Honest Buildings raises first venture round for green building data

Honest Buildings, a startup that aggregates information about buildings’ energy use and green characteristics, raised its first round of venture funding led by RockPort Capital and Mohr Davidow Ventures. Previously the company, which is about a year old, had raised an angel round from Spring Ventures; Jason Scott, managing partner at EKO Asset Management Partners; and Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh.

Honest Building’s site pulls data about energy use and green characteristics of buildings from sources including their owners, green building technology service providers and public databases. By putting all that data online, and letting anyone access it for free, Honest Building’s team hopes to promote transparency and some friendly competition between building managers. For example, potential occupants could look up buildings for rent or sale, and prefer to go with buildings that have solar panels or lower energy bills due to their use of energy efficient technologies.

The other aspect of the Honest Building’s site is a subscription service, which will enable green building service providers to engage with building owners. For example, a real estate company could put a request for proposal for a new lighting control system or smart energy management system, and the service providers could use the site to bid on the job. The company plans to make the bulk of its revenue from the subscription service.

This is one of the first cleantech-related investments I’ve seen from either RockPort Capital and Mohr Davidow in awhile. So-called “cleanweb” startups, which use information technology to address resource constraints, is one of the few areas of cleantech that venture capitalists still seem willing to fund. The economics of the deals look more like traditional web and mobile investing: smaller amounts of capital required and hopefully a quicker return on the investment.

Honest Buildings didn’t disclose the round size or terms. Previously the startup raised $750,000 and according to an SEC filing has been working on bumping that up to $2 million.