Helping to tackle fuel poverty, one brick at a time
Nesta’s Impact Investments team backs tech ventures working in areas aligned with our 2030 impact goals. Nesta’s sustainable future mission aims to make it easier and more affordable for people to use clean, green sources of energy to heat and power their homes.
Nesta has made an investment of £600K in AirEx, alongside Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, Green Angel Syndicate and Unreasonable Collective.
AirEx designs and manufactures the UK’s first smart air brick technology which optimises ventilation, helping households reduce energy bills. This sensor-enabled technology transforms the building retrofit market by offering an easy-to-install, low-cost solution for reducing heat loss.
Through in-built sensors and algorithms, the AirEx brick monitors environmental conditions and regulates airflow, reducing energy use and improving building and also the health of occupants by reducing the risk of condensation, damp and mould. The smart vent automatically controls the airflow based on specific inputs around temperature, humidity and air quality.
This process generates property data that is recorded via a smart hub and can be sent to the landlord or resident to reduce unplanned maintenance calls and help with reporting requirements. The hub measures internal and external conditions within a home and acts as a bridge between the smart vents and the cloud-based AirEx control system.
AirEx has the potential to lift millions of households out of fuel poverty. AirEx’s trials indicate a home’s overall heat loss can be reduced by 12%, which translates into a 10-12% saving on heating bills and a 2-4 Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) point uplift.
The patented technology is approved by UK energy regulator Ofgem and has recently been recognised within the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) by the Building Research Establishment, following independent validation of the product’s energy-saving impact. This allows it to be purchased through Government/industry subsidy schemes. AirEx has recently been approved by the Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland scheme – its national fuel poverty programme.
AirEx’s initial target market is the social housing sector although we estimate that its products are relevant to approximately two thirds of UK homes. AirEx’s proven energy efficiency benefits create a small but significant saving in all instals. We estimate that if AirEx can deliver on its sales growth ambitions, reaching thousands of homes over the next 6-7 years, that the company will have saved more than 1m tonnes of CO2 emissions as well as contributing to the reduction in fuel poverty.
The company has developed “Floorvent” and “Roomvent” variants of its product, providing its benefits into different parts of the property. The company is also developing a “Loftvent” variant to help address ventilation in new builds, where increasing standards around air tightness and thermal efficiency creates the need for increased ventilation.
“The decarbonisation of homes is absolutely crucial in the fight to reach net-zero emissions targets and AirEx is positioned to be a low-cost, low-risk smart technology to help facilitate the retrofit challenge faced by UK’s domestic building stock to achieve these ambitious goals. This funding will allow us to accelerate our plans to grow nationally and beyond and we are grateful to have the support of such like-minded, mission driven investors. The financial support and extensive expertise this investment brings us will accelerate the execution of our vision – to become a ‘no brainer’ solution for social landlords and homeowners looking to reduce energy consumption in a non-disruptive way while reducing their carbon footprint.”Agnes Czako, Co-Founder & CEO of AirEx