Marin SBDC


“My SBDC Advisors were knowledgeable, straight to the point, highly skilled professionals that we could trust. Their advice helped shape our company and prevent us from making costly mistakes.”

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Founded in 2013 by husband and wife, Peter and Jan Peterson, XCSpec was created to apply system efficiencies to buildings in hopes of improving energy and air quality in small commercial buildings. The two came to SBDC in the early stages of the company where they sought guidance on developing their business plan, receiving grants, and raising money.


Husband and wife, Peter and Jan Peterson, founded XCSpec in 2013 to apply system efficiencies to buildings in the hopes of improving energy and air quality in small commercial buildings. They wanted to create a business that would have a positive impact and be a model for their grandkids.

Peter and Jan were the first company to install a Wi-Fi chip into a thermostat, thereby increasing the ability to manage the thermostat for energy savings. The work XCSpec has done to achieve greater energy in HVAC systems led to being awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to apply new sensor technologies to measure building envelope and duct leakage.

The company developed a product known as AirWatch, used to maintain a certain building pressure allowing doors to be easily opened by handicapped individuals. AirWatch is the only solution that currently offers both CO2 and space pressure measurement.


Peter and Jan came to the SBDC in the early stages of starting the company and sought guidance on structure, organization, raising money, and details on growing a company. They had the designs and ideas, but it is difficult to get into the market as a measurement-only product without the added value of controls. They learned quickly that they needed to adapt to market preferences and demands, and also know when to move out of the design phase. They were guided to apply for an SBIR grant which became the foundation for building their product and growing their company.

Now, a few years later after their initial engagement, they are in need of support on marketing, branding, and positioning their product for sale. XCSpec has been working with SBDC Advisor, Janet Wentworth, to help position themselves in the market and increase their sales. In addition, after COVID-19, there are new regulations for schools under AB841, and XCSpec is currently looking for schools to partner with who pilot this solution.

Game Plan

XCSpec initially worked with SBDC Advisor, Paul Bozzo, on developing their mission, strategy, plan, creating a winning pitch, and applying for the SBIR grant. Being ahead of the curve, Peter and Jan anticipated there would be more building codes that required greater types of testing and pressure analysis, so they designed their product to meet these future standards. XCSpec is currently the only company in the market with a product of this nature and was able to acquire a patent on part of their design.

The SBIR grant allowed them to do research in which they are optimistic will result in business growth. The Phase I grant allowed them to investigate and understand how much leakage is within a building. Phase II of the grant provided additional research funds and gave them the opportunity to work with the Western Cooling Efficient Center at UC Davis to add the use of CO2 as a tracer gas and further track leakage locations.

“[Our SBDC Advisors] deeply care about the success of our business and we value their input and direction. It’s critical to talk with knowledgeable advisors who have been there and done that.”

peter and jan peterson , owners, xcspec

With the help of the SBDC, XCSpec was able to:

  • Receive a SBIR grant
    • $95,925 for Phase I research
    • $298,925 for Phase II implementation
  • Hire three full-time staff, totaling in five full-time employees (including Jan and Peter)
  • Increased sales
  • Obtain $133,000 EIDL loan to help manage through COVID-19
  • Woman-owned business
  • Receive a patent for part of their design

The success of XCSpec has allowed them to give back to the community and give students the opportunity to receive training and internships to youth who want to learn technical engineering or HVAC trade experiences.

Learn More about XCSpec