HubControls: Pioneering Energy Justice with Smart Savings and Inclusive Technologies

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Hub Controls TechZone360 Christina Energy Justice 03 02 2024

Originally published on TechZone 360

Energy conservation efforts are ramping up, with “net-zero” energy goals becoming a decisive challenge for governments aiming to address the severity of the innumerable environmental pressures. The increasing awareness of climate change and ever-growing energy prices has driven the global net-zero energy buildings market size to boom, reaching $34.6 billion in 2023 with an expected growth rate of 21.5% during 2024-2032.

While the market booms and the promises of large-scale initiatives seem to have begun taking effect, there are still myriad problems to address when confronting the global inequity of energy distribution.

“Against the backdrop of the climate and economic crises, the most detrimentally affected are low-income communities entirely without or with limited access to electricity while suffering from poverty and pollution,” said Christina Domecq, long-time climate activist and global Managing Director of Hub Controls, a disrupter in the intelligent thermostat industry working with energy providers, public housing authorities, building owners and operators and others to reduce carbon emissions while saving money and making affordable energy accessible to all.

 “These members of society use significantly less energy per person but pay a considerably higher amount of their overall income on energy, often because of inefficient frameworks within their housing, which we are now actively changing,” said Domecq.

In the U.S., many of these households are ill-equipped to face the mounting energy prices and government policies, with a SEEA report stating that 52% of owner-occupied homes were built before the ’80s, a number that rises to 64% for renter-occupied homes. A considerable degree of these homes, especially in areas with a history of racial segregation, are not fitted with up-to-date appliances or were built before current energy codes were standardized. This is the case for 53% of all homes in the American South, meaning there were no minimum acceptable standards for builders to reach concerning comfort and efficiency.

In response, the Biden-Harris government has promised transformation, instigating hundreds of Federal programs across their government with energy justice at the heart of decision-making, an attempt to ensure that these disadvantaged communities receive the benefits of energy reform equally. 

“This clean energy transition presents an incredible opportunity to address the inequalities embedded throughout society,” Domecq explained. “However, manifesting this throughout society is a difficult task that must be considered carefully, especially when we consider decades, if not centuries, of ignoring the most vulnerable. When we have the opportunity and technology to make life better for all while making energy providers, public housing agencies, building owners, and managers more efficient and profitable, we must move forward and move forward steadily – and we are.” 

Developed by innovators at HubControls, the HubBrain is a solution that currently provides average savings of 33% to its 12,000 users with installments working concurrently across Europe, Binghamton, and Buffalo. 

The self-learning HubBrain tracks various key variables through data provided via either the HubPro, HubLite, or HubRelay: A selection of smart thermostats that can be installed throughout any building, upgrading or entirely replacing the pre-existing thermostats in these commercial or residential areas. 

With access to millions of data points, the HubBrain aggregates the accumulated information from the thermostats to identify scenarios in which energy could be saved. As a tried and tested management solution, the Hub Controller system is capable of providing actionable data-driven insights to reduce energy consumption. All of this is viewable from either the system dashboard or phone app, where users are also equipped with a variety of flexible parameters that allow each individual Hub Controller to be customized. HubControls solution continues to provide value to its current users through multiple considerable benefits, including:

  • Average savings of $64/month, a number far exceeding the $20/month cost to provide immediate ROI
  • HVAC costs reduced by 36%
  • A trial period of 60 days on properties; if value is not proved at a minimum of 15%, all fitted HubControls devices are removed free of charge at the end of this period

“As we come together in the business community to reach net zero, resource strain is guaranteed to hit vulnerable households, which will be further affected by the cold winter months, making heating necessary,” Domecq said. “Retrofitting homes is a minimal-cost solution that can allow for low-income communities to adhere to stricter energy requirements without taking up an even larger amount of their revenue through energy inflation. Now that we’ve figured out the hardware, software, connected systems, AI, and machine learning, and we have successfully implemented early trials, not only are we ready to scale to bring this to all communities across the U.S. – and the world – we must. This is a social and moral obligation.”