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For Watt it’s Worth – Cutting through the jargon and foster a more sustainable way of living

Posted January 15, 2024

Trying to reduce our carbon footprint and slash power bills can sometimes seem overwhelming.

Kilowatt hours, off-peak rates, time-of-use charges, feed-in tariffs, photovoltaic, smart meters, passive heating, cross ventilation, seven-star and thermal performance.

Oh, and don’t forget BESS (that’s Battery Energy Storage System)

Two Stone & Chalk start-ups are helping to cut through the jargon and foster a more sustainable way of living.


Everyone has their favourite time of the day.

For Rob Morris and Luke Morton their sweet-spot is between 10am and 4pm – when South Australia’s network of rooftop solar systems are harnessing the power of the sun.

Rob Morris, CEO, iO Energy.

“Between 10am and 4pm, there’s an abundance of rooftop solar being fed into the grid, about 1/3 of South Australians have rooftop solar…it’s important to help people understand how to use electricity better,” Morton says.

“Education is a big part of what we’re doing at iO Energy; energy is quite complicated, and you can take advantage of cheap energy if you are smart about how you use it.”

Morris and Morton are co-founders of energy retailer and “disrupter” iO Energy whose self-described mission is to ‘accelerate humanity’s zero carbon by maximising the use of affordable clean electricity’.

Launched in September 2020, iO Energy encourages customers to use more renewable power by offering radically low daytime rates (8c/kWh for homes and 20c/kWh for small businesses) when renewables are at their most abundant – in the middle of the day.

“The SA grid is, on average, 95 per cent renewable at midday yet only half that at 7pm, so it makes sense to try and use your energy when it is at its cheapest,” Morris says.

“We have a software solution that can analyse a customers’ existing billing data, and their smart meter data, to provide valuable insights into consumption and estimated savings by switching retail plans.

“We can use that software to also recommend optimal sizing of solar and battery systems and help them understand how they can optimise consumption – for example heating hot water or charging their electric vehicle in the daytime.

“At a business level, we use all our customers’ data along with our machine learning model to forecast our future energy needs, so we can enter into power purchase agreements with renewable energy generators that suit the future energy needs of our customers.”

The company has more than 1000 customers, is adding 50 customers a week and in January 2023 made a major foray into local government recruiting three metropolitan South Australian councils.

The company has had two capital raises (approx. $650,000 in March 2021 and $500,000 in June 2023) and is aiming to expand into Victoria by the end of the year.

“Going into the future we’re going to have more extreme climate events, pricing of electricity is going to change, so you will benefit by exercising a little bit of foresight about how you build a home and renovate a home, too,” Morton says.

Enter Marco Salinas whose passion is helping to build more energy efficient homes. In fact, he was involved in delivering and powering Australia’s first and only 10-star house in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs – which is powered by iO Energy.

Energy efficient 10 Star Home.
Photo credit: JB Media.

Mr Salinas is CEO of Hubble proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning platform that can predict the energy-efficiency potential of a house at any construction stage with up to 99% accuracy.

Architects and builders can input building designs into Hubble’s tech – including information such as materials, floor space, building orientation – to generate an energy efficiency score and comfort score and estimated bill savings.

“Energy rating is highly complicated, many people have no idea what it means,” Mr Salinas says. “We want a world where everyone knows the benefits, empowering homeowners to optimise home comfort and energy costs.”

Mr Salinas co-founded Hubble with Jim Woolcock in 2020, noticing a “huge gap” in the market for software that would accurately determine a property’s energy efficiency at the design stage.

A dozen builders nationally are either using or trialling Hubble which is also used by nation-leading product manufacturers, such as window and insulation providers, to help amplify the energy-saving potential of their products to industry.

Hubble is aiming to deliver a consumer-facing version next year, building on a pilot program – My Cool Home – recently run in conjunction with the AdaptWest Regional Climate Partnership that supports climate adaptation across Charles Sturt, West Torrens and Port Adelaide Enfield councils in Adelaide’s western suburbs.

My Cool Home is a free online sustainability assessment tool letting the councils’ residents generate an energy-efficiency score for their property – and discover changes that could improve their building’s thermal performance and energy use.

“The response has been amazing, in the first 12 months since its launch in March 2022 it logged over 10,000 interactions and the tool is being enhanced with a greenery/gardening section,” Mr Salinas says.

“Additional councils have expressed interest in adopting My Cool Home for their community.

“One of the issues is that sustainability is viewed as a premium, something you have to pay extra for, when it’s actually not the case…on the contrary it’s just about being empowered with the right tools to build knowledge, and that’s where are trying to help.”

Hubble is undertaking a capital raise seeking $600,000 to expand its B2B offering further whilst developing a consumer platform that any homeowner can use.


Read more stories like this on Issue_02 of Lot Fourteen’s Boundless Magazine

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