HVAC disruptor wants to make reopened workplaces healthier and more efficient

Smart sensors and controls consider the building’s HVAC operations holistically and support new CDC air quality guidance.

Today’s headlines:

🎉 PRODUCT LAUNCH: EarthTronics, based in Norton Shores, Michigan, has released an energy-efficient emergency backup power source for fluorescent light fixtures in commercial and industrial buildings. (news release)

🔋 MARKET RESEARCH: The energy storage industry is being hurt by pandemic-related delays and lack of access to customers, but a new Frost & Sullivan analysis projects the industry to rebound strongly in 2021 and beyond. The report also predicts increased demand for retrofitting solar PV systems with more capacity and adding cloud-based and machine learning technology to battery storage systems. (news release)

📑 INDUSTRY REPORT: Commercially available and emerging technologies such as pyrolysis show promise for recycling millions of tons of wind turbine blades that would otherwise be disposed in landfills, according to a report from the Electric Power Research Institute. (news release)

💰 FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES: The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $67 million to fund projects that improve efficiency in advanced manufacturing… Michigan is offering $950,000 in funding to help commercialize technologies that come out of its universities, via Michigan Transnational Research and Commercialization, or MTRAC. (DOE, Crain’s Detroit Business)As stay-at-home orders are eased and workers return to commercial buildings, a Minnesota building controls startup says its technology can help improve indoor air quality to meet new CDC guidelines and significantly lower energy use and costs. More on Bloomington-based 75F after today’s tech headlines…

Now, more on 75F…

Early on in the pandemic, the company saw a dip in business as many commercial buildings closed. Now, demand for its disruptive HVAC smart systems is getting a boost as people think about returning to work and the effect indoor air quality has on the spread of the novel coronavirus. CDC research last month said “enhanced building HVAC operational practices” — proper ventilation and filtration — can reduce the risk of COVID-19, especially in places with a lot of close contact, like offices.

75F offers that air quality and temperature control with its IoT-powered smart building controls systems, said founder and CEO Deepinder Singh. The systems can be recalibrated to meet new environmental needs, and that can be done remotely. “As people are coming back to the office we are reconfiguring the buildings so they can have more fresh air, better circulation, and better indoor air quality,” Singh said.

The problem: “The HVAC industry really is not taking advantage of some of the advances which have occurred in machine learning, IoT, and cloud computing,” Singh said. “We take advantage of the technology so we make buildings healthier while still conserving energy.”

What the technology does: The systems use sensors and algorithms to look at the entire building holistically instead of as separate rooms or sections. The system only alters temperature and air quality conditions in occupied parts of the building, while also taking into consideration conditions such as weather.

The impact: The technology increases operational efficiency while keeping building occupants comfortable. On average, 75F customers save 41% on energy use and costs, Singh said. “Productivity and cognitive processing increase and people make less errors when buildings are healthier,” Singh said.

The backstory: Singh was an engineer, or a self-described “network geek,” and switched to indoor environmental solutions based on a problem he encountered at home: His young daughter would wake up crying during the night when her bedroom temperature would drop 10 degrees while other portions of the home were fine.

What lies ahead: The company has existed since 2012 and recent funding rounds will help to expand the business and add more product features while 75F rides the wave of demand as stay-at-home orders increasingly are lifted.

I want to hear about other companies that are applying technology to conserve energy. If you work for one or know of one, let me know so I can feature it in a future newsletter. Email katie@centered.tech or connect on Twitter @centereddottech.

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