We caught up with one of our recent Green Tech South West speakers ahead of the event: Mauro Fazion, Founder and Head of Research at SuSy Research Ltd. Mauro took the virtual stage at our Green Tech SW meetup on Thursday, July 23rd at 12.30 pm and talked about a new app under development called SuSy Checker, which analyses building sustainability.
What does the SuSy Checker aim to do?
Mauro: We are creating SuSy Checker to be “The Building Fitness app”. Buildings are live systems, so they have health and fitness, which are intertwined. To have good health they must have a good structure, good materials, strong basement, equilibrium. To be alive, they have to perform, and then comes energy, water and air in a dynamical process, a process that is continuous and depends on dozens of variables. SuSy Checker is all about “Sustainable Systems”, and from here came its name, Su-Sy.
SuSy Checker focuses on building fitness, measuring and simulating the building performance, showing how to improve its fitness with new methods, technologies and practical ideas for daily use.
SuSy works like this: it looks at a building on a map and does a diagnosis of its “fitness”, considering tons of data. If you go to your building and start to refine the diagnosis with specific information, like the number of residents, the exact kwh consumed every month and so on, SuSy Checker will then give you better and better reports – it will be your exclusive fitness app dashboard.
Our dream? Help every single building in the world to be self-sufficient in energy and water.
How did you come up with the idea to develop the product?
Mauro: One day in 2018 I was running with some friends in Ashton Court, and when we saw the city down in the valley I asked them:
“Guys, what if I could tell you how much energy each of those houses could save, and even generate themselves, just by looking on a map? Like, click on a house and, like a magic trick, a sustainability number pops up?”
My friends told me it would be amazing, but not possible. Too many variables, too many tech difficulties, too many datasets, every building is different, users just want to pay cheaper bills, they will not pay attention, etc, etc.
Well, I said, we can overcome the tech issues, we can create algorithms to collect and compile data, then simulate and estimate good suggestions for each household. We can do this for any building in the world actually, no matter where. Perhaps a lot of end-users will have no interest in this, but if just a small percentage come across? These users will be empowered and they will be much more confident on how to improve their properties, they will be much more confident on which kind of service providers they will call, they will save money and could even sell energy.
They told me, Mauro, this looks awesome, but it´s not a business because you said it will be free for houses. However, my theories show me that evolution comes from the bottom, it´s a bottom-up process. If houses start to analyse their performances with our Checker, more and more service providers will have an interest in our results and to be in touch with those houses. They will have to pay to be in, to be certified as good subcontractors, and everything else.
Well, this was 2018 and a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Now COVID 19 shows that houses had a huge increase in energy consumption during the pandemic, home-office is now normal and users will have to pay their expensive bills. The government launched a Green House scheme to improve energy efficiency, but, where and who are the reliable builders and installers to do the services? And, how will a homeowner know what is or isn´t really good to do?
SuSy Checker can empower the users with a tailor-made dashboard for each building, tons of knowledge and tools.
What stage are you at with developing and potentially releasing SuSy Checker?
Mauro: We started to work with the SuSy Checker project in 2019, creating the first models, diagrams and algorithms, testing datasets and so on. But this is not where it began. We have been working in construction and building automation for a long time. We’ve been creating new technologies for energy efficiency since the 2000s, constructing mission-critical buildings like data centres and control centres. In 2010 I launched a cutting-edge data centre automation software, developed from scratch, which monitors and controls every single detail of a mission-critical building, like temperature, humidity, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, assets management, airflow, insulation, electrical energy generation, etc.
SuSy Checker took this huge experience to go a step further, and now we are in the proof-of-concept stage. We built a prototype to test datasets collection and indicators calculation. The prototype is working very well, and every week we are creating more features to test. The next stage is the development of a pilot, and then a first Beta Version is expected for June 2021. The moment to go-to-market depends on investment to accelerate it, and that is what we are looking for right now.
What are your hopes for SuSy Checker and how could it positively impact tackling the climate crisis?
Mauro: As I said before, I believe in bottom-up processes. My hope is that individuals come to use SuSy Checker as their own building dashboards, that is, using it as the real building fitness app for the whole life of a building, measuring and analysing the daily behaviour of their building to improve them as they wish. If this happens, energy naturally will be more efficient, energy generation will be downgraded to the building units, and this implies in renewables and new green-technologies.
It is good to remember that SuSy Checker also checks water usage and how to improve it considering rainfall and related water-technologies. There is a wellbeing indicator as well because SuSy analyses green areas, traffic, pollution and other data nearby the house, to show a “house wellbeing indicator”. My belief is, empowering the house-user with knowledge and tools is key to tackle the climate crisis – because the solution is in the hands of individuals, not in the hands of corporations, manufacturers or governments.
Thank you, Mauro, for the chat.