(From left to right) Jacob Kring, Daniel Mosse and Brendan Quay of HiberSense. Image courtesy of Pitt.

HiberSense, a company created by two students and a professor from the University of Pittsburgh, will present their innovative climate-control technology to Congress at the first-ever University Startups Demo Day in Washington, DC.

Founded in 2015 by Swanson School of Engineering alumni Jacob Kring and Brendan Quay, along with Pitt computer science professor Daniel Mosse, HiberSense is developing a smart thermostat system that is able to monitor temperature, light, motion, humidity and sound. By gathering this data, it can determine how spaces are being used and then adjust heating and cooling equipment accordingly. The technology has the potential to lower utility costs for homeowners and businesses and help buildings become greener by making them more energy efficient.

HiberSense was selected as one of 35 companies from across the nation to participate in University Startups Demo Day, an event sponsored by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2) to find the Best University Startups of 2016.

The company was the first cohort to come out of Pitt’s startup accelerator Blast Furnace, a program dedicated to the growing number of students looking to start their own businesses.

“How do we get more Pitt students who are interested in entrepreneurship into the local ecosystem and more successful and visible?” says Blast Furnace director Greg Coticchia, a Pitt business professor and self-described “serial entrepreneur” who has started 14 software companies. “They were interested but they weren’t prepared. There was this huge gap in the marketplace.”

Since its formation, 40 teams comprised of 150 students have been through Blast Furnace, a third of which have gone on to form early-stage companies.

Coticchia says that HiberSense’s Demo Day honor shows that university support can help startups obtain a “national stage” and take their companies to the next level. “We all want to see the next generation of companies being successful here, and there’s never been a better time in Pittsburgh’s tech community than we have now,” he adds.

After graduating from the Blast Furnace program, HiberSense—which was formerly known as One Oak Systems— went on to join the local startup accelerator AlphaLab Gear.

Earlier this year, the company was also chosen as one of three cohorts for the first-ever PGH Lab. Created by Mayor Bill Peduto, the City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation & Performance, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the program recruits local startups to help solve various civic issues. The City aims to use HiberSense’s technology to make buildings and facilities more energy efficient and comfortable.

Coticchia believes that HiberSense’s participation in University Demo Days presents an opportunity for the company to take its technology beyond the region.

“Companies like Hibersense represent that next generation of possibilities,” says Coticchia. “Pittsburgh is great, we love Pittsburgh, but they need to have a presence beyond Pittsburgh. This is a product that could have a global impact.

HiberSense will present before Congress on Tuesday, September 20.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.