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This proposal was moved to: Energy Supply 2016

Pitch

My Energy Xpert is a SMART energy audit and monitoring app empowering people to save time, money and lower their energy footprint.


Description

Summary

Our mission is to simplify and automate energy management solutions for residential and small commercial buildings. Our motto is ‘energy management for all’ and we envision a world where every home and business has the ability to implement an energy savings program that is relevant to their building profile. This is important given that current conventional energy scan solutions in the market today require expensive engineers and cost more than the energy they save in a year.  These conventional scans offer lower conversion rates to real energy savings achieved through the implementation of actual building improvements.

 

The result is that homes and small businesses are effectively excluded from identifying large scale conservation actions.  This exclusion leaves a significant portion of energy savings on the table as residences and small business account for approximately 40% of all electricity consumption in North America (EIA, 2016).


Our current proprietary building energy scan technology, My Energy Xpert, is in line with our mission and allows anyone to complete a simple and accurate energy scan of their building in 15 minutes. It is a simple and customer centric web app that opens the door to a comprehensive range of energy efficiency by providing customized recommendations along with accurate predictions of the costs involved and the achievable savings. Our platform links with contractors, marketplaces, and subsidy programs to facilitate and implement our recommended building retrofits.  Moreover, My Energy Xpert is available to home and businesses at 1/10th of the price of a convention scan and can lower the energy consumption of buildings by an average of 25%.


My Energy Xpert is a springboard to small building energy efficiency that leverages the Internet of Things and our proprietary algorithms, cloud computing, machine learning and gamification. My Energy Xpert has the potential to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10% across North America.


What actions do you propose?

We have developed a digital energy scan for homes and small medium businesses called My Energy Xpert that can provide actionable results in 15 minutes.  My Energy Xpert is simple and customer centric enough for a building inhabitant to complete unassisted, and provides detailed results that are as accurate as engineering scans costing ten times as much.  We use the Internet of Things coupled with a proprietary algorithm, cloud computing and machine learning to predict the improvements that will save consumers the most on their current energy bills through systemic building improvements. Through gamificiation and social sharing, consumers are able to compare their saving potential and results with their community and networks thereby leading to mass appeal and integration.

 

By aggregating information from a range of potential sources and asking building inhabitants a series of simple questions, we are able to provide an optimized prediction of energy reduction potential.  This results in a clear and actionable plan that anyone can create completely on their own from the comfort of their home or business. Moreover, our plan is customized and tailored for renters and tenants (where the focus is on low hanging, ROI focused retrofits) as well as for owners and landlords (where the focus is on capital intensive, high value added retrofits). Our platform is a mechanism for tenants to motivate and incentivize their landlords to implement these recommended capital intensive retrofits. This allows us to be relevant to the entire market.


We propose the following actions:


1)  Roll out of our simple and automated online energy management platform to as many residences and small businesses as possible within North America and globally.  

2)  This roll out will be accomplished by working closing with existing stakeholders and channel partners such as energy utilities and retailers.


To accomplish a roll out on such massive scale we invite energy utilities, retailers and other potential channel partners to make use of My Energy Xpert  as their core energy management platform. We are licensing My Energy Xpert to utilities and retailers as a Software as a Service enterprise software solution and empowering them to white label, customize and deploy My Energy Xpert to communities as a turn-key sustainability program that gives consumers (e.g. households and small businesses) access to building energy audits, energy monitoring services, and other resources needed to take action and reduce building energy consumption.

 

My Energy Xpert will form the basis of a sustainable energy platform that can be executed by utilities and energy retailers while providing consumers with full control over their energy usage by creating a customized energy efficiency plan. We will also provide utilities with anonymized data that can be used to create effective subsidies, test and deploy new products, and even target infrastructure improvements.


All of the above action are in line with our mission to mainstream smart building improvements for the residential and small medium business market by creating technology that people can use to manage and control their building’s energy, utility services, and overall performance.

