a None alarms a day to say all the things that are going wrong or is yeah, you’re welcome I so no, it’s like this is a way to reduce your list of things to do and manage it not increase them. It’s a way to keep the.

James McWalter

I right? it was like thank you so much? yes.

John Powers

Ah, comfort and convenience of your customers. Um, you know under better control while reducing your your cost. So I we usually say comfort control cost and carbon and that’s not you know that’s based on. Kind of a consensus experiment experience. Certainly some have a much higher priority on carbon. There’s folks who have yeah esg goals that um Trump any savings on their electricity bills pretty much um and ah. But but comfort is non-negotiable. You have to keep folks comfortable and control is the you know is the underappreciated part. It’s like if you really have a building that has dumb thermostats locked in looseite cases. We can help you.

James McWalter

So right.

John Powers

If that’s the way you’re trying to control the occupants right now. My favorites are the ones that we find where the looseite cases have unbent paper clips that people are using to jab inside to adjust the temperatures. Anyway, we definitely can provide a better energy management experience than that.

35:53.96

James McWalter

I Think it’s so interesting that stack rank because yeah, again as I think through and I’ve talked to a lot of folks who are tackling similar problems or even pretty, you know pretty much the same problem and I think generally there is such a focus on like selling on. We’re going to save you money.

John Powers

Yeah.

36:30.80

James McWalter

But it’s it’s such a well-made point that like they make money to tenants and the tenants like you know, getting 17 complaints right? and and you’re probably getting those anyways even with the perfect control because you know we all have our different temperatures. You know my my wife likes a way warmer home than I do right? like these are just the the natural kind of state of things.

John Powers

Of course.

James McWalter

And and you know you always have disagreements about certain things but like giving that as the the priority. Um it you know changes everything because like it also as more as other aspects of building electrification become cheaper and more ubiquitous. You already have the control system in place to take advantage of that. And so it’s basically building this beachhead on the basis of comfort and control while also enabling you know, but right now but also much more in the future this idea around the cost and most importantly, the carbon piece I Guess from the context of of this podcast.

John Powers

I’m so glad you brought up the dynamics of a building right? because a building is not a static entity and what’s coming in the next few years is bigger changes than have happened to most buildings in the last several decades when when we talk about. Um, replacing when we talk about decarbonizing we we work a lot in California but we work all over the country and states are making these claims that they’re going to decarbonize everything and to decarbonize energy use in buildings. You have to replace gas heat with electric heat gas water heat. With electric water heat. This is a huge change in infrastructure and in the economics of building operations and if you put in and I’ll just use heat pumps as an example, but if you put in heat pumps where packaging units are today that currently are using gas. You’re you’re going to have ah a massive increase in demand charges in the winter that no one knows where they came from unless you accompany it with better control now we we actually do a great job with electric heat. We’ve done some studies that show we can. Keep the demand charges as low as they were before with the even with electric heat because you can flatten that out over the course of the day but again uncontrolled electric heat just sets this huge spike none thing in the morning and nobody understands what that does to their electricity bills. So the changes in. Infrastructure and building car chargers behind the meter is another huge one so we deal with I mentioned earlier? Um, ah some car dealers. Um, they’re all being told they have to install the the oems are telling them. They have to install car chargers in order to be entitled to any. Um, allocation of electric vehicles to sell well they don’t know what that does to their demand charges. They don’t know which brand to get which how you control any of them you plug in and suddenly your load goes crazy. Um, you know the ability to integrate management of all flexible loads in a building is. You know is just becoming more valuable as buildings change as the electric equipment in them changes and grows.

James McWalter

Yeah I was actually talking to the head of analytics at a Massachusetts based utility. Um, kind of four or five months ago and he was like we’re full time you know I have a staff of 8 data folk and we’re full time trying to predict. You know the year. Basically the peak load in the northeast swaps from summer base to winter base because of the adoption massocra heat pumps basic are like if we get that wrong if we’re like a year off like you’re going to have similar more things to what happened in Texas like year and a half ago when obviously horrific things in terms of like some loss of life and so on.

John Powers

Yeah, yeah.

John Powers

No, my.

