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Efficient HVAC systems: State of play

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Sep 18, 2023
Illustration of a bar chart made of air conditioning units

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Last updated September 13, 2023

Bolstered by the Inflation Reduction Act and climate neutral commitments, companies increasing the efficiency of or providing sustainable hardware for HVAC systems have drawn investor attention.

Why it matters: Heating and cooling technology for buildings create approximately 15% of global carbon emissions, and projections of increased frequency of heat waves and cold snaps are projected to drive up demand and usage.

Transactions from the last year include:

  • Blue Frontier, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based sustainable AC company, collected a $20 million Series A round in July.
  • Gradient, a San Francisco-based HVAC maker, collected $9 million in Series A funding in June, following an $18 million raise in February.
  • Kelvin, a Brooklyn-based startup providing decarbonized HVAC options, raised a $30 million Series A round led by 2150.
  • Redaptive, a Denver-based energy efficiency service provider, raised funding from Linse Capital in May, bringing the company's Series E round to $250 million.
  • Düsseldorf-based proptech startup Dabbel raised a €3.6 million pre-Series A round to automate HVAC control in May.
  • Quilt, a Redwood City, Calif.-based ductless heat pump system, closed a $9 million seed round in May, led by Lowercarbon Capital and Gradient Ventures.
  • Specifx Data, a San Francisco-based data software startup for HVAC systems, in April raised $3.5 million in seed funding.

Yes, but: As HVAC systems like AC units are made to be more energy efficient, they can become more susceptible to durability problems when operating under stress in extreme temperatures. Automated control optimization for these systems may help improve system longevity.

What we're watching: Efficient HVAC systems in electric vehicles can contribute to increased vehicle range — a selling point for many as competition in the commercial EV industry heats up.

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