The Social Innovation Podcast had a great chat with Brice Degeytar the founder of Bizsu which has set an impressive goal of reducing 1 million tons of CO2 by 2027. They intend to do this by helping businesses reduce the energy required to cool buildings and offices.
We discussed everything related to air-con and cooling and just how big an impact this has especially in Asia. Brice has a tool that any building can easily deploy on existing systems to reduce the energy requirements to cool any property.
Some of the topics Brice covered:
  • Bizsu’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 1 million tonnes
  • Opening his eyes to the waste around the world
  • Building and implementing easy-to-deploy solutions
  • The change in global heating and cooling needs
  • Learning lessons from the past and from nature
  • The power of an idea to push a company
Some other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. We Have to Show the Positive Effects
  2. Bring the Message in a Positive Way
  3. I Will Help Companies Consume Less Energy
This episode was guest-hosted again by Zal Dastur. Zal, has been an entrepreneur for the last 14 years and has turned his attention to helping solve the climate crisis in the best way he knows, helping for-planet businesses develop and grow. As an active advisor and investor, Zal has impacted dozens of companies in the climate space helping them to reach their potential to do the maximum good for the planet.

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Zal: Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Social Innovation podcast. My name is Zal Dastur, and I’m your host. I’m here with Brice Degeyter, who is the founder of Bizsu, an interesting company, which has a goal of helping their clients to reduce 1 million tons of co2 by 2027. Hi Brice, welcome to the show.

Brice: Hi, thanks a lot. Thanks for having me.

Zal: So Brice, that’s a really great challenge that you’ve set yourself and your company, well, can you tell us a little bit about what your company does to begin with, and then we can get into a little bit more about the challenge.

Brice: So basically, our goal is to help as many companies as possible to reduce as much co2 emissions as possible. And so saving 1 million tons of co2 by 2027. It’s one big milestone that we have. And basically, what we do specifically is that we provide a solution for air conditioning. And when this solution, we can save 25%, saving on any type of air conditioning, it’s a solution that requires no maintenance, you can use it infinitely, they will also improve the quality of the air in the room. So basically, it’s a fantastic solution, we sure have it everywhere. And we believe that hopefully one day, we could have it everywhere.

Zal: I mean, this sounds like a fantastic product, tell us a little bit more about how that product gets used or installed in these air conditioning units. And let’s say an office building or a commercial building.

Brice: It takes basically two minutes to install on average. So depending on the type of air conditioning, you have, we do it with with the table for clients. So we basically do the solution with our clients. Sometimes even our clients do it on their own, because this is very, very simple to install, all solution is in there. And you just plug on that close to your filters. Basically, you put on that according to the size of the filters. So we have one size of net 50 by 50 centimeters. If your filters is low and smaller than this, you cut on apps, and you adapted to the size. And if you need if you have a bigger size, then you plug several pieces. And basically you will really tailor made the solution the solution according to what you need, specifically, and the installation takes just a few minutes. So it’s very simple.

Zal: And what is it that these nets actually do that helps in terms of reducing the energy consumption?

Brice: So this is this is the bit more technical aspect, I will say. So it’s really based on physics, basically, all solution is based on a specific ceramic. And this specific ceramic will release specific info arrays, this specific info arrays, basically, when the water vehicles going out of the account will be in contact will with this info race, the water molecules of the icon will vibrate strongly and they will vibrate so much that they will actually break into smaller or tinier molecules, these tiny molecules will be spread out in the room much faster than what you’re used to. So this way, they will cool down the room much faster than what you’re used to. And so this way, we reach the desired temperature much faster than what we’re used to. Basically, if the temperature in a room is 30 degrees, and the thermostat is at 25, we will reach 25 degrees, much faster. And so we save a lot of energy this way. So at the beginning, we save a lot of energy. And throughout the day, I mean the same thing. As soon as the temperature goes up a little, then your aircon will run a little bit and we reach a desired temperature much faster. And so we save energy, okay. Right and so throughout the day we keep saving a little bit of energy. So basically very simply how the technology works.

Zal: I love this sort of technology because it’s technology that can be deployed in existing solutions is quite simple in terms of the installation process and can be used immediately to see the impact yourself. So I love this kind of tech. Was there a specific catalyst or something that got you to shift to into sustainability to for you to start this business?