James McWalter

Also had these you know $28000 for None inutes of energy. Ah you know bills that were occurring and a lot of those were kind of systematic like issues that happened as well. But you know these are all the kind of canaries you know in the coal mine to a certain extent for how different things are coming and and as we have extreme weather events they’re showing us what. Like basically the default response is going to have to be in five to ten years

John Powers

There’s there’s no question that the grid needs the kinds of controls. We’re talking about the grid needs to be able to communicate buildings in the grid are one system not to and the the buildings have lots of built-in flexibility. Once you get a building under better control. You can respond to any signal whether it’s from the customer s own meter based on their own fixed tariff or whether it’s a price signal or load control signal from the grid so you can you can turn your building into a revenue generator. Once you have it under better control utilities will pay for load flexibility in None form or another exactly the way your your contact in Massachusetts was talking about the cheapest form of storage on the grid is smarter control of of building loads period hands down. And you know I’ve I’ve lived in that market before I know the demand response market very well. Um, you know built one of the first web-based demand response tools available and the the getting a product that works for the customer none getting it to work. For the building manager first that opens up all these opportunities to turn it into revenue when you negotiate with the utility.

James McWalter

You know that that makes sense and then just on that I guess because you see we talked about kind of predicting a little bit So what kind of information are you going and like into to predict are we talking you know the day ahead. Energy markets. Are you pulling in you know, lots of different disparate datasets to try to say okay.

John Powers

Yeah.

John Powers

Um, within.

James McWalter

You know we really should charge up this this battery storage or whatever it may be because if we did it an hour later it’s going to be way more expensive.

John Powers

Yeah, so um, we can take a price signal in most markets don’t have that operating um yet. But we’re doing pilot projects in California British Columbia um None in California 1 in British Columbia to to look at day ahead pricing from the. Wholesale markets. But mostly what we take in is a prediction of what the uncontrolled loads in your building will be doing so the stuff we’re not controlling lights and plugs and other other end-use technologies that we’re not controlling.

John Powers

And then a prediction of weather in terms of what the temperatures or exterior temperatures are going to be and if you have solar then a prediction of what your own solar Um Pv system is going to be generating and so we take those and put them into an optimizer and then. That tells us when to run the flexible loads in a way that keeps you comfortable and yet minimizes your spend on electricity or maximizes your gain if there’s a you know program from the utility in effect.

James McWalter

Yeah I think whenever there’s kind of recommenders or predictive modeling. That’s occurring. It’s always nice to be able to get you know somewhat immediate feedback right? And so in this model you are every single day. It’s like did we do a good job with combining weather data and understanding that look.

John Powers

Um, yes, yeah.

James McWalter

The lights get turned off a little bit later certain times of the year versus others and like pulling in all those factors and then it’s like okay you know our perfect predicted curve like fit the actual data you know was it 92% or was it 97% or 99.9 percent and then and then tomorrow you get to do the whole thing ever. You know over again and so.

John Powers

Um, if.

James McWalter

Every day I would imagine you’re you’re kind of improving and and you know trying to hit your own internal metrics around like how close are you hitting that predictive curve The actual fact. Yeah.

John Powers

Yeah, this this is the beauty of modern machine learning this really is something that while you know I have a background in economics and statistics I’ve done plenty of modeling myself. But I have to say the ability to have the system. Learn autonomously and get better over time is really exciting to watch because the buildings get dialed in better and better as um, you know, ah hardware starts degrading on day. None software gets better the longer it runs so we’re controlling our our buildings better. Every. Every day.

James McWalter

And then as we have these you know step change you know items added in right? The things we kind of touched upon like Ev charging and you know more battery storage and ubiquitous heat pumps and so on um, like there’s ever more data to to kind of sort through and so you know like. Like even in company I’m working on and and whenever I’m advising on startups. It’s like if you are in a world where you’re trying to build models based on data like the more data the better and the more complex the data the better because that’s where you’re kind of bringing to bear expertise like in a world where there was just a single variable like there wouldn’t really be a business for you right.

John Powers

We We have a slide in our pitch deck that says the more complicated the better because as you add things to the building. You just are making it harder for yourself to manage and building a more compelling case for software to do much much of the autonomous management. Because you you just can’t be everywhere at once you can’t be adjusting every thermostat watching who’s plugged into your card chargers looking to see what the state of charge on the battery is none of this stuff is well suited for humans. This is a case where artificial intelligence is. Replacing jobs that aren’t being done at all. So We all worry about Ai replacing jobs this is doing jobs that nobody is doing right now. So we’re making sure that it’s possible to have the.

James McWalter

Right.

John Powers

Learning We just talked about continue even as you add more complications to the system.

James McWalter

And so what are the kind of goals for the next you know 12 to 18 months for the company. So.

