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Screen shot 2009-11-18 at 2.45.58 PMMaking the rounds of Smart Grid events (and there are quite a few of them this season), smart thermostat company EcoFactor nabbed the $250,000 grand prize in yesterday’s Cleantech Open business plan competition. EcoFactor’s Scott Hublou will be speaking today at GreenBeat 2009.

Based in San Francisco, the company provides software allowing two-way thermostats to automate HVAC systems according to consumer preferences. After EcoFactor is installed — which it soon will be for a pilot-sized group of Oncor customers in Texas, according to a recent deal — users can regulate their temperatures as usual for just a few days. The software will take exterior temperatures, weather, time of day, and specified comfort levels into account in order to automate HVAC services going forward.

The idea is that the software can more intelligently determine how to save energy (HVAC systems are some of the biggest powersucks in any home) while still keeping residents comfy across all termperatures and seasons. This conservation will then be reflected in their shrinking electricity bills without them doing anything differently.

The company trumped runners up bioplastics maker MicroMidas and waste-heat recovery startup Alphabet Energy to win the prize.

EcoFactor’s win is yet another indication that the Smart Grid industry is leaning toward providers of solutions that don’t require any behavior changes or input on the part of consumers. Many of the tools being introduced in the home energy efficiency and monitoring space, like AlertMe, The Energy Detective, Microsoft Hohm, OpenPeak and more, require users to either acquire hardware or provide preliminary information and guidelines.

According to Scott Hublou, EcoFactor’s senior vice president of products, who will be representing the company at GreenBeat today, the company sees more opportunity in taking energy use management off consumers’ plates while simultaneously giving them more control over how much their paying every month.

greenbeat_logo7213255VentureBeat is hosting GreenBeat, the seminal executive conference on the Smart Grid, today and tomorrow, Nov. 18-19, featuring keynotes from Nobel Prize winner Al Gore and Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr. Register for your ticket today at GreenBeat2009.com.

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