The TripAdvisor of energy management, The Curve today represents the largest collection of user generated data of real time energy projects across sectors. Similarly to other user generated platforms such as TripAdvisor, it collects information on energy efficiency investments and helps users to benchmark their costs in order to make better investment decision.
Jim Woods, CEO at The Crowd (the incubator behind the Curve), said “The journey began in 2014, with the question ‘How can we help to tackle the market failure in corporate energy management?’ We estimate that over 40% of commercially attractive energy projects, which are largely synonymous with carbon reduction projects, are unrealised each year. In the UK alone, that’s well over £1bn worth of missed investments, which matters in an era of climate change”.
Platforms have been extraordinarily successful at tackling market failures in other markets – TripAdvisor has brought new efficiency to the travel market, Airbnb has almost single-handedly built a new global market for home stays, and Uber has becoming the clearing house for taxi drivers. Platforms have become one of the most disruptive forces in today’s economy.
“We set out to build the TripAdvisor for Energy Management”, says Woods. “It is quite a radical project. Our first challenge was to see if companies were prepared to share business case information, as we couldn’t find a precedent in any other business areas. All the examples we looked at were in consumer-facing markets”. Today, with over 100 companies having uploaded anonymised energy projects to the Curve, from lighting to renewable energy, this challenge has largely been overcome.
The companies who have uploaded data come from a wide range of sectors, including BAE Systems, BT, Capgemini, Heathrow, Jaguar Land Rover, The Crown Estate, Toyota, Unilever, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and WPP. There are over 650 projects in the Curve today, with a combined investment value of over £500m.
As the journey has evolved, the Curve’s next challenge is to see if this information can make a meaningful impact on energy strategies and move to the “Advisor” stage. The Curve team have realised that Artificial Intelligence is the end game, which could revolutionise corporate energy programmes. By adding an algorithm, the Curve can hold key information about your company – the projects you’ve run to date, your site types and your CFO’s hurdle rate etc. – against the market. It can start to advise you on projects that should work, and key information such as market return data, the best suppliers, and draw conclusions from the user comments.
Just as TripAdvisor, sharing and collaboration are at the heart of this project. “We’re the originators of the Curve, but we’re working with a great many industry experts to make sure we make as few mistakes as we can” says Woods. “We see this as a new way of working with our community of 10,000 experts, and is a model we’re using with our other mission-led incubation projects.”
The Curve platform is currently open to try and use, and it’s free. More details can be found here: http://thecurve.me/
The data collected
The Curve collects around 15 data points for each energy project, mainly on the business case, with the company name being anonymised when it enters the visible database. The key data points are; site type, technology area (lighting, control, wind, transport etc.), amount invested, the payback, a star rating for the project, comments and any recommended suppliers. This information then becomes available to everyone through the search capability, allowing people to see aggregate data and individual project data.
About The Crowd
The Crowd is best known for its monthly sustainability event, the Crowd Forum, which has met 92 times with 16,000 people taking part. In April 2015 The Crowd added an incubation capability, to explore tech-based solutions for corporate sustainability, funded by a £450k fundraise through Crowdcube. The two incubations are the Curve and Co:create, an open strategy platform designed to empower sustainability teams in large organisations.