John Powers

So we are um in the process of getting ready to fundraise so we raised a seed round last may and we’ll be raising a series a later this year. We are um, staffing up both the. Product and the sales side of the house and you know we’ve been doing pilot projects for multi multi-building owners so that could be chain accounts or school districts or what have you. And the real goal is to pivot from sort of the pilot projects to now that we have proof that those succeeded more massive deployment through those chains. So now that there’s a school district and. California that we’ve been working with and we’ve demonstrated all the things I just said that the control keeps people comfortable that the savings grow over time through the course of the pilot at the schools that we were doing and now we’re going to be talking to them about rolling it out to you know, 5 or None times as many schools. So the the you know we’re at that inflection point towards scale rather than invention. So this is the most exciting time for me as an entrepreneur because you get to see it not just work which I knew it was going to work but see it work at scale. And so that’s this is our year to sort of roll things out to um more and more more and more buildings in more and more sectors. So we’ve we’ve done bunch in schools. We’ve done a bunch in car dealerships. We’ve done a bunch and ah other. Houses of worship and like all of those lead to None building leads to many more buildings. Not None building is just another fight to go get None more right? So yeah.

James McWalter

Yet having a go- to market that is additive like that where you know a single sale is not a silo that ah nobody else knows about but it like makes the next you know part of the next sale the next building additive and and more more easy like um is something that.

James McWalter

I Think in general series a investors like to see so that’s that’s a positive.

John Powers

Well right? and you have to right because we we certainly had to earn our way there. We certainly had to go hand to hand into a single church a single car deal or a single school before we earn the right to go say we’ve proven this works. Ah, you know drop. Drop a dollar in the top and ten bucks comes out the bottom you know? So ah now we’re to that stage the the proof is there. The case studies are there. The referenceable accounts are there the you know now now things start rolling. So.

James McWalter

And absolutely and kind of take like ah I guess ah a broader perspective. You know there’s been ah I call it a tapestry of different incentives and disincentives as you know, various kind of public entities. Whether it’s federal state governments or you know other entities who are trying to add. Different ways to nudge ah different parts of the economy into more climate-. Friendly yeah situations and so you know you even have things which was us on the climate side but things like lead certification previously which is still ah you know ubiquitous What is the kind of policy and regulatory environment like.

John Powers

You know.

John Powers

Sure.

James McWalter

You know where are would you like to see areas where you know we’re actually having too much regulation. That’s slowing things down versus these are areas that would be great to see more incentives to speed up some of the transition.

John Powers

So A lot of the incentives that I’ve seen are all around hardware and physical assets so you can get.. It’s much easier to get an incentive to replace an Hvac system than to make it work better and that seems upside down to me I’d like to see more incentives around. Measures that can be implemented without huge capital expenditure because the um you know the adoption is not just based on expense adoption is based on education and you know a little bit of endorsement and Momentum. So I’d like to see more incentive to. If you’re going to keep your old stuff at least run it properly or if you’re going to get new stuff at least run it properly. So I think I think that incentives are skewed at the moment towards capital heavy stuff whereas software is delightfully asset light and you can. Make a bigger step change faster by updating the control of what you already have than by scheduling some multi-year engineering project with massive capital costs to take out perfectly. Good equipment to replace it with slightly better Equipment. So I think the the. Yeah I’d I’d say you know software is conquering the whole rest of the world and it’s you know, clearly going to conquer this part of the world but a lot of the incentives seem to be aligned around around hardware replacement.

James McWalter

It Yeah’s it’s this tricky thing like I think a lot of that is due to the flexibility of software and I think it’s very hard to design programs that take that into account right? and so you would have to have it So in some way outcome-based So it’s like okay this is the status quo from a.

James McWalter

Yeah, energy efficiency or emissions point of view and then this is the improvement and and incentive based on that I I do think that. Um, how do I think about this so another are like sort programs. Um I’m familiar with to try to like fund innovation Actually probably it’s so somewhat similar to the you know the kind of.

John Powers

For sure.

James McWalter

Granted investment from ah the voe where depending on exactly how these things are set up if they’re too structured. Yeah, one of the things we just talked about with software is that it’s so flexible right? Like you know you you have these ability to kind of like explore these areas because it’s such a malleable piece of technology to solve problems with. I Think there’s always going to be this tension between ah policy and incentives when apply to software specifically. Because yeah, if you put too much of a structure on software then maybe like the the best software and unless as you say you do have an entirely outcome based criteria.

James McWalter

And then you could have like a None different shots of goal and lots of people trying different things to kind of hit that particular outcome.

