A London firm with a new idea for saving energy has been shortlisted as one of a handful of startups that RBS wants to work with through its Innovation Gateway programme.  

nCube submitted its application after RBS called on startups to come forward with new eco-ideas for the bank’s 2,500 buildings around the UK.

The company, founded in 2012, uses a mobile/web app and a main hub to wirelessly connect to control units that are plugged into boilers, radiators, light switches and plug sockets. 

Philip Steele, founder of nCube, told Techworld that he believes his platform is better than smart meters, which have already been rolled out to over a million UK homes, because it provides a more detailed breakdown of energy consumption. 

"Smart Meters will only tell you the real-time energy consumption of your whole home but the technology we are using, which does mean a small amount of install work and cost to the consumer, provides real time energy information down to the very granular level of individual appliances," he said. 

Steele came up with the idea of nCube when he realised that energy prices have increased 60 percent in six years, and are likely to double again in the next six. nCube claims homeowners need ways to address this beyond the expensive retrofit of insulation and windows.

nCube has also developed an in-app Energy Leaderboard that allows individuals to compare their energy consumption.

Steele added: "An energy bill in the future might show energy consumption per appliance, per room, and per person so instead of my quarterly bill just showing me a single £ figure from which I have no idea how to improve my efficiency. I could now see where the costs are going. Better still if that is presented online in real time - that’s far beyond what smart meters will do."

RBS Innovation Gateway 

The RBS Innovation Gateway, which is led by Marcela Navarro, head of customer innovation at RBS, has been established to help the bank become more efficient, nurture new innovations and support local entrepreneurs. 

The Gateway was launched in March and received applications from over 140 companies.

Through the competition, RBS has pledged to provide nCube and other winning companies with:

  • Testing and rolling out their idea on up to 2,500 RBS properties
  • A £3,000 grant for winning concepts and paper-based ideas
  • Expertise to help accelerate their innovation to market
  • Practical support and insights from the RBS Innovation Panel
  • Access to the RBS Property Team and online events
  • Connecting and collaborating with other leading innovators.

nCube is available for homeowners to purchase directly and the team are developing business partnerships for greater distribution.