IBM Buys Tririga for Smarter Building Software

IBM has long talked about making acquisitions in the smart grid space. Here’s the latest: Tuesday morning, IBM (s IBM) announced it has acquired Tririga, a startup that makes sustainability and building energy management software. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

IBM will use Tririga for its smarter buildings initiatives, and IBM said in a release that it estimates its Smarter Planets project — which includes its Smarter Buildings products — will generate $10 billion in revenue by 2015. Buildings consume 40 percent of the energy in the U.S., and estimates indicate up to half is wasted in one form or another. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy predicts efficiency upgrades in commercial and industrial buildings could represent a $250 billion market over the next decade.

Smarter building software is a crowded market filled with large players including, Honeywell (s HON), Johnson Controls (s JCI), Siemens (s SI), Schneider Electric and even Cisco (s CSCO), as well as innovative startups including Scientific Conservation, Building IQ, Incenergy, Advanced Telemetry, Cimetrics and Retroficiency.

IBM’s software-centric approach differs from that of, say, Cisco, which has rolled out a Building Mediator product to interface with multiple building management systems and tie them together using Internet protocol (IP). IBM’s Smarter Building Solution software product is “essentially a smart building in a box,” as Rich Lechner, IBM’s VP of energy and environment, explained to us last year, brought together in an enterprise-wide platform through its so-called Maximo energy optimization offering.

IBM has been working on beefing up its smarter building tools for a while through partnerships, too. Back in late 2010, IBM announced a new partnership with building automation vendor Schneider Electric, similar to its partnerships with Johnson Controls and Honeywell. An example of a project from IBM’s work with Schneider is the Bryant University campus in Rhode Island, where IBM and Schneider started on a data center efficiency project, but then expanded it to the entire campus, yielding an overall 15-percent drop in power use.

Tririga is an 11-year-old company that says it has 700 customers, including Nokia (s NOK), GE (s GE), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Gap.

Image courtesy of dandeluca.