Brice: So my background is not in sustainability. I studied finance So I started business, I had a first company, and I was working in sponsorship in football. So basically connecting big European clubs with big brands in Asia, there was nothing related to them. And, and basically, in 2016, I was walking in Thailand, and I just started to question myself about all the waste that you see there. Because basically over there, you see a lot of waste in Singapore, who isn’t always right and industry, but over there, it’s, it’s really prominent, you really see this. And I started to question myself, like, when I go down my condo, and I go by street food, and, and the food is packed into a plastic box, and then put it in the plastic bag. And then I order a lime juice, and it’s put in a plastic cup with a plastic handler, where all of this goes, at the end of the day, you know, you have your plastic bag. So it’s your it’s your bed, and it’s full of plastic. Right? Everything is transparent. And so you see where all this goes, literally. And I thought candidly that everything was recycled. And clearly it’s not. So in the world, we say that on average 9% Of all the plastics that has been created has been recycled. Only 9%. Recently, we a start or release about the US like only 5% of all the plastic consumed in the US has been recycled, we could think that in the developed countries, it’s actually better. Actually, no, it’s not in so basically, I was just questioning myself, like, oh, where all this solid waste goes. And all the other ways that we are creating, where does this go, all the energy that we consume, all the air conditioning that we use, what’s the real picture of all of this, and then I started to realize that actually, all consumption habits, very, very bad. And if we continue like this, we just, we’re just going through the wall. And that was 2016. So nobody talks about it in the media. Nobody, nobody was was speaking about climate change, about the environment, about our consumption habits. Now we see it more and more, but at the time, no way you can see that. And so basically, you know, I just thought like, wait a minute, should I there are two things you go, you will think is either you just continue what you do, you say yeah, we are going through the wall, I will just enjoy my time on this planet. And, and, and wait, and you know, and until, until until my last day is going to be is going to be nice, and maybe I will, you know, chill by the beach. And I mean, just just enjoy enjoy the night the life to the fullest. Or I could see it the other way around. And I called and I could just just walk on it could just try to solve this problem I call try to find a way not I mean to to make it a bit better than what it is and to and to tell my children and my grandchildren like oh, like I really try, I really did my best. So you have a better future, or just you have a future. And basically, I started to look at solutions that existed. And actually I realized that there were tons of solutions. Overall, even more today, there are tons of solutions that exist. And this is fascinating. And this is where I realized, like really what I what I need to do. It’s is this I need I need to I need to do more research on what is climate change, I need to I need to document myself more what what type of solutions do we need on this world and offer the solutions to more people. I also thought that companies were probably the key actors here thinking that people often not I will say not grouped enough to really have a big enough impact on the planet companies they have money and so, they have they have more, they can do a lot of things basically, and government I have seen that usually they will follow what companies do usually. And so we need to we need to tackle companies waste or we need to we need to help companies to act better to hide differently. So then we can we can trigger all the positive positive habits. And basically this is also what we see in in sustainability. And that’s the beauty of it, I will say is that once you see someone doing something good You want to replicate the good to good thing that you that you see, when when a company does something good, or other competitors will tend to replicate two good things that the first company has done. And to me this is this is really the beauty and this is also how we should really handle sustainability is now we have done this problem we have tried to solve this problem, really wrongly, I will say is that usually we pinpoint people or ad companies on the bad thing that that, that they do, right, we point fingers at the wrong thing, where actually we should emphasize it very differently, we will show the solutions that exist, which will show the positive things that we can do. So then it creates a positive mood. And so then you get you want to act on it, if I tell you, or if we if we tell people look, the bad things that happen in the world, this is very bad, right? A lot of people that will tend to freak out and stop doing things. In French we say we say that he paralyze us, right, literally paralyze us. Basically, it really paralyze us. I believe that if you bring the message in a very positive way, you bring a positive, positive move to people and a positive change. And then you have your you’re going into the right direction, and we’re all going into. And so basically, to go back to your initial question, how it started, it just it just started to me by looking at the problem and looking at the solutions. And so by seeing all the solutions that that happened, it’s when I decided that I will, I will help companies to consume less energy. And I will help them to to solve climate change.

Zal: You are totally right, in the sense that we need to be more encouraging of people that do want to make that change and to show them the opportunities that are there. How big a problem are we facing with both cooling and heating in the world I know especially as the world gets warmer, air conditioning is going to be a much bigger part of everyday life. And here in Southeast Asia, it’s already such a big part of every every thing that we do. So how much of an impact how big is the problem that we face in this space?

Brice: Air conditioning in the world, it’s around 2% of co2 emissions. So it’s roughly the same as aviation. So when when we say that we need to cut on flights to stop traveling too far, we need to start business trips was better for the environment, where we should also question the air conditioning. But then 2% is in the world overall, in countries like Singapore, it’s around 30%. So according to the World Economic Forum in Singapore, it’s 30%. So 30% of co2 emissions of Singapore are only due to air conditioning, this is huge, this is a huge problem. This is much better, much bigger than that than anything else, much bigger than what we call imagined. It’s basically so big that that is somehow hard to imagine how big it is. So so so basically, overall, in the world, it’s already a big problem. But then in the in the hotel countries, and the hottest cities, and mostly in the cities. That’s a big issue in cities in Indonesia, and India, less than 10% of people need air conditioning today. But we believe that we with the increase of temperature that we are having, soon enough, almost 100% of people will need an air conditioning. So basically, we will quickly go from 2% of co2 co2 emissions in the world to closer to 5%. So the problem is getting bigger and bigger. And in cities. We already know that we get more one or two degrees by using the air conditioning. Because when you use the air conditioning, it’s colder inside by makes it warmer outside because you have an indoor unit, right that makes cool air, but you have an outdoor unit that makes heat and all these outdoor units create one and addition, was an additional one to decrease in cities, right. And so more aircon more heat is created. And so the problems getting bigger and bigger. So basically, air conditioning is a problem that we need to tackle right now.