 

We have a vision in which home and business inhabitants will play a vital role in the energy and resource management systems of the future.  Individuals and communities will intelligently manage their own energy needs, energy production will be decentralized, and a diverse range of low or zero carbon sources will be abundant.  Utility services, such as water and waste management, will be under the oversight and control of building inhabitants and local communities.  Conservation and sustainable resource management will balance environmental impact.  Building performance will be tailored to the usage patterns and lifestyles of the building inhabitants with full oversight of their critical building systems.

 

We believe that we are in the middle of global transition in terms of building performance, and we see that people are at the center of this transition.  In order to make our vision a reality, we recognize the need to engage and empower others in creating the solutions we need to take us into the next generation of buildings.

 

Residences and small businesses account for nearly 50% (EIA, 2015) of all buildings and 40% of all electricity consumption in North America (EIA, 2016).  By addressing the residential and small business markets we fill a service gap in energy efficiency services, which have largely professionalized around serving the more lucrative large commercial and industrial markets.  In addition, we engage 50% of the building market in creating a more sustainable energy future.  


What we are currently seeing in the market today is that the price points of the current building energy scans and audits simply don’t make sense for the average consumer given their potential energy savings. Consumers that do move forward with building scans are confronted with highly technical reports that do not provide an easily understandable direction of exactly how improvements should be made. As a result, gains in small building efficiency are found mostly in new-built construction while the existing building stock remains a sink of energy consumption.  This is in spite of the recognition that dollars spent on energy efficiency pay-out 2 to 1 compared to dollars spent on new construction.  Neglecting inefficient building stock costs society money and damages the environment.  It’s time we changed that by designing new services that specifically address the needs of small buildings and engage the people who live and work in them (which is pretty much everyone)!    


We do this and engage this under represented market by simply providing them with all of the tools they need to take action and improve their building’s energy performance.  We are able to combine quantitative data points, such as energy consumption from utility bills or smart metering, with critical qualitative data points entered by the building inhabitant regarding usage patterns and preferences.  This is a crucial part of generating results that are not only accurate, but also relevant to the consumer. It marks the beginning of the engagement process that ultimately pulls consumers to make both behavioural changes and structural building modifications to realize their full customized savings potential.


The first step in this process involves helping people to understand the improvement potential in their building and this is exactly where My Energy Xpert excels.  My Energy Xpert provides accurate improvement advice and allows individuals to create their own improvement plan.  It does this in an average of 15 minutes for less than 1/10th the cost of conventional energy scans and audits currently available.  Best of all, anyone can access our application from the privacy of their own home or business and complete the scan on their own.  Simply put, we take away all of the factors that typically deter action during the first critical steps toward building energy efficiency.  


 

Consumers (homes and businesses) using My Energy Xpert  take the following 5 steps:

 

1.     Execute a simple, online, SMART energy scan of their home or business that takes advantage of all the data that is already available. Our scan is simple, customer centric and uses gamification to engage the consumer to fill in their relevant information and building profile.

 

2.     Create a customized improvement plan based on their desired total energy savings and available budget for implementing the relevant building solutions

 

3.     Schedule all of the installations / retrofits via a network of recommended fulfilment partners.

 

4.     Install a real time energy monitoring system to visualize progress and lowered energy consumption via an interactive dashboard.

 

5.     Share their experiences and successes with a community of people with similar building profiles via our social sharing functionality.


In summary, our solution provides:


·       A scan so simple anyone can complete it in 15 minutes using gamification and social sharing functionality

·       Results that are within 10% of the accuracy of conventional engineering scans

·       Customer acquisition and lead generation for other high value services

·       An on-boarding and up selling tool for product installations

·       Improved customer retention through valuable and relevant data insights via monitoring services/solutions

·       Consumer engagement and stickiness

·       Consumption and building data and business intelligence

 

Leveraging the fulfillment of the sustainability and lifestyle aspirations for a wide range of homes and businesses, our solution is well positioned for impact in markets that extend beyond traditional energy retail and utility applications.  Examples of other channel partners include:

 

·       real estate

·       insurance

·       utility services: water and waste management

·       construction and installation services

·       energy and building consulting

·        banks

·       retail sales


We are currently in the process of signing custom development and licensing deals with channel partners including prominent energy retailers, utilities, and service providers in deregulated markets such as Ontario, Alberta, Texas, California and New York.


