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Read more about the Better Futures project, including articles and blogs about London's CleanTech industry (businesses that are helping to address climate change).

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A Better Futures-backed business which helps homeowners increase their energy efficiency, cut their carbon footprint and reduce their bills has been approved by Ofgem.

The AirEx ‘smart brick’ technology has been officially recognised as one of five innovative energy efficiency system providers under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) scheme.

ECO3 is a government initiative that places legal obligations on large energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency and heating measures to homes across the UK. 

As part of the scheme, AirEx will be deployed on a large-scale pilot in partnership with EDF Energy, with delivery partners Bill Save UK and Build Test Solutions. 

Once complete, the AirEx product will receive a ‘deemed score’ based on the pilot results, which will then determine the value of ECO subsidy available for each home. 

Independent validation suggests that the ECO subsidy will fully cover the cost of the product and cost of installation, making it effectively free to the end user: social housing tenants and private homeowners. 

The recognition is potentially a gamechanger for the London startup which will mean its IoT-enabled smart ventilation control system – aka the smart brick - could soon be in millions of homes across the UK.

AirEx co-founder Agnes Czako said she was thrilled that the company had received the Ofgem recognition.
She said: “We are really excited to be one of the pioneer innovations on the ECO3 programme. We continue to work with Ofgem, energy companies and installers to deploy this solution in millions of UK homes, fighting fuel poverty and climate change.”

The AirEx team has developed an innovative ‘intelligent air-brick’ system, which uses sensors and smart algorithms to selectively open and shut air vents, resulting in 10-20% reduction on household energy bills.  

The system is passive, does not require electrically qualified installers, and pays back in 2-3 years through reduced energy bills.



A Better Futures-backed business that teaches people how to build their own electricity supplies is planning to expand its service in Zambia.

The Local Electricity Project, which supports people in developing nations to engineer simple yet profound solutions to power generation, wants to set up a permanent educational space in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka.

The plan is to use the space to teach 350 post-secondary school students the essentials of electronics and programming needed to build an electricity supply in their own communities. 

The LEP team are looking to raise £45,000 via a crowdfunding campaign to kick start the expansion because they believe their solution is one of the most sustainable ways to improve access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

LEP Founder Samson Sahmland-Bowling encouraged anyone who had an interest in ending energy inequality to get involved.

He said: “We have spent the last two years working with young people in Zambia and Tanzania to build electricity supplies and now we want to make this available to far more young people in Zambia.

“Any donation that you make will allow us to offer scholarships to young women and men from rural areas of Zambia where only 5% of people have access to electricity.

“There is something incredibly empowering about giving people the knowledge and the skills to build their own electricity generating solutions. It means they become truly self-sufficient – if anything breaks, they can fix it themselves. The power stays in their community.”

The LEP sells an educational kit which gives young people everything they need to create new ways of generating electricity using local resources.

The kit includes simple electronic circuit boards that can convert energy into electricity generated by technologies such as basic wind turbines made from automotive parts and old guttering. To support the crowdfunding campaign go to The campaign closes on July 15 and has already raised £11,000.

UPDATE: On 15 July 2019, The LEP closed thier crowdfunding campaign, having successfully reached thier funding target.

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Previous articles

​​​​​​A better future for CleanTech - Richard Templer, Director of Innovation for the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, discusses the need to boost CleanTech innovation.

Why work with universities? - Alistair McDermott, CEO at Imperial Consultants, delves into the benefits of using University expertise.

Investing in tomorrow's sustainability companies today -  John Steedman, Associate Partner at Greenbackers Investment Capital Limited, talks about spotting the sustainability companies of tomorrow.

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