BuildingGenius: Making sustainable housing a no-brainer

Beyond Efficiency is highly motivated to solve the nation’s housing crisis and planet’s climate crisis through our technical work, but the traditional building consulting model isn’t going to cut it. To scale our impact far beyond what we’re able to accomplish as a small team working on one-off building projects, we’re excited to announce our new technology- and community-based initiative, BuildingGenius. Its mission is to empower everyone with the benefits of “boutique consulting” that otherwise is out of reach for many and tends to be stuck in silos in the industry. Our goal is to make sustainable housing easy and fun for architects, engineers and other professionals!

In parallel with our paid work we’ve been bootstrapping this platform, which integrates comprehensive technical information with dynamic social features. Database-driven content is organized with multidimensional attributes, allowing you to quickly find the information you need, save time on tedious tasks, and focus your brain power where it matters most. Three levels of content (factual, curated and crowdsourced) harness existing information and knowledge that often stays hidden away. We’re focusing initial content on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) since they are a highly efficient private-sector tool that local jurisdictions have embraced to help address their housing shortages.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Teams spend countless hours on the typical project navigating complex and confusing codes, designing details, researching products and best practices, and coordinating with consultants and tech reps. With thin margins and ongoing “fires to fight”, optimal decisions are often sacrificed to just get the job done. But as a whole, the housing industry already knows how to create healthy, efficient, durable and climate-friendly homes! The problem is simply that existing information and expertise are not packaged and distributed in an efficient and effective way. As consultants on residential projects since 2009, the Beyond Efficiency team intimately understands the housing industry and challenges that we and other professionals face every day. BuildingGenius is just an outgrowth of the in-house tools we’ve developed over the years to help make our own consulting work more efficient and effective.

We’ve been waiting for a tool like this!

To validate the market need, we issued a survey to a group of San Francisco Bay Area building professionals and listed six technical design challenges with accessory dwelling units (ADUs):
1. HVAC
2. DHW
3. All-electric
4. Building envelope
5. Meeting energy code
6. Indoor air quality

40% of respondents marked EVERY item as a pain point, and 90% of respondents marked at least two items. Since then we’ve had numerous discussions with other target users and housing stakeholders including cities, counties and non-profit housing advocacy organizations and received purely positive feedback.

What’s the status?

BuildingGenius is currently in private beta with a goal of fully launching to the public in the spring of 2023. If you’re ready to be part of the solution to create more housing and reverse climate change, please respond to the brief survey here to collaborate, be a beta tester or just stay in the loop! The beta is set up in three rolling phases and we’ll be inviting new groups to participate every six weeks, with the first external group starting December 1.