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Real estate group Ivanhoe taps startup for pilot

Aug 8, 2022
Illustration of a bar chart made of air conditioning units.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Ivanhoé Cambridge, a Canadian real estate company, completed a pilot project with Turntide Technologies to test new heating and cooling technology in commercial real estate spaces.

Why it matters: So much of commercial real estate's emissions footprint comes via aging and inefficient HVAC systems that even a small improvement in the machine's efficiency can substantially impact emissions.

Details: Turntide replaced existing HVAC motors with its proprietary smart motor hardware in two Ivanhoé Cambridge commercial retail locations.

  • Turntide claims the retrofit yielded a 35% energy savings in each location, or roughly 56,000 kWh of energy annually.
  • Ivanhoé Cambridge senior director of sustainability Rob Simpson declined to share the pilot's cost, but indicated the investment would break even in fewer than five years.

The intrigue: Ivanhoé Cambridge was the anchor LP in Fifth Wall's first climate fund, and Turntide Technologies was the first investment out of that fund, Fifth Wall's Greg Smithies tells Axios.

  • The fund's thesis is partly built around Ivanhoe's own net-zero strategy, hence the investment in Turntide and subsequent pilot.
  • Though Fifth Wall has used a similar playbook in its other funds, this was the first instance of matchmaking out of its climate fund.
  • Previously, Fifth Wall portfolio company Opendoor partnered with homebuilder Lennar for a trade-in program for homeowners.

Between the lines: Turntide has access to the rest of Fifth Wall's LP base, which comprises more than 100 commercial real estate groups.

Quick take: Commercial real estate is a tough sell for startups. If Fifth Wall continues to grease the wheels of that process, it could substantially reshape the trillion-dollar industry with climate tech at the forefront.

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