These start-ups that help companies better manage their energy bills

Posted on September 16, 2022 at 6:30 amUpdated September 16, 2022 at 6:42 am

“After brushing your teeth, would you leave the tap running all day? A priori, no. This is one of the examples I use most with prospects,” smiles Charles Moreau, CFO of Agrid, a French greentech company. Your objective ? Illustrate the aberration of energy consumption when offices are sparse, at night and on weekends. The Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe) estimates that heating accounts for more than 50% of office energy costs.

Agrid allows companies and hotels to adapt their consumption according to the real use of the building. Are the premises deserted on Fridays? Perhaps there is no need to heat this unoccupied meeting room. Specifically, it has developed signature software that connects to the buildings’ heating and air conditioning systems.

An artificial intelligence will learn about the daily use of the facility and allow for automated optimizations such as temperature drop. Managers and tenants can also control settings on mobile, tablet or computer.

Auditing, data analysis or sensors

With the arrival of winter and the promise of an increase in the energy bill, concern on the business side grows. “We work in a more privileged way with rental companies with companies. Conflicts are growing between the parties over the energy bill and the regulation of tariffs”, observes Julien Bruneau, co-founder of iQSpot, a start-up specializing in real-time analysis of consumption variations in buildings.

Some nuggets that develop flex office organization software, aimed at human resources and managers, thus see a new argument emerging with the energy crisis.

“Our tool allows us to have visibility into the occupancy rate of offices, the number of people working from home and, therefore, know where to save. We support that with our customers,” says Charles Cappart, founder of Flowee, a start-up that has just announced its launch and seed funding from Nexity (without revealing the value).

The start-up uses presence sensors, as do Ubigreen, iQSpot and Square Sense, which recently raised €3.5 million. In this still very emerging market, players either carry out energy audits, collecting data – with or without sensors – to then make recommendations, or intervene directly.

Isolate or optimize?

In a recent barometer, the fund Axeleo Capital pointed out that the category “energy solutions” was the second most financed category in proptech, in the second quarter of 2022. The energy efficiency specialist Deepki, for example, raised no less than 150 million euros .euros last spring, an industry record.

These sprouts benefit from an unprecedented market opportunity and promise a reduction of 15% to 30% in the invoice. “Before the energy crisis, largely linked to the Ukrainian situation, the real momentum was launched after the tertiary decree”, underlines Julien Mériaudeau of Ubigreen, whose start-up has around a hundred clients such as BNP Paribas or Société Générale.

And this engineer observed “a positive dynamic for a year and a half”. Derived from the Elan law, this decree establishes progressive obligations to reduce energy consumption (40% from 2030) in buildings (over 1,000 m²) in the tertiary sector.

Ambitious reduction targets, where customers often arbitrate between optimizing consumption and the need to make the fleet less energy intensive through renewal. “Absolutely, this is a new approach. Some people consider that a technology system cannot do better than insulating a building and struggling to understand the interest”, laments Charles Moreau, whose company has a dozen clients. The ideal: do both.

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