"The best way to save energy? Stop wasting it."
Bernard Emby knew that the economic growth in Asia was fuelled by switching over from an agrarian society to an economy with knowledge workers. That rise in productivity was directly dependent on comfortable indoor work environments. And that requires plenty of air conditioning.
Bernard could see that just building more power plants was not a responsible answer. His knowledge of electrical systems in homes and office buildings came from years of working on lighting conservation controls with Clipsal. That’s why he also knew that lighting alone was not the key to reducing power demand.
The Real Climate Change Culprit
“The problem, especially in tropical climates,” Bernard says, “is that lighting consumes just 7% of a home or office’s electricity - a fraction of the 45.78% that air conditioning gobbles up.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to indoor cooling, the public had come to believe that you can have one or the other - comfort or conservation.
Bernard just couldn’t accept that. He was already imagining intelligent designs that would give growing urban populations the modern AC they yearned for – while still reducing power consumption.
The Looming Impact of Growth
Further motivating him was the effect of economic growth he could see on the horizon.
He knew that the growing population in SE Asia creates a certain demand for new power plants. But in addition to that general, predictable growth, it’s estimated that the equivalent of more than 50 new power plants are required JUST to service the growth in AC demand.
Those new generating plants are powered by fossil fuels, in particular coal. That means more CO2 and even more rapid climate change.
A Co-Champion in the Cause
He started with advanced power strips and home energy monitors, forming Tricklestar to produce smart energy saving technologies. That’s what got the attention of Zernet Co-Founder, N. Gunananthan or “Guna,” the author of Energy Revolution: Evolution or the End of Humanity?
“I met Bernard while our young daughters were playing soccer together,” Guna remembers with a smile. “We both shared our concern about the condition of the planet our children would inherit. A bond was formed instantly.”
Many late night conversations soon made it evident that together they would roll up their sleeves, lock arms, and tackle the biggest conservation opportunity facing society: air conditioning. That’s when Zernet was born.
Smart AC for the Rest of Us
“How often,” asks Guna, “do you see office workers bundled up in heavy coats just so they can stay comfortable enough to work? And many rooms are kept cold even when nobody is there!”
To address this, big manufacturers in the heating and cooling industry developed conservation technologies, mostly to help large companies reduce costs. The challenge: these are only designed for large office towers with central cooling systems.
“That may be a good solution in Europe or North America,” says Guna. “But in Asia about 70% of indoor spaces are cooled by wall mount split-system air-conditioning units designed for individual rooms. The big industry players don’t solve that.
But now we have an answer for the rest of us!”
IoT to the Rescue
Zernet provides individual users even more control and comfort features than anything offered to high-rise commercial spaces. More importantly, users enjoy real-time data on usage levels and savings for every unit so they know where to conserve.
“Controlling your AC from anywhere was something that we couldn’t address until recently,” Bernard relates. “It wasn’t until we finally witnessed the convergence of certain enabling technologies.” These include:
1. Penetration of Internet into homes.
2. WiFi as a widely accepted standard in society
3. The public’s adoption of and familiarity with smartphones
4. Expansion of the mobile internet.
These four advances have enabled the internet of “things” (the IoT) to take form and drive down the cost of rolling out smart technologies.
“Until now,” says Bernard, “reducing your AC usage required being within sight of the unit and frequently thinking about which settings to adjust using the remote. The IoT changes all that, and today most households already have everything needed to radically reduce their AC power consumption yet still remain comfortable.”
The Executive Team
• A seasoned entrepreneur, financial and operations professional
• Experienced in financial management
• A highly experienced entrepreneur and electrical industry expert with over 20 years experience
• A leader in energy efficiency products for the utility and consumer industries
Chief Intellectual Property Advisor to the Board
• One of the leading intellectual property practitioners in asia pacific with over 20 years experience in patents and intellectual property strategy