On Monday, Switzerland’s renewable energy provider IWB embarked on a new initiative to raise energy efficiency awareness in the home. In partnership with Mila, IWB launched “IWB Friends,” an online marketplace where IWB customers can find neighbourhood energy experts who will come to their homes to advise them on energy efficiency and install the right equipment. For example, customers might find they can save more money with a smart thermostat that they can control through their mobile phones. An energy adviser can advise customers on the various models on the market and install it.
We spoke with Marcel Sutter, IWB’s head of strategy development who will be overseeing IWB Friends to get more details about the initiative:
Who are the IWB Friends and what can your customers expect from the service?
IWB Friends are people who have a broad knowledge about energy and energy efficiency and are happy to share this in their neighborhood. Our customers who are looking for individual advice on how to be more energy-efficient at home can find the necessary support from an IWB friend directly from the neighborhood on Mila’s platform. For example, they might want to know what are the most efficient light sources, or what smart thermostats are now available and how can they install these. IWB friends will even be able to help with the installation.
Why do we need IWB Friends?
Today, in our society, the need to be energy-efficient and to conserve energy receives a lot of attention. But what we have also noticed with our customers is that their knowledge about energy efficiency can vary widely. Some already know a great deal while other do not know even the basic ideas. These two groups of customers can both be served on the Mila platform. We want to try new ways to increase the energy efficiency of our customers.
To what extent can customers’ awareness be raised when it comes to energy efficiency?
IWB already offers cutting-edge energy services and energy solutions. Amazingly, we’ve found that much can be achieved by offering simple advice in a private setting. With a personal conversation at home, practical and concrete advice and information can be given to increase energy efficiency or efficient heating. Customers not only save energy, but they can also save on costs. For example, a household’s power consumption can be reduced significantly with the use of energy efficient light bulbs.
Do you think other energy companies will want to connect their customers?
You’ll have to ask other energy companies. At IWB we want to try out innovative ways to bring energy efficiency into the living room of our customers. We are happy to have pioneered and tested this multi-month pilot project with Mila to help bring neighborhood support for energy issues.