When temperatures drop, heating costs often become a concern for home and commercial real estate owners — especially when price of the fuel needed to help generate that heat is elevated. As companies look to minimize their energy bills this winter, it could be property technology (proptech) businesses’ time to shine — especially the ones that focus on heating, Commercial Observer reports.
Many heating-focused proptech companies can help CRE owners not only lower their heating costs, but also address the growing demand for the industry be more eco-friendly. For example, Enviro Power is working to decrease the cost of heating properties with its new technology that CEO Dan Nadav describes as a “boiler with a power plant inside.”
Enviro Power aims to replace all of the “aging, inefficient and failing boilers” that are currently being replaced at a rate of 10 million systems a year between the U.S. and Europe with its SmartWatt Boiler, Nadav told Commercial Observer. The solution holds on to the heat that a boiler would typically lose and generates electricity with it. Electricity is generated with no additional fuel, cost or CO2 emission. The SmartWatt Boiler offers CRE owners the chance to reduce their energy costs as well as their carbon emission footprint.
Car manufacturers like Volkswagen, Toyota and Honda also tried the heat and electric generation in the same device concept, but trying to capture car engine exhaust heat wasn’t efficient when it came to boilers.
“An engine is not a heating system,” Nadav told Commercial Observer. “Engines are made of around 2,000 to 3,000 parts, while boilers are made of 200 to 300 parts. Engines are quite expensive and not as reliable as heating systems’ boilers, which are highly reliable, very simple machines. So, our thought was completely the other way around. Why not try to start creating power not from the engine, but actually from the boiler?”
Meanwhile, Radiator Labs is a heating-oriented proptech company that focuses on radiators. The company “decarbonizes classic or legacy buildings heated with radiators,” according to company Vice President of Business Development and Sales Matthew Issacs. Radiator Labs’ flagship product, “The Cozy,” is an insulated smart radiator cover that provides precise temperature control in every room of a radiator-heated apartment, Issacs said. The device could save up to 45 percent on heating expenses and decarbonizes a lot of a building’s heating load.
Along with multi-family properties, Radiator Labs’ solutions are also used in office buildings, commercial sites and schools. Recent heating cost increases have led to the company to seeing a 350-percent jump in its product sales, year-over-year, according to Issacs.
CRE companies taking more interest in reducing energy usage
Real estate companies are beginning to notice the value in reducing their costs by becoming more energy efficient, Commercial Observer reports. This shift in priorities is not lost on proptech or software companies like MRI. The real estate and investment management software provider owns eSight, an energy management software platform that is helping enterprises around the globe cut down their energy costs for carbon or greenhouse gases, according to Janie Jefferies-Freer, eSight vice president of energy management solutions.
“In the commercial office space, there are some very quick wins that we often see,” Jefferies-Freer told Commercial Observer. “For example, the startup and shutdown times of heating and cooling in a building. Are these systems working in harmony with each other? From that little thing we can see savings in office spaces that run into thousands (of dollars) annually.”
Additionally, it’s not only companies who’ve expressed interest in eSight’s solutions, but also executives. Jefferies-Freer noted that people who might not have shown interest in the past are inquiring about how their company can minimize their energy costs.
“We have seen a huge surge in interest, users and engagement in the last six-plus months, more than we’ve ever seen,” she said. “It’s inundating us with requests for help and assistance. When companies put in our energy management system, they can see their (return on investment) payback within months, not years.”