Now you can simulate your world for (relatively) cheap in the cloud

Autodesk now offers a cloud-based version of its simulation software for a fraction of the cost of most similar on-premise options. While large enterprises might not being willing to make the jump yet, some innovative startups are already on board and testing the future.

Cleantech Open announces winners

Twenty-one cleantech startups from across the U.S. competed for a grand prize of $250,000 in investment and services at this year’s Cleantech Open Business Competition. And the winners are . . .

Nest and the Apple-ification of the thermostat

The Nest burst onto the scene recently, making waves unlike any seen for a product you’d never guess anyone would care about: the home thermostat. Fadell talked about how his team is rethinking a 50-year-old industry with lessons from his days at Apple.

The exurbs: The natural habitat of the telecommuter?

The impact of more remote workers on the built environment is a fascinating subtopic of the future of work. Will office spaces shrink? Transport plans change? Now there’s a new question about a world of remote workers – will they all move to the exurbs?

Green building firm Project Frog raises $22M from GE, VCs

Despite the seemingly downward short-term trend for cleantech investing, corporations and investors continue to back the green building sector. On Wednesday San Francisco–based energy-efficient building company Project Frog announced that it has raised $22 million from GE and a group of investors.

LEED To Embrace Demand Response

Green buildings, meet demand response. The U.S. Green Building Council wants to find ways to count buildings’ ability to turn down power to help utilities shave peak demand in its LEED rating system.

Sustainability and Design: The Key to Efficiency

One of the ways that designers can incorporate environmental awareness in their work is by using software to model the impact of different materials and processes on the energy efficiency and sustainability of their designs before they start building, says Autodesk CEO Carl Bass.

Today in Cleantech

Making buildings more energy efficient needs innovation — financial innovation, that is. That’s the gist of a New York Times article this morning about a major barrier to investing in quick-payback building energy efficiency upgrades, the so-called “split incentive” problem. Building owners make the capital investments required for energy efficiency, but the tenants get the benefits, in the form of lower energy bills as a portion of their rents. On the other hand, few tenants are going to make energy efficiency investments in a building they might not even occupy a year from now. That’s one reason most building energy efficiency projects are in the so-called “MUSH” market — municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals that know they’re going to be using the same buildings 10 to 20 years from now. What can innovators do to help solve the split incentive problem that’s holding back commercial building energy efficiency projects? Ideas range from “green leases” that split the costs and benefits of retrofits between owners and tenants, to new “energy services agreement” models like those from startup Metrus Energy that mimic the power purchase agreement models common in the renewable energy sector. Have any other good ideas? Feel free to send them my way, and we’ll talk.

Soladigm Grabs $30M For Self-Tinting Glass

Stealthy startup Soladigm has landed $30 million to help build a factory to start churning out its self-tinting glass in 2012. It’s in a race with rival Sage Electrochromics, which just got $80 million for its factory.

Best Desktop iTunes Controller: iTunes

There are many Mac applications which will sit on your desktop and display cover art as well as give some controls such as play/pause, next, etc. But since the recent release of iTunes 10, one application does this better than any other, and that’s iTunes itself.