Could your house be as smart as you are?
Scott Elliott '83 is making it possible. He is founder and CEO of MountainLogic, Inc. whose innovative heating/cooling zone control system uses integrated sensors and computer processing to learn how occupants use their home, then adapts room temperatures based on that usage. In August, the U.S. Patent office approved the company's first patent (and Elliott's 12th), and the Bonneville Power Administration awarded them a $255,500 Technology Innovation grant to support testing the system in the Northwest. In October, MountainLogic won the Northwest Entrepreneur Network's "First Look Forum," a bi-annual, invitation-only investor showcase where 12 never-seen-before, early-stage startups from the Pacific Northwest compete to pitch their companies to a panel of the region's top venture capitalists.
"We're really excited about this grant and working with BPA to show how energy savings can be done with MountainLogic's zone control system, effortlessly and inexpensively by the average homeowner," says Elliott. The grant will cover a one-year trial of the zone control system, which saves energy by heating or cooling only occupied rooms. "It's similar to turning a light switch on or off in each room, but without the bother because the zone control system does it for you. You wouldn't think of having only one light switch in a house. Why do most homes have only one heating or cooling thermostat? If I'm in the kitchen, I don't need all the bedrooms heated."
Elliott, an Oregon native, has spent more than 25 years leading technology development ranging from biomedical imaging to consumer electronics. He founded Clinical Kinematics and has participated in several other start-ups, and spent 13 years in hardware and software research and development leadership at Nintendo of America. He also led engineering at EnerTec, which delivered the first successful networked HVAC zone controls for commercial building.
MountainLogic's system has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save homeowners up to 50 percent of their heating and cooling costs. Homes account for nearly a quarter of U.S. energy consumption and more than 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. On average, a typical home could eliminate 1,800 pounds of CO2 emissions with MountainLogic's zone control system. Plus, it's wireless, so it doesn't require rewiring or major construction and can be installed easily in existing homes.
In addition to winning the First Look Forum, MountainLogic reached the 2011 regional semifinals in the Cleantech Open—the world's largest business competition for clean technology entrepreneurs.