Claudio Figuerola won a contest for solutions for energy efficiency with a video of his project, even though the prototype was not finished
By gabriela ensinck
03/09/2022 – 08:32 a.m.
Few users are aware of the energy consumption of every appliance in your home, and unaware that simple steps like unplugging devices when not in use lead to significant savings. When this is transferred to companies, the inefficiency in the energy use it can lead to loss of profitability or -in some cases- to the payment of fines and surcharges.
This problem was on Claudio Figuerola’s head in the summer of 2016, in the middle of a energy crisis with service cuts and announcements of upcoming tariffs. As a systems engineer and entrepreneur, he began to investigate the subject, and together with the designer Gabriel Cacosso, they made a video and sent it to CAME entrepreneur contest (the Confederation of Medium Enterprises).
They were winners in that year’s edition in the “solutions for energy efficiency” category. And along with the award, questions and requests began to arrive from users and companies, both from the country and abroad.
Claudio Figueroa, CEO of Wabee
Figuerola spoke with Diego Fontdevila and Sergio Romano, his partners at Grupo Esfera, the software developer they had founded in 2004, and decided to open a new business unit called wabeeDedicated to energy efficiency.
Thus they were polishing an mvp (minimum viable product) and began to market it in two versions, one home and another commercial and industrial. The system does not replace the electric meter of the electricity distributors, but it provides the user with relevant information to save on your consumption.
Claudio Figuerola created a system that allows knowing energy consumption and saving on electricity bills
internet of things
The solution of wabee consists of a IoT device (internet of things) that is installed inside any electrical panel and has the size and appearance of a router. “Using a Wi-Fi connection, it collects and sends parameter data and electrical consumption to the cloudwhere they are processed, identifying patterns and those systems and devices with higher consumption in organizations and buildings,” explains Figuerola.
The data can be seen in the form of graphs on the screen of the computer or cell phone, and in the event that a device is consuming more energy than stipulated (an appliance or a machine that was left on although it is not in use), they are triggered alerts.
Based on the data, indicators are created for each client or establishment, recording consumption per square meter and number of people. “Thus, in some companies we detected that the energy demand remained high during non-operational hours and days. This is generally due to certain practices such as leaving computers, lights and air conditioning systems on even when no one is using them,” says Figuerola.
“It is important make energy consumption visibleto start saving and being more efficient, especially in the current context of energy crisis and climate”, highlights the entrepreneur. In Argentina, the Energy represents 53% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study by the Argentine Chamber of Renewable Energies (CADER).
The device connects to the Wi-Fi network and allows you to analyze the energy consumption of the devices that are used
How much is the Wabee device that saves energy
The cost of the device for businesses and industries is about $450plus a maintenance fee, depending on the number of employees or users. “It is an investment that is repaid from the utility bill savings“, highlights the founder of Wabee.
“Many industries hire the service to measure your carbon footprintand from this we are developing water and gas consumption meters, based on the Internet of Things”, he says.
One of its first international clients was a Peruvian chain of pharmacies, which uses the solution to manage electricity consumption in its branches. The startup also has clients in Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Mexico and a hotel on the Honduran island of Roatán.
“We are thinking open a subsidiary in Uruguay, since international payments are complicated from here,” admits the entrepreneur. “We import components to assemble the devices here and export our value-added solutions,” he highlights.
Currently, 25% of company income come from foreign clients, and this year they plan grow in service exports up to 50%.