”When we founded the company ten years ago, our main focus was a wireless measuring system to check properties for leaking toilets. We soon found that buildings have a number of other parameters worth keeping track of”, says Per Ernedal, CEO of Ecoguard. ”We began collaborating with property owners, and developed energy saving measuring systems for indoor temperature”.
The measuring methods have since been refined. Now, Ecoguard’s services are cloud based, and a web interface gives customers easy access to information on their usage of electricity, energy and hot water. ”Our business model is to reduce our customers’ consumption of heat, electricity and water in a simple and accessible way, for instance by meter readings via smartphone. Both private and public property owners benefit, and we are now the largest provider of wireless distribution measurement in multi-family dwellings in Sweden”, Per says.
Usage is made visible
EcoGuard makes it possible for both residents and property owners to monitor the usage of heat, water and electricity with a wireless or wire-based system. EcoGuard has about 250,000 measurement points in the Swedish real estate. Sensors are distributed strategically in the dwellings, with a wireless connection to a central unit somewhere in the building, which then relays the data to the EcoGuard servers.
”The CURVES software is the core of our system. CURVES visualizes the usage on an individual level. Property owners can easily gather and analyze data and compile reports. There are views illustrating groupings, averages and other usage statistics. CURVES simplifies charging, and has interfaces to business software systems”, Per Ernedal says.
”When temperature is measured with our systems, it is easy to make realtime adjustments. Through such optimizations, the average temperature of the property can be reduced; a couple of degrees creates substantial savings, and the investment often pays off in 18-24 months. Meanwhile, the residents experience a more even temperature in line with their expectations, typically 20-21 °C. It also simplifies and improves fault tracing in the heating and ventilation systems”.
80 millions of litres of water
”A bathtub contains about 150 litres of water. 80 millions of litres equals about half a million bathtubs. This is the amount of water saved during the first year in Hammarkullen, Gothenburg, when private property owners Bredfjäll and Gropens Gård began measuring hot and cold water usage individually”, Per Ernedal says. ”In our experience, individual metering and charging typically results in usage reductions of up to 40 percent”.
According to Ecoguard, individual metering offers a number of advantages:
- Fairness – There is usually a single water meter for the entire building, with no way of discerning differences in usage between residents. Individual metering and charging allows the cost to be fairly divided according to usage.
- Relation to housing cost – Residents get more control over their housing cost, and can reduce their own cost by using less hot water.
- Reduced impact on climate – Reduced hot water usage results in less emissions of greenhouse gases.
- Participation and knowledge – Residents are more motivated to report leaking faucets and other failings, and receive more knowledge on their own consumption patterns.
In recent years, Ecoguard has increased the volume of business 150 percent, and more employees have been hired. The company was named the “Digital Gazelle” of Örebro and Västmanland Counties in 2015, by Dagens Industri and Google. “This year’s Digital Gazelle has created growth and new jobs by efficient use of internet technology”, the motivation said.
”We continue to grow and develop new products – such as moisture measuring systems, and the EcoReader device for remote meter reading. We are planning to expand to other Nordic countries, and we will follow our clients owning property abroad. Climate and energy issues will be important in the future, and our products and services contribute to a more efficient resource usage in society”, Per Ernedal concludes.
The article was published in December 2015