Community//

“Climate change and sustainability” With Penny Bauder & Ross Sharman

Our company is tackling climate change and sustainability with the same approach. This is by using technology and data to help homeowners change their energy supplies to renewable sources. For example, solar can seem like a confusing proposition but our technology makes the process so much easier. Climate change is an existential threat but can […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

Our company is tackling climate change and sustainability with the same approach. This is by using technology and data to help homeowners change their energy supplies to renewable sources. For example, solar can seem like a confusing proposition but our technology makes the process so much easier. Climate change is an existential threat but can be partially mitigated through a shift to cheaper renewable energy.


As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ross Sharman.

Ross Sharman is the CEO and founder of EnergyIQ, an independent online marketplace for Australians who want to reduce their household emissions and switch to clean renewable energy.

Ross has long questioned the role of fossil fuels to power our homes, and after gaining a degree in electrical engineering and carving out a career in software, he decided it was time to tackle the issue head-on. He launched his second company, Accurassi, in 2018, with the goal of empowering Australian homes to reimagine their energy by providing comparison and data services to banks, energy retailers, and software partners.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

From a young age, I was fascinated by electric cars and had thoughts on how they could be made more efficient. After a stint working at a power station, I eventually fell into software where I was lucky enough to travel globally with my work, which really opened my mind. I made Australia my home 20 years ago and started my entrepreneurial phase soon after.

I believe you can be naturally good at engineering, but being an entrepreneur takes work. From my fascination with cars from the age of ten, the building blocks to my future were already in place, I just needed to find out how to turn my passions and skills into a business.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

We address the consumer issues around carbon emissions and high cost for home energy. Our mission is to help take every Australian on an energy journey to power their homes (and cars) with smarter and renewable energy.

Switching to solar energy can offer genuine savings to homeowners, especially at a time when we have more people working from home and more residential energy being used. However, the journey of switching to solar can be a confusing one for the homeowner, filled with technical jargon and lacking clarity in the quotes. Our goal is to provide an independent estimate of potential savings from switching to solar for a homeowner without compromising on the consumer experience. By simply uploading a recent electricity bill, a homeowner can be informed in seconds if solar is a viable proposition or not, and what the potential savings are.

The average four-person household spends close to $2,000 a year on electricity bills. For example, the average Sydney household can save up to $900 a year by installing a 4-kilowatt solar system on their roof. Solar technology is getting better and cheaper — an average 4-kilowatt rooftop solar system could be paid off in less than five years through lower energy bills.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

Our company is tackling climate change and sustainability with the same approach. This is by using technology and data to help homeowners change their energy supplies to renewable sources. For example, solar can seem like a confusing proposition but our technology makes the process so much easier. Climate change is an existential threat but can be partially mitigated through a shift to cheaper renewable energy.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

I think there are many examples of how being more sustainable helps bottom line growth for businesses, energy efficiency is the best example of this. We used to work with large fitness chains, helping reduce costs in electricity spend by identifying ‘leaks’ and fixing them with relatively short pay back projects. The success of these energy efficiency programs delivered savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

First of all, explain what climate change is and how it may affect their lives in the next 50 years. For example, the advent of more regular bush fires. Only 19% of Australia’s energy is powered by renewable sources, indicating that 81% of our energy is powered by fossil fuels. In NSW, an average four-bedroom home uses around 6,600 kwh of electricity a year — equating to approximately two tonnes of black coal needed to power the household.

Try to explain the driving factors behind climate change in their environment, for example electricity production from coal powered stations. COVID-19 has had multiple effects on the way we consume power too. In Victoria Australia alone, we have seen an increase of residential energy consumption of 12% since April. And in NSW, demand for residential energy increased between 8–10% on weekday mornings in April.

Explain the alternatives to coal powered stations. Despite the prevalence of traditional energy, solar and wind energy are now cheaper than coal and gas in Australia. Renewable energy is produced using natural resources that are constantly replaced, meaning they never run out. On the other hand, traditional energy such as coal and gas, is non-renewable and will eventually run out, causing drastic impact to the environment and health in the meantime. To explain this in more detail, consider taking your children to a large solar farm or wind farm.

Explain how electric cars can do away with the need for petrol, having a drive in one is the best way to experience the thrill of electric vehicles.

Share the damaging effects of cattle meat and milk production, explain that reducing intake of both can help reduce greenhouse gas production.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

All these points are what I’d tell myself 20 years ago, so that I’d be able to handle the roller coaster journey of entrepreneurship:

  • Be patient, this is a marathon not a sprint — always expect things to happen a year later than you initially expect
  • Stay focused on the mission and goals — don’t chase short term wins
  • Try to challenge yourself on a daily basis — this can be reading, physical exercise or pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone
  • Learn to meditate and stay fit — mental and physical strength are crucial
  • Value your family first — make sure you give plenty of time and love to your family

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My wife and family have backed me and believed in me every step of the way, this journey has incurred large financial sacrifices and lots of stress. Having someone you love give their unwavering support is incredibly motivating and reassuring.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

A movement over time to deliver free and abundant energy to the world, this would create an overall improvement in life quality, innovation and wide spread economical benefit. I am confident this movement has already started, but will take a couple of decades to play out and will require lots of bright young minds to make it happen.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

‘Don’t waste the lesson’ — life is a series of challenges and fortunes but through both you can always learn and benefit.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/rosssharman/

Twitter — @RossBSharman

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“Enlighten and inspire for better living.”With Penny Bauder & James Tu

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

“Here are 5 things we must do to inspire the next generation about sustainability and the environment” with Penny Bauder & John Oppermann

by Penny Bauder, Founder of Green Kid Crafts
Community//

Entrepreneurs Tackling Climate Change: “Both governments and anyone with a retirement account can move their money out of climate problems and into solutions” With Ian Monroe and Amine Rahal

by Amine Rahal

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.