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Originally published Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Interface

Woodinville-based Calico optimizes delivery of energy

Interface Company profiles and personalities.

What: Calico Energy Services, Woodinville

Who: Brian Dawson, 37, chairman and CEO

Mission: Redefine how energy is delivered and supplied.

Employees: 20

Financials: The company, which Dawson said has been profitable for the past two quarters, draws its revenue from subscription fees paid by utilities. The utilities may in turn charge consumers to use the service; the incentive is customers could decrease bills by 20 percent.

Shocking increase: Consumer demand for electricity has increased. On a parallel track, the slow economy has people looking for ways to save. Calico offers the ability to monitor electric usage and shut it down when it isn't needed.

Static behavior: The Calico system takes advantage of the "smart grid," where energy supplies are allocated to the areas of greatest need at peak usage times. Where a large office building needs air conditioning on a hot day, a house may not. Calico makes it possible for utilities to let customers purchase electricity at a cheaper rate if they, for example, defer doing the laundry on a hot afternoon.

Use it or lose it: The need to balance usage levels comes from a system in which electricity must be used shortly after it's generated. The development of more efficient storage systems could change this. "We need to take advantage of the supply of electricity and use it more efficiently," Dawson said.

Electric flag: With a nod to today's holiday, wave the flag in honor of energy conservation. "If we really want to be energy independent, we will need to find new sources," Dawson said. "Learning how to use all sources efficiently is an act of patriotism."

— Charles Bermant

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