"Smarthome" Startup Wins $250,000 Prize - NBC Bay Area

"Smarthome" Startup Wins $250,000 Prize

EcoFactor earns a quarter of a million dollars in funding and support



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    Your home thermostat may be about to get a lot smarter thanks to companies like EcoFactor.

    The annual CleanTech Open contest has awarded its grand prize to EcoFactor, a Redwood City-based company that hopes to help customers reduce their utility bills.

    The prize includes $250,000 worth of capital, consulting, mentorship and office space in San Jose.

    EcoFactor has developed a thermostat that not only tracks usage of heating and cooling systems in a home, but receives weather updates from the Internet in order to most efficiently regulate temperature.

    The company says it can cut energy costs by up to 30 percent, though it seems once you get the new SmartMeter from PG&E (which sponsors the contest, along with lovable Chevron), your bill probably won't change much.

    The runners-up also hail from Northern California even though this year's contest was open to entries from the Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.

    Berkeley's Alphabet Energy wants to turn waste heat into electricity, while Micromidas of West Sacramento wants to turn the raw materials from wastewater treatment into plastic gold.

    Those companies and other finalists take home $50,000 in support.

    Photo by Andy Butkaj.

    Jackson West can't figure out who he'd trust less, Comcast or PG&E.