Increasingly, councils and community groups are seeking to promote energy efficiency and solar PV within their local community, however most lack the tools or resources to implement large-scale programs. A new platform from Ecologic Apps can help retrofit households and businesses at scale.
There is a growing movement of councils and community groups that are taking the lead in the transition toward energy independence, so-called 'zero net energy towns'. Instead of waiting for national leadership, these organizations are mobilising local households and businesses to retrofit buildings with energy efficiency and solar PV, while installing community renewable energy.
However energy efficiency and solar PV has so far proved difficult to coordinate, procure and finance at scale, owing to the large number of individually small projects.
The Community Energy Blitz program has been developed to allow councils and community groups to streamline the mobilisation, assessment and delivery of energy efficiency and solar PV projects at scale.
In so doing, households and businesses can reduce their exposure to rising energy bills, improve energy service reliability, and dramatically reduce their contribution to climate change.
However, the Community Energy Blitz is about far more than just energy. It is about community empowerment and resilience. It is about creating new job opportunities, stimulating local small businesses, and creating and enhancing local citizen participation. It is about building a shared vision of the future.
How it works
The Community Energy Blitz relies on three core pillars:
- A grassroots mobilization campaign is launched in schools, workplaces and community groups to encourage households and businesses to self-assess their property using the Ecologic mobile app.
- Leading-edge analysis is applied to generate tailored energy action plans for each participating household or business.
- Innovative delivery models are engaged to help households and businesses implement energy efficiency and solar, including bulk procurement and financing strategies.
Figure 1: How the Ecologic Energy Blitz works
Our approach identifies local networks as providing a key role in helping to champion and disseminate information about the project, while providing the basis for data collection via a crowd-sourced energy audit of households and businesses across the community. This audit applies a set of web and mobile apps designed to rapidly gather building and appliance features with all data stored centrally on a cloud-based database.
This process serves two purposes. Most immediately, the campaign grounds the analysis with detailed property-specific data. Secondly – and critically – the crowd-sourced audits provide an immediate opportunity for the community to participate in the campaign, build their understanding of their own and the community’s energy use, and establish a connection to and ownership of the project.
Figure 2: The Ecologic audit interface
The audit data collected from the crowd-sourced energy audit, combined with utility bill, appliance ownership, and usage data, informs our leading-edge analysis. Research-grade simulations are performed for each participating household and business using the Ecologic cloud-based simulation platform.
The output of the analysis is a tailored energy saving plan for each household and business across the community, including individually estimated costs, bill savings and payback periods. The key benefit of this approach is its potential to facilitate deep energy savings in a very short time frame, by identifying and mapping town wide opportunities that can readily be taken to tender during delivery.
Figure 3: The retrofit assessment report
Innovative delivery models
The Ecologic platform assists households and businesses with implementing their action plan by connecting customers with local suppliers and financial offers. The platform also provides a centralised dispatch platform for coordinating bulk purchasing and financing if desired.
The progress of the campaign delivery can then be monitored and evaluated by the council or community group using a set of real-time reports, including tracking the status of each project (potential, committed, in progress, complete) and the estimated energy, greenhouse and bill savings that have been achieved.
Figure 4: The in-app energy efficiency and solar marketplace
The outcome is a streamlined and financially viable means to rapidly transition towns and cities toward energy independence.