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Sefaira just landed a $10.8 investment to harness cloud computing to crunch large amounts of building design data, allowing it to perform in minutes building design analyses which previously took days or weeks.

Designing zero-energy buildings, or retrofitting old ones, isn’t easy. Each combination of building strategies like renewable energy usage, insulation type and window design results in different energy, water and carbon consumption benefits and construction and operating costs. Building designers need to quantify and compare the various options.

The green building industry currently often uses static building codes and rules-of-thumb to make design decisions. Sefaira’s data-driven green building design takes building codes, location-specific building data like weather, renewable energy availability, and a sophisticated building physics engine in order to assess various building strategies. Sefaira won the Green Building Innovation of the Year award at London’s Ecobuild 2011.

Sefaira’s business model is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Customers include architectural firms, construction companies, retrofit assessors and utility companies. Autodesk is among the company’s competitors.

Sefaira was founded in 2009, is based in London and New York and has 30 employees. The $10.8 million funding round was led by Braemar Energy Ventures in partnership with Amsterdam-based Chrysalix SET and UK-based Hermes GPE.

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