Buildings as an active part of the energy transition: Proptech aedifion raises €12 million

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The Cologne-based PropTech company aedifion, in which Drees & Sommer SE held a stakesince December 2021, has raised €12 million from new and existing investors in a Series A fundraising round. The company’s cloud software enables administrators and owners to operate commercial buildings digitally, which is not only more convenient, but also makes systems more efficient and, as a result, much more climate-friendly.

Lead investors in the oversubscribed round are the Berlin-based venture capitalist World Fund, which specializes in climate tech, and the construction and real estate sector technology and investment platform BeyondBuild along with the participation of the Family Office, which is owned by the Hopp family, founders of SAP.

Smart buildings will become part of the energy system

The market leader in Germany for smart building systems control intends to use some of the fresh capital to expand its product range and become the European market leader. “We want to make buildings part of the energy system of the future,” says founder and CEO Johannes Fütterer. “Thanks to digitization and artificial intelligence, buildings can now become part of the energy transition – in the form of virtual power plants integrated into a smart grid.”

An artificial intelligence that controls heating systems proactively, for example, uses comprehensive input ranging from weather data to the thermal capacity of the building as calculated by software. “This allows heat pumps to be switched on when the electricity price is lower.” The smart, consolidated control of a large number of buildings in this way not only cuts emissions and saves money, but also serves to increase the overall stability of the power grid. “This is an important element for the success of the energy transition, because more solar and wind power in the grid leads to fluctuations in the availability of power,” says Fütterer. 

The cloud software also offers owners, administrators, facility managers and engineering offices a range of digital tools for optimizing and controlling building technology. In a first step, operational data is recorded and evaluated using machine learning. Without such software, data such as supply and return temperatures has to be collected manually, a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. “Our software reflects the best engineering know-how on the market with more than 13 years of experience,” says CEO Fütterer. “Operational inefficiencies are detected automatically as they occur, saving money and reducing emissions – and the process is completely digital and scaled across all properties.”

Carbon emissions could be cut by 10 million tonnes

The software works regardless of the building services equipment installed and can communicate with other applications via open interfaces. Leading companies such as AEW, Hines, Art-Invest, Gegenbauer and ROM Technik are using the software to achieve their sustainability goals. And the market potential is huge: In Germany alone there are 2.7 million commercial buildings with around 1.35 billion square meters of net floor space. This means that carbon emissions could be cut bymore than 10 million tonnes per year simply by using the cloud platform. 

“Office buildings are responsible for 6.6% of global carbon emissions and thus offer huge potential for climate protection,” says World Fund Investment Manager Mark Windeknecht. “aedifion is an excellent deep tech example that shows how climate protection and cost savings can be scaled using software.” “We firmly believe the urgency of achieving climate goals means that efficient optimization is an inevitable step before time-consuming the transformation of buildings,” says