Zal: As you mentioned, As the world continues to get warmer with climate change, all parts of the world are going to get hotter, the demand for air conditioning is going to go up hugely, even in countries where maybe right now, they don’t use it, I think about Europe. And you know, even in the summertime, in Europe, there is no air conditioning over there for most of at least for Western Europe, right. So these places where it’s going to get warmer, they’re going to need it. And we’re going to be looking at new technology that hopefully, is more effective than the current solutions that we have, which are probably quite energy and efficient in terms of deploying and cooling.

Brice: Yeah, but actually, this is, hundreds of years ago, we already knew how to make air conditioning without air conditioning, without electricity. So in the Middle East, people invented a system, where basically, you catch the air from above the roof. And the, the air comes down by like, a reverse chimney, if you will, and combs to basically bring breathe to, to the buildings. And they put they were, they were putting some, some wet tissue on some tubes as well. Because basically, to cool down the room, you need air and you need water, right, this is the basic of cooling and off air conditioning. And so they were putting some wet tissue on on two tubes. So then, when the air was coming in, it was already fresh, it was already cooled down, it was already fear with with water. And so basically we’ll have fresh air cooler air coming to you. And that was done. Centuries ago, in the middle of the desert, there is a city as well in Zimbabwe, so the capital of Zimbabwe, is our IRA. And in our IRA, you have a mall. So it’s a it’s a building. And this building has been inspired by termite mounds. So termites are able to have cool mouths, even in the desert. And and basically, this building has been inspired by that. So you have cooler air coming down the building, and coming up onto each of the flows. And so basically, the cool air is coming from our feet, then the heat in the room is getting extracted by the ceiling. And on the on the windows, you will have plants so then the sunlight doesn’t really come in.

Zal: amazing where people can get inspiration from it from a termite mound.

Brice: Exactly. And so this is what we call biomimicry. So it’s basically getting inspired by what’s up in Indonesia. Because I mean, nature’s has been here billions of years, right. And so we have learned a lot to learn from it. Just learning from how termites made out their house, we can make buildings that are actually cool all the time. And we already know how to do it. The thing is, it has been so easy to install an air conditioning that we somehow forgot how to make buildings, cool buildings, without air conditioning. And now we are in architecture school, you don’t even learn how to how to make buildings without an air gun. It’s just just simple, right? It’s just Oh yeah, you put it back on. And that’s it. Now we have been stuck somehow with this problem. So we actually need to relearn how to make new buildings and with the existing buildings, where we need to either stop them and recreate them. Oh, we need to add solution as the one that we’re bringing. Because we’re gonna be stuck on the rise.

Zal: I mean, that’s so interesting to mention that we don’t even think about that in architecture school, like when you’re designing structures. If you don’t think about how to design to be cooled, because you just assume that it’s going to be there. And I wonder if there is a call for a rethinking of how we design buildings, if that’s starting to happen more now that people are understanding, we need to be more environmentally aware, we have to be aware of how are you keeping buildings cool, I believe that new offices, you know, they start growing plants on the outside that’s meant to help in terms of keeping it cooler. And there are a lot of new things coming out there. But we have a lot of existing buildings, which were built in a very old way where we need to rethink the entire model of cooling and probably heating in other parts of the world as well.

Brice: Definitely. And in you know, in architecture, I believe it’s, it’s, it’s coming. I mean, I ever heard feedback from schools yet, but I believe this is this is coming, that more and more students are trained to create buildings that are either inspired by nature, or, or that can stay cool without without air conditioning. This is also something that we need to we need to see now like, usually, students, they want things much faster than what the what the school can offer. I just hope that this will come very, very, very fast. Because we need it.

Zal: I wanted to ask you, you know, you’ve set this ambitious goal of a million tonnes of co2 reduction by 2027. That’s only five years away, are you how are you tracking for that? Are you do you think that you’re gonna hit that goal?

Brice: This is a crazy goal. All right. I know, this represents 2% of co2 emissions of Singapore yearly, and basically do more we, the more we events, the more we progress towards the end of it, the more I’m thinking that this is a must. And the more I am thinking that this is achievable, at the same time, if we don’t have such a big goal, I mean, we might miss something. I, I believe that by by having such a huge goal, we will put all our effort, all our energy to solve it. There is there is a I’ve heard this go once is I would prefer that you that you aim high and Miss rather than aim low and hit where I will rather aim high and mess rather than aim low and miss so yeah, it’s crazy. Yes, it’s big. Will we reach it? I don’t know yet. But I believe this is this is the right way to

Zal: why I certainly admire you aiming high and I hope that you hit it. I want to thank you for your time Brice. It’s been really informative to learn about air conditioning and the and the impact that it has. So thank you so much for being on the show.

Brice: My pleasure. Thanks for having me