The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), through the Innovation Fund, has made a $5 million equity investment in Zen Ecosystems’ series B capital raising for the further development and deployment of its Zen HQ and Zen Thermostat products.

The Clean Energy Innovation Fund draws on the combined skills and experience of the CEFC and ARENA and invests using CEFC finance.

Innovation Fund executive director Ben Gust said the technology innovations and behind-the-meter management solutions offered by Zen Ecosystems could unlock major opportunities for reducing energy consumption for retailers, hotels and motels, schools, universities, car dealerships and fast food outlets.

“Traditionally, energy usage has been controlled by building management systems, which are usually only cost effective for large or industrial-use buildings,” Gust said.

“Zen HQ is designed for smaller footprint businesses as a low cost, easy-to-use cloud platform for managing energy-intensive assets across single and multiple sites.

“Demand management is a critical part of the clean energy transition. We are pleased to support Zen Ecosystems in the expansion of this innovative home-grown technology. With this new wave of innovation and connectivity, controlling your energy consumption is now just a matter of checking in on your desktop or phone.”

CEFC transaction lead Kristin Vaughan added: “Heating and cooling are typically responsible for around 40% of total building energy consumption, representing significant energy costs for businesses and consumers.

“We see there is enormous scope for innovative clean energy technologies such as these, which can help businesses achieve significant energy savings by managing their own consumption as well as lowering their carbon footprint.

“This technology also opens the way for individual users to participate in demand response initiatives, contributing to the continued stability and reliability of our energy system.”

The core products of Zen Ecosystems are the Zen Thermostat and Zen HQ. The Zen Thermostat is a smart thermostat that allows homes to remotely control and reduce their energy consumption. Zen HQ is designed for smaller footprint businesses as a low cost, easy-to-use cloud platform for managing energy-intensive assets across single and multiple sites.

Zen Ecosystems was recently named one of the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies in the energy industry, highlighting its ability to help businesses more intelligently manage their HVAC and lighting systems to reduce energy consumption.

Zen Ecosystems’ US experience has demonstrated the potential of its technologies to save businesses thousands of dollars in energy costs and to realise investment payback in less than a year.

Zen Ecosystems CEO, James McPhail said: “We’ve already seen great traction in the market for our energy solutions and this round of growth capital, headed by the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, will enable us to aggressively expand our product roll out in both Australia and the USA.