3 business opportunities in the booming world of smart cities

Entrepreneurs are making cities smarter and more sustainable, and there is still time for more founders to get into this very important work.

That was the message delivered by panelists during a session on smart cities – those that seek sustainability and security through modern technology – at CES last week. The founders and experts spoke about how cities are positioned for a greener and safer future, and opportunities for enterprising businesses that can help drive this change.

Here are three of the biggest opportunities for business owners mentioned during the conversation.

1. Residential energy storage

Companies that develop and renovate homes to store energy will have great opportunities in the years to come. According to Alex Bazhinov, founder and CEO of home energy company Lumin, there is a growing need for various forms of residential green technology, including solar installers, battery makers, and AI platforms that optimize energy consumption. energy. Bazhinov sees potential especially in platforms that can make these various technologies work together, allowing homes to collect energy, harvest it, and use it most efficiently.

The fact that it enjoys support at the local and federal levels adds to the appeal of this space. A recently signed bill in California, for example, requires almost all new homes to be built with solar panels. And the Build Back Better plan in limbo provides tax refunds of up to $ 8,000 for renovations that electrify homes and make them more energy efficient.

2. The mini electric grid

Power plants and other centralized energy sources, even sustainable ones, are subject to large-scale disruption. Smart and localized power grids will allow homes to be more sustainable and resilient in the future, Bazhinov says.

Bazhinov says that in his home state of Virginia, a snowstorm earlier this month cut power to 40 homes in his community. Some have been able to stay operational, including their Christmas lights, thanks to the energy stored from solar power and household batteries. Others remained in the dark for more than five days.

“Combined, our neighborhood has sufficient production capacity to run the 40 houses,” Bazhinov explains. “So if our neighborhood could come together in the network and we could all do transactions with each other, this is our smart city. ”

In the near future, more communities may depend on local energy sources, such as solar farms that power small communities instead of large geographic areas. And although only about half of the states in the United States currently allow homes to sell energy, that number is expected to increase as home energy storage becomes more common. This could mean opportunities for space companies, whether it’s building local energy sources or platforms for energy transactions.

3. Water efficiency

Drought conditions across the west coast in recent years have made fresh water a hot commodity. This introduced the need for companies to find innovative ways to reuse water, says Fernando Ramirez, managing director of the Netherlands-based water recycling company Hydraloop Systems. He points out that by 2030, it is estimated that 60 percent of the world’s population will live in major metropolitan areas. “The infrastructure will be challenged,” says Ramirez. “This is questioned today, but the increase in population will require that the emphasis on technology becomes more important.”

Hydraloop creates a technology-based system to collect gray water – which comes from showers, dishwashers and washing machines – and disinfect it for reuse in toilets or irrigation systems. The company entered the US market in 2021, as regions in drought-prone areas began to relax their regulations on water reuse. Phoenix recently began allowing residential homes to reuse greywater, and Florida has started allowing its use for irrigation. San Francisco now requires all new buildings 250,000 square feet or larger to have water reclamation systems.

As laws become more relaxed, technology like Hydraloop’s can help relieve stress on local infrastructure and save businesses like hotels, gyms and hospitals on their water bills, while doing good to the environment.

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