"Data is changing the way we live. From the films we watch, to how much we exercise. So why isn't it having a greater effect on energy efficiency?"
This was the question puzzling Dirk Huibers, a 29-year-old Dutch energy consultant. It inspired him to quit his job and persuade two former colleagues, Marieke Dijksma and Tara Sonneveld, to form their own start-up, called Octo. Its aim is to change the way people think about energy consumption.
There is reason for urgency. The International Energy Agency estimates that global investment on energy efficiency needs to rise from $300 billion a year to $680 billion if the world is to meet global carbon reduction targets for 2050. The European Union, which aims to improve energy efficiency by 27% by 2030, says buildings are responsible for as much as 40% of all energy consumption and 36% of carbon dioxide emissions.
Octo aims to change people's relationship with energy. It is a digital application for tenants, landlords, building managers and heating installation companies. Its aim is to provide data that will empower people to change the way they use energy. Not just to save money, but to make smarter business decisions and even maintain healthier lifestyles.
Building managers, for instance, would be able to see the least energy efficient rooms in a network of offices around the world. Schools and hospitals could monitor areas with poor air quality, while residents could assess the energy consumption of different household appliances.