Competition will give startups and SMEs a chance to develop their solution in partnership with Schneider Electric.
Electrical engineering giant Schneider Electric and clean tech hub Sustainable Ventures have teamed up to launch a competition for entrepreneurs that aims to help catalyse the development of a new generation of sustainable 'smart home' technologies.
The firms' Net Zero Home Programme, which opened to applicants today, is soliciting pitches for innovative solutions from clean tech startups and SMEs that could "make the net zero home a reality".
Arsha Branson, head of innovation services at Sustainable Ventures, touted the initiative as "an unmatched opportunity" for businesses looking for an opportunity to achieve mass-market deployment of solutions that make homes more connected and more efficient. "Access to our deep venture development expertise as well as Schneider Electric's global reach of 250 million homes and 205,000 trained electricians, is unparalleled," she said. "We believe that this programme could have a lasting impact on the industry and inspire the next generation of sustainable solutions."
Successful applicants will be picked when applications close in late June and will receive a £5,000 grant, as well as access to co-working, event and testing facilities at Sustainable Ventures' flagship site in central London.
The pool of applicants will be whittled down to three following a pitch to Schneider Electric's UK and Ireland president Mike Hughes in July. And then finalists will have the opportunity participate in fully-funded trials and proofs of concept before presenting a business case for funding to Schneider Electric in late October.
The winning business will then develop and scale their solution in partnership with Schneider Electric and its partners.
A net zero building is one that is highly efficient and produces at least as much renewable energy as it consumes - a concept that is a far cry from the overwhelming majority of the UK's energy-guzzling building stock. Housing currently accounts for roughly 14 per cent of the nation's carbon emissions and just one per cent of new homes are Energy Performace Certificate Standard Band A, the gold standard for energy efficiency, according to the Committee on Climate Change.
As such, experts agree the government's 2050 net zero goal can not be met without vast improvements to household energy efficiency, as well as mass decarbonisation of heating and water systems in homes.
Katie Mills, head of innovation at Schneider Electric, said it was imperative that household energy was used more prudently as electrification replaces fossil fuels in homes in the decades to come in pursuit of the UK's net zero goal.
"As net zero targets draw closer, electrification will continue to grow," she predicted. "By 2050, electricity use in homes to set to more than double, outstripping industry, as well as commercial and transport use combined. This growth will see bills increase, pilling pressure on consumers as well as national infrastructure. To meet this challenge, the net zero home is needed today.
"Homes must become smarter, more connected and more efficient. Consumers, businesses and governments need to be able to optimise household energy use, from heating and lighting to energy generation, consumption and storage."
Mills added: "We're developing our business to meet these challenges and ensure that we're best placed to create the net zero home. We want to work with cutting edge innovators to make this vision a reality."
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