Roberto Blanco
Director General
Hatzo Sustainable Cities
View from the Top

Millennials More Interested in Energy Efficiency

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 16:17

Q: How does Hatzo Sustainable Cities enable sustainability in urban centers?

A: Hatzo Sustainable Cities provides resources for mapping major urban hubs in the US and Mexico, enabling people to take control of their consumption and benchmark it against their neighbors. We have already mapped more than 30 urban regions in Mexico. With our system, users can consult the average consumption in their postal code, comparing their performance with that of people in similar socio-economic conditions. Our business model is based on social networks so it depends highly on increasing the number of users. The goal of our digital platform is to connect users willing to use technology to help them reduce their energy and water usage. We want to provide business opportunities for distributors and installers of solar panels and water heaters, enabling them to expand their business reach. We also see a great opportunity for providers of energy and water efficiency solutions to grow their clients’ portfolio through our platform. Increasing public awareness will definitely be a challenge in the coming years. We are in the middle of a generational change. Millennials are more interested in digital platforms and sustainability issues, so we target this segment and use our network as a tool to encourage ownership of their local environment. We are also working to have more governmental support, particularly from municipal entities. Mexico has taken an aggressive approach regarding its climate change strategy, setting ambitious GHG emissions reduction and clean energy goals, but we still need institutional involvement.

Q: How can Mexican sustainable companies benefit from joining Hatzo Sustainable Cities?

A: Gaining access to a wide network of potential clients is one of the main advantages that sustainable companies can get from our platform. Increasing our number of users is then fundamental to provide attractive business opportunities for our commercial partners. In addition to scale, we offer a selected audience that is already interested in sustainability issues, increasing the potential to have them as new clients. We will enable contact between users and companies through a customized list of recommendations and charge a small fee for every transaction done through our platform, just like on websites like Amazon. This represents a revenue stream for Hatzo Sustainable Cities.

Q: What other parameters do you monitor besides electricity consumption?

A: We saw an interesting opportunity in providing information about water and natural gas consumption, in addition to electricity, because they are critical to a city’s sustainability. Water is a crucial example of how urban hubs can impact another region’s resources, motivating us to include it in our platform’s layout. Considering climate change mitigation and adaptation, we decided to incorporate a GHG emissions tracker, providing users with a general overview of their carbon footprint. We are analyzing the possibility of adding an option for tracking gasoline and other fuel consumption but in the short term we will stick to our four key parameters: electricity, natural gas, water and CO2 emissions.

Q: How do you deal with privacy issues and information veracity, both typical concerns for digital platforms?

A: We use three main strategies to ensure data privacy and veracity. Firstly, we compare all received data with the baseline set for our targeted regions, which is based on previous estimates and analyze out-of-trend responses, allowing us to detect misleading information. Secondly, we benchmark the new profiles with already accepted data, giving us the tools to decide whether or not it should be published on the website. Finally, we compare questionable data with CFE’s records, following a similar process to solar PV leasing companies. Regarding privacy, we do not require customers to publish their personal data if they prefer not to. They can use a nickname to participate actively on the website. Privacy is also the reason we provide comparative data for postal codes instead of city blocks.