John Powers

Sure and and you could do it more simply too. You could say if you’re going to install make it come with the hardware right? You could say if you’re going to get an incentive to install heat pumps instead of gas ah heaters. You have to you. You could just use the heavy hand approach and say you have to have some kind of intelligent control software that goes with it. You know and it doesn’t have to be ours of course but it could you know just like it doesn’t have to be None company’s heat pump either. But just saying we’re we’re. Um, we’re installing a None heat pumps and we don’t care what happens to the grid as a result I think is setting ourselves up for some trouble and the same with car chargers having you know there’s there’s. No end of folks who talk about smart charging but we rarely see it right? Chargers start charging as soon as somebody plugs in and that’s that’s their version of smart charging because that’s what they think the car drivers want and they’re probably right? But if that happens everywhere with no. Ah, thoughts of consequences to the grid or consequences to carbon or the rest of it. That’s a missed opportunity. You know evs all by themselves will either. Ah um, save or wreck the grid just in the next few years the numbers that I’ve seen. So yeah.

James McWalter

I yeah I’ve I’ve mentioned to a few folks working on yeah in the ev space on on the podcast about this. Ah this theoretical you know, None of July weekend where in ah in a dense city with 30% ev penetration where we’re just going to be out of chargers when everybody tries to charge up and.

James McWalter

Yeah, you’ll have something so more chaotic and and I guess the lack of kind of over our controls um is a real issue. Um, but then I yeah I guess like kind of thinking about you specifically and your your background you know in we touch upon it ah like lot of kind of different kind of approaches to solving various problems. You know we worked at a utility and then you you know you’re an entrepreneur you know in multiple kind of chapters if you work I suppose to kind of give a message to you know the next generation analog of yeah what you’ve done somebody is coming On. You know, maybe in their late teens early 20 s who you know want to kind of have a kind of similar impact on the world. Sort of pick our advice you give that person.

John Powers

Yeah, so I mean work on something worthwhile. It’s it’s kind of trite advice but find a find a hard problem that you want to see solved and then go solve it because um, you know there’s there’s plenty of stuff that I’ve i’ve. Worked on in my career. But really the thing I’m proudest of is that I’ve probably participated in giving between None and None folks their none jobs in energy. Um, you know if if your early career looking for guidance and energy hit me up because I have to say. Um I I can connect you with any of the entrepreneurs who aren’t me who are also trying to solve all these hard problems. Um, we need more and better iq points on the big problems of the world. You don’t have to go to Facebook and figure out how to make somebody. Stay on a cat video for four more seconds right you should be applying those skills to ah something that will make a real difference for yourself and for the world.

James McWalter

That Yeah, and thankfully we’re starting to see a bit of a shift like there’s been this probably from the beginning of the pandemic but this kind of flourishing of lots of lots of folks who are starting online communities and and that are all kind of you know climate. Ah you know, focus and trying to. Get people to divert. Ah from yeah, the the kind of big tech like role or or similar into something that has that impact.

John Powers

Yeah, yeah, we we um before the pandemic we were big participants in local um hackathons and the like to try and pull people from tech tech into clean tech because the skills are are. Um, you know, fantastic in tech tech but the project needs are um, just bottomless in in clean tech right now there’s there’s None new innovations that need to come along in the next decade that are going to make a real difference in the world. So. Of. There’s plenty of opportunity here. Yeah.

James McWalter

And and it’s this isnt my own start of it literally every day I like talk to folks. It’s like the data insights from the financial software that we were building ten years ago are like that are just you know old school nobody uses them anymore in the financial space are just like cutting edge for people working on.

James McWalter

And the energy space and so it is. There’s just massive opportunity and um, yeah, hopefully we’ll have more and more people kind of joining. Um, but John it’s been actually great chatting. Um, before we finish off is there anything I should have asked you about but did not.

0John Powers

Um, and just give me a second. Well.

01:18:54.32

James McWalter

So to go for and this is your opportunity to give a call to action. Yeah.

John Powers

Well I think we covered the landscape pretty well I would say that um, we’d like to have folks hit us up on our Linkedin page where we talk about load flexibility and the value both to buildings and the grid pretty often. So um, extensible energies Linkedin Page is good None my own Linkedin page I’m just John powers on linked john t powers I think on Linkedin you can find me easily there. But if you if you own a building and want to see what our software can do for you just hit our homepage. There’s ah ah, a place for you to enter some very basic data and see if our solution. We’ll make a difference for you and we’d be happy to run the numbers with you and see what we can do to make you more comfortable and save you some money.

James McWalter

So fantastic and we’ll include those links in the show notes and I will also send an email to ah the person who runs our building where my own offices and and see if we can get some some some kind of juice from that. Thank you John.

John Powers

Okay, thanks so much James.

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