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DataCity: the startup eGreen and SUEZ experiment with a view to changing water and energy consumption behaviour


In October 2015, the City of Paris, the startup accelerator NUMA, and several large corporations (VINCI Énergies, Nexity, Setec, Cisco and SUEZ) kicked off an ambitious open innovation programme: DataCity. The aim? To select and support startups dedicated to solutions for the city of tomorrow. We spoke with Vincent Lenouvel, an engineer in SUEZ’s consulting business, about this collaborative experience between a startup and large manufacturers that ended on Monday, 13 June, on PitchDay.

Extract from

DataCity: a programme dedicated to intelligent and sustainable cities

Initiated by the City of Paris, the purpose of the DataCity programme is to bring together leading companies in sectors relating to the smart city and startups in order to solve the challenges of the city of tomorrow with data. In January, 200 startups applied to this programme, coordinated by the startup accelerator NUMA, in order to receive three months of customized support to optimize and test their innovative solutions. Only five companies were retained.
13 June was PitchDay, an evening when each of the five startups and the industrial partners providing their support since March had the opportunity to go over the details of their collaboration and the solutions they had been developing since February.

Working in pairs, the startups and their partners pooled their expertise to conduct tests and experiments to resolve specific issues such as how to improve local travel, how to make buildings smarter, how to envision the public spaces of tomorrow, and how to modify energy consumption behaviours. All of these questions are fundamental in order to make the city of tomorrow sustainable.

Focus on the collaboration between eGreen and SUEZ

eGreen was one of the five startups selected for the programme. Co-headed by two young engineers, Jérémie Jean and Irwin Lourtet, it developed a web platform designed for users and allowing them to monitor the reduction of their energy and water costs through entertaining and socially-oriented features. The platform is powered by sensors that measure the various consumptions in real time.
Throughout the DataCity programme, it was supported by SUEZ to continuously iterate ideas for improving its solution.
“With eGreen currently deploying its solution for consumers, the challenge with SUEZ was to envision a proof of concept for a tertiary site: in offices, there is no financial incentive to save energy and little motivation, explains Vincent Lenouvel, so it was important to compensate with other means to modify behaviours and practices.” .

At the two-week bootcamp* organized at NUMA, eGreen and SUEZ thought together about how to test this solution on a tertiary site: the headquarters of SUEZ’s Consulting business in Nanterre, with its 250 employees, emerged as a field for experimentation. eGreen and SUEZ focused on three areas: how to equip the site with the sensors required to monitor the various consumption flows? What kinds of games could be imagined to motivate employees to become players in consumption reduction? And what internal communication plan should be deployed to launch the experiment?

The eGreen solution was deployed in SUEZ’s Nanterre building for three weeks, with promising results:
– a 7% decrease in water consumption
– a 42% decrease in heating consumption (adjusted for weather contingencies)
– 81% of SUEZ employees responding to a post-experiment survey stated that this experiment was useful for reducing the building’s energy and water consumption.

After this first experiment at SUEZ, eGreen prolonged its test phase by deploying on the site of Nexity, another partner of the DataCity programme.

For SUEZ, this collaboration was an opportunity to focus on a key issue: what is the user’s role in a smart and sustainable city? “Getting users involved in reducing energy and water consumption through real-time data is a step away from a technical vision of the smart city and toward a human-oriented approach” explains Vincent Lenouvel.

While PitchDay signalled the end of the DataCity programme, these joint projects have a future. The City of Paris is already thinking about new editions of this acceleration programme, and SUEZ and eGreen are thinking about the establishment of a lasting partnership!

* Bootcamp: two-week acceleration programme designed to promote effective collaboration between startups and large corporations. The company is the leader of an experimentation project conducted with the startup.

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