So far this year, the price of electricity has reached record highs. The highest figure was reached on July 21. On that day, the electricity pool registered an average price of 106.57 /MWh, pulverizing the 103.76 /MWh reached on January 11, 2002, according to OMIE data. These increases are in addition to the recent change in the electricity tariff which, since June 1, has three time periods (peak, flat and off-peak), so that users will pay more or less on their bill depending on the hours of the day when they consume electricity.
Making buildings more sustainable is another challenge facing the sector. Technological advances are allowing users to control their consumption (electricity, water, air conditioning systems, etc.) remotely, which results in greater comfort and efficiency. Currently, there are many solutions available on the market. Many of them have been created by startups, recently created companies with high innovative and technological potential and great growth possibilities. Here are some examples.
The startup Orpheus, created in 2018, has developed an intelligent management platform that makes buildings more comfortable, sustainable and healthy, which also allows users to participate in it. This project arises from the need to modernize professional buildings, reducing their energy and environmental impact to a minimum and putting people at the center of the equation.
Through a network of wireless sensors, the Orpheus platform measures in real time the temperature, humidity, light, air quality, occupancy, etc. of the different spaces in the building and takes control of the devices that are related to these parameters, such as the heating or lighting system. Its installation is so simple that it can be done by the user himself. All that is required is to install the wireless sensors on the wall and plug the SmartHub into the power supply, as if it were a router. In addition, Orpheus connects to the Internet with its own cell phone connection, so it does not interfere with the building’s communications.
Aimed at building managers and owners as well as end users, Orpheus reduces by 50% the number of on-site visits by technicians to buildings and extends the useful life of machines, reducing breakdowns by 30% thanks to energy efficiency, reduced operating time and number of cycles (on/off). For an average office, its cost does not reach 2,000, to which must be added a monthly fee of about 60, a price similar to the monthly cost of a telephone line + internet or an alarm system.
Smart devices from an app
Hobeen, a Spanish startup founded two years ago and supported by Lanzadera, has developed an energy efficiency app for homes, from which users can monitor, manage and reduce the energy consumption of their homes.
Through its mobile application, Hobeen provides the user with enough data and information to manage, in the best possible way, the energy resources of their home, thus saving on their bills and reducing CO2 emissions emitted by households. With the free download of the app on the App Store, Hobeen sends notifications to the user of the hours when electricity is cheapest and proposes challenges to improve their consumption habits.
Hobeen’s APP also has a Premium part with which the user can control their home, measure their consumption and program appliances. People are paying 30% more on their energy bills because they don’t know how to consume to pay less, a problem that Hobeen aims to eradicate,” says Hobeen.
For the most committed, Hobeen has an energy efficiency kit that adapts to any home and is installed in a very simple way in the main sources of consumption: water, electricity and gas. In this way, the user can analyze and monitor all his consumption, even when he is not at home. The user will be able to program, for example, the hours at which he wants to turn on the boiler, the air conditioning or put an end to standby, among other tricks.
Thanks to this kit, households could save around 370 euros a year on electricity, 200 euros on heating and 140 euros on water bills. Hobeen offers the complete Energy Efficiency kit for 599 from its website. There are several models depending on the characteristics of each home. There is the Summer Kit (with devices chosen for a home without heating) for 410 or the Winter Kit (for homes with heating, but without air conditioning) for 499. The monthly subscription to control all devices from the app is 6.25.
Bamboo Energy, a technology startup from IREC (Catalonia Energy Research Institute) created in 2020, has developed an energy optimization platform based on artificial intelligence aimed at demand aggregators, i.e. companies that manage in an aggregated and coordinated way the consumption of several users for their participation in different electricity markets. Current legislation in Spain only allows demand aggregation for energy traders with a sufficient volume of flexible generation (such as industries and tertiary buildings).
This technological solution arises after seven years of research at IREC and enables companies to operate optimally in the new energy markets, generating income by being flexible in their consumption and more efficient. Thus, it will coordinate distributors and consumers to define their new roles in an environment where electricity flows are no longer unidirectional (from the generation plant to the consumer), but bidirectional (the consumer can be both producer -prosumer- and choose the moment to sell and buy energy).
Thanks to its algorithms, the platform enables functionalities such as forecasting electricity consumption demand, predicting customers’ flexibility, the possibility of making joint optimal offers in real time, managing all flexible assets (such as air conditioning equipment, electric vehicles, batteries or refrigeration machines) in response to the grid operator’s request, or issuing alerts in the event of excessive power increases. Through a control center, it connects to the electricity market to offer these services.