Who will take these actions?

Energy and building management at scale is a complex task, so it makes sense to work through existing players and stakeholders.  In this way, we are currently using channel partners such as utilities and energy retailers to deploy My Energy Xpert to their customer base through the following channels:


  • Online customer portals, websites and email campaigns.

  • Call center reps that engage consumers to complete the energy audit over the phone

  • ‘Walk through energy audits’ provided using door to door sales reps


We are also raising awareness through direct marketing campaigns such as flyers included with energy bill mailings and advertising through prominent industry publications.

 

Ultimately, home and business consumers will use My Energy Xpert to complete the scan of their own building.  They will do the scan by themselves given My Energy Xpert’s  customer centric design or via a trained person (from the utility or retailer) who arrives at the building and completes the application with the consumer as a walk-through building audit.  Because the My Energy Xpert interface is so simple and intuitive, it does not require a highly trained individual, such as an engineer, to complete and so the cost of a walk-through scan is still considerably lower than that of a conventional engineering audit.


We are also in the process of partnering with a number of service organizations that include contractors, energy monitoring companies, property developers and even financing providers.  The objective is to create a network of providers that are capable of taking consumers through the entire retrofit process in a way that is seamless, simple, and transparent.   


Where will these actions be taken?

We’re starting in Toronto where there is an existing supply of aging small building stock, and a political, social and economic climate ripe for sustainable change.  However, talks are already underway with potential clients across deregulated markets such as Ontario, Alberta, Texas, California, New York, Illinois, and even the United Kingdom.

 

In general, the timing for market entry of a simple, accurate, online building energy efficiency solution in the North American market is ideal.  Our solution is so scalable that it is easily adapted for buildings in a wide range of markets including Europe and Asia.    

 

Particularly in our home of Ontario, Canada, province-wide energy conservation and demand management requirements, such as those enforced by the IESO, have created a mandate for energy efficiency solutions.  Available incentives for homes and businesses create an additional appetite for pragmatic and easily accessible solutions.

 

As in most other markets, utility and energy retail companies in Ontario are tasked with rolling out conservation programs and are held accountable by local, provincial, and federal agencies.  Unfortunately, the average utility company is underprepared to take on such programs because their resources are largely consumed with delivering energy and maintaining the associated infrastructure.  All the while, energy prices are strictly regulated keeping marginality razor thin.  This combination of constraints places utility companies in a difficult position.  In effect, they are caught by a mandate to act on conservation initiatives without the competencies or resources to effectively deliver such programs at scale.

 

Anywhere that utility companies struggle to serve their customers with energy management and conservation services and energy retailers struggle to keep their customers sticky and loyal, our solution can make an impact with homes and small business.  We see truly global potential.


How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?

My Energy Xpert allows people to easily identify and implement improvements that can lower energy consumption by an average of 25%.  Given that homes and small businesses account for 40% of all electricity consumption in North America, this represents the potential to lower total energy consumption in North America by 10% (EIA, 2016).  Carbon intensive sources account for approximately 90% of energy production (USDOE, 2009); therefore, lowered building energy consumption results in a prolonged reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


My Energy Xpert focuses structural as well as behavioral changes for renters/tenants and landlords/owners and hence is able to be relevant to the entire market and move people towards taking action. The structural improvements suggested, such as LED lighting retrofits, HVAC modifications, and energy efficient appliances, are effective for the lifetime of the equipment involved, often 20 years or more, and result in a long term impact on climate change.


What are other key benefits?

Key benefits include:


- Consumers are offered accurate, affordable and trusted energy advice, and My Energy Expert acts as a valuable onboarding tool for conventional energy advisors.

