An Australian start-up aims to reduce the normally prohibitive cost of getting an energy assessment with an new app that offers households and business a personalised plan to reduce their power bills.
The group, Ecologic Apps, has created a cloud-based software platform designed to help businesses and household assess their energy consumption levels, allowing them to become more energy efficient.
The home and building energy management software markets have risen sharply in the past few years, with Navigant Research valuing the sector at $US2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) and $US272 billion respectively.
One of Ecologic Apps founders, John McKibbin, has spent the past decade working in the energy industry and wanted to bring his skills and passion for energy efficiency to a broader market.
He said the cost of energy assessment usage was prohibitive for many businesses and households and the aim of the app was to give consumers a cheaper option.
"What we wanted to do was provide consumers with the same advantage as industry," McKibbin said.
The product works by bridging the gap between simplified consumer models and more sophisticated versions which are targeted towards engineers.
"It overcomes the historical trade-off between simplicity and sophistication," Mr McKibbin said.
"Advanced building energy and financial modelling like this currently requires a highly trained engineer several days to perform. We've reduced the process to a matter of minutes by creatively applying big data analytics and web and mobile technology."
The app works by asking the user a targeted set of questions about their building and appliances. Advanced physical and financial simulations are then carried out, after which the user is sent a detailed audit comparing their bills to similar properties and a breakdown of how much energy and money each appliance is consuming.
A personalised energy plan is then generated, prioritised by the estimated cost, bill savings and payback period of each measure. An energy saving marketplace is then offered to assist with acting on the plan, including local suppliers, reviews, project finance and incentives. The platform earns a commission or lead fee from directing users to these service providers.
"This hasn't been possible at this scale before," McKibbin said.
"It can allow users to rapidly implement energy savings of between 20 per cent and 30 per cent."
Due to its cloud-based format, Mr McKibbin sees a growing opportunity for sole traders to utilise the software to start their own energy assessment business.
"We're trying to 'uber-ise' the energy market," he said
One user of the technology, Your Energy Friend energy efficiency consultant Adam Corrigan, said the app meant he could provide households and SMEs with a greater understanding of their own energy consumption.
"This app really has a broader scope to it, and can look at many different aspects of a house or business," Mr Corrigan said.
"It has a lot of agility," he said. "It has more 'smarts', and we've worked with John [McKibbin] to create a fundamental assessment tool to record data and help people reduce their consumption.
"We're looking at large scale applications, partnering with non-government organisations and utility businesses," Mr Corrigan said.
Ecologic Apps also plans to work with environmental NGOs in developed economies.
"We're partnering with organisations that want to work towards a rapid scale reduction in energy consumption and rise in efficiency," Mr McKibbin said.
The technology is already being piloted with eight Sydney councils, representing a live, large scale testing across 800,000 households in total.
The pilot has also received a $100,000 grant from Jobs for NSW Building Partnerships Program.
Ecologic is part of the EnergyLab start up hub, which is funded in part by Origin.
The story Energy app to offer personalised plan to cut power bills first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.