Interviewee: Tienyu Sieh, Co-Founder of Green Hedgehog Solutions and Founder of Blue Sky Energy Efficiency Asia

Interviewer: Ana Gomes, Vulpes Corporate Communications

Recorded: Friday, 9th of June 2023

1. How do you determine which energy-efficient upgrades to recommend to building owners?

We are technology and product agnostic. We look at anything and everything that can be improved. We’re not coming at it from an equipment supplier’s perspective or a software supplier’s perspective. We’re coming at it from the owner’s perspective and saying, “What and where are the opportunities?” We’re completely open and take a completely holistic approach to identifying how to make a building more efficient. We rely on different technical partners, such as equipment suppliers, engineering consultants, and the building’s facility management team. Our additional layer is to translate that into an economically viable opportunity and to manage that risk. We identify opportunities through partnerships and then add to that to make it happen.

2. What parameters go into your assessment?

The first and most important parameter is that the savings have to be measurable. We’re not talking about “feel good” savings. We’re talking about actual savings that can be measured and verified from an engineering perspective. That’s the most important. We need to baseline the existing conditions and measure the savings that have been delivered by the projects that we support.

3. How do you ensure that the energy savings generated are accurately measured and verified?

There’s a common practice called IPMVP[1], which is an international protocol recognized and accepted by the professional engineering bodies that work in this space. They have a set of protocols to determine what the baseline is and how to measure the savings. They’ve applied this many times in many different circumstances and updated those protocols to reflect their experiences. We adopt best practices.

4. Have you encountered any operational challenges in your past projects?

Every building is unique, and so there are always challenges. We’re not trying to solve the engineering challenges at our level. We rely on our engineering partners to come to us and say that they have a reliable operational solution. Where we focus on is debugging the financial and risk aspects of these projects to make sure that they can fit with the owner or the operator’s requirements and to ensure that the funding is not an obstacle.

5. How are you able to keep up to date with all the latest innovation and technical developments?

Our priority is not necessarily to be at the bleeding edge of technology, but rather a fast follower. We’re not here to fund experimental technologies that haven’t been proven or that don’t have a track record. We’re relatively risk averse in terms of trying to implement solutions that not only we feel comfortable with, but we want our building owner, our building operators to be extra comfortable with. They’re not guinea pigs in any respect.  We work with technical partners who have a strong track record and rely on them to do good work.

We work with companies that have a blue-chip track record with blue-chip customers and apply that to our clients. Sometimes the opportunity simply lies in the fact that some of our clients might not want to engage what they see as overkill engineering resources to solve a problem. But we’re here to make sure that the risk is taken off the table, and we can incorporate those costs into our assessment to say, “Look, it may cost a little bit more, but the value they bring is quantifiable and worth it.”