Montigny-le-Bretonneux – A student competition to improve energy consumption

Home heat comfort is a competition for the future. Airwell, a company specializing in climate and thermal engineering, held a prize-giving ceremony for its 1st Student Challenge on solutions to optimize household energy use, held on June 2 at its premises in Montenegrin-le-Bretonics. The competition was conceived in 2016 by Laurent Rogel, the company’s CEO, as part of a plan to relaunch the company with 72 employees (counting its three locations in Montenegrin, Valence and Cannes), which ran into difficulties. 2000s.

“In 2014, we really settled down and said to ourselves, ‘We’re going to be leaders again, but what about leaders?'” He recalls. After analyzing the market, we told ourselves […] That we were [passe] From “I make a product” to “I make an ecosystem”. The heat pump becomes a component, I add photovoltaics, connected objects, data to create energy efficiency algorithms. This is a strategic change that we started in 2014-2015, the leader has continued. So, very quickly, in 2016, I wanted to create a student challenge. I said in my mind that innovation, the idea of ​​the future, if we want to be disruptive, to be fashionable, to see where the market will be in ten years, we have to work with these young people. They will have an idea of ​​where the market will be in ten years. A

It took a while for the competition to start. “We were a team that lost a lot of money, we had to recover financially first, the teams had to renew, […] This was not the right time, “explains Laurent Rogel. It was launched years later.

About sixty teams from various engineering and business schools in France took part. They have been working on their project since January 10th. After two internal selection rounds, five finalists are selected, then a jury of six members – three from Airwell and three from external – appoints a team of five students from the EPF, an engineering school in Kachan. , Prize as the winner of the first, i.e. a drone. “99% of your presentation is our three year development plan. But I know some ideas come from you “, Laurent Rogel announced to them, welcoming these students to” animation, quality of presentation, exchange, relevance “.

Their solution involves improving existing airhome applications created by Airwell in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) powered sensors and devices. “We told ourselves that we were going to apply artificial intelligence to the airhome, to predict the user’s usage while he was at home or on the move, and also to be able to improve his eating habits,” explained Juliet Andre ৷, the group’s student project leader. A solution that can work with sensors or depending on what the user wants, including GPS, Linky data and weather data. He added that such a device would improve its usage by 10 to 15%. He and his classmates Working an average of 4 hours a week on this project, their school often releases them on Thursday mornings to devote themselves to it.

This group of students, after their six months of class and the remaining six months of internship, can use this competition as a springboard for working at Airwell. “Look, we don’t close any doors,” Juliet Andre replied. However, this is also one of the goals of the Airwell Challenge. “It’s a form of hiring or support for start-ups. If young people have two or three projects, it could help them build their company or integrate us, “assures Laurent Rogel, who says he is” surprised by 66 “. [participants]By the number of teams, by the quality [cinq] Finalist “, but in the presentations” a little negatively surprised by the absence of a prototype “.

“They are much more in concept than prototype.[…] We may not have had enough time with their end-of-year projects, ”he admits. Which may be part of the components adjusted for the 2nd edition next year. Meanwhile, the group plans to open a training center by the end of September, acquiring a building right next to what it currently occupies in Montenegro.

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