 

-Our program streamlines retrofits in small buildings, and installation contractors can benefit from significantly reduced marketing and selling costs and increased customer volume.


-Building service providers can benefit from enhanced upselling of energy management services and building data services.


-We systematically reduce energy consumption, and offer consumer engagement, stickiness, and retention to energy retailers that reduces their customer churn. Moreover utilities are able to meet their conservation demand targets by enabling their customer base to implement the relevant retrofits that will lower building energy consumption.


-All of our channel partners are provided new revenue channels and collaboration opportunities  through the upselling of high value products and services through our platform.


What are the proposal’s costs?

We have already secured investors and devoted resources to building our core platform, My Energy Xpert.  This core platform was designed from the ground up using the Internet of Things, our proprietary algorithms and machine learning protocols. It is currently in the process of being licensed as a Software as a Service enterprise solution to channel partners across North America who want to deploy our solution in their service area. The platform is white labelled thereby allowing our channel partners to fully customize the user interface and make it relevant to their customer profile.


For our channel partners, we divide the implementation costs into three parts: one-time customization fees, software as a service licensing, and a variable per consumer fee for each completed energy scan using our platform.  The end result is a turn-key energy audit and monitoring solution for our partners at a total cost of around $50 per consumer.  


At this price point, My Energy Xpert costs a mere 10% compared to conventional energy audits.  What’s more, My Energy Xpert delivers a more actionable building improvement plan and a network of additional service providers ready to assist the consumer in taking action and becoming more sustainable.


The retail cost of My Energy Xpert is typically earned back in two to four months through energy savings with minimal improvement implementations.  Business consumers and large residences can see payback in as short as one month.  


As we scale to serve more channel partners and consumers, we strive to lower the cost of My Energy Xpert even further.  Initial development profits are reinvested into ongoing product development with the ambition of making our solution even simpler, even more accurate, and even more cost effective to deploy and customise.  In true embodiment of our motto, the ultimate goal is a web application that is freely available to all buildings everywhere: energy management for all!  


Time line

Setup and program lead times of My Energy Xpert with a channel partner typically take two to three months depending on the level of customization required.  With no customization to the current platform, lead times can be as short one month.  Once launched, the My Energy Xpert platform is operational and accessible online for consumers immediately.  All ongoing maintenance and upgrades are handled by us and platform uptime is generally higher than 99%.  


Consumers (homes and businesses) can generate meaningful results through My Energy Xpert in as little as 5 minutes; although most consumers spend approximately 15 minutes in the application.  A holistic building improvement plan generated through My Energy Xpert typically takes around three months to fully implement; although, this timeline varies significantly depending on the project scope, budget, and other individual factors such as if the consumer is a tenant/renter or an owner/landlord.  In general, consumers are free to take action as quickly as they like with timelines ranging from a matter of days to a year or more.  


Program progress, aggregated data and analysis are available to our channel partners from day one; with formal updates and analysis typically occurring at least once per month.  The total timeframe for a My Energy Xpert partner license can range anywhere from three to six months for a pilot project to up to three years for a full program license.


Related proposals


References

USDOE (US Dept. of Energy), "U.S. Primary Energy Consumption by Source and Sector, 2008" (2009) Retrieved from:http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pdf/pecss_diagram.pdf


EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration. A Look at the U.S. Commercial Building Stock: Results from EIA's 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). Release date: March 4, 2015.  Retrieved from: https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/reports/2012/buildstock/


EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration). “Electric Power Annual”. Release date: February 16, 2016.  Retrieved from:http://www.eia.gov/electricity/annual



Suggested reading and general reference

Levine, M., D. Ürge-Vorsatz, K. Blok, L. Geng, D. Harvey, S. Lang, G. Levermore, A. Mongameli Mehlwana, S. Mirasgedis, A. Novikova, J. Rilling, H. Yoshino, 2007: Residential and commercial buildings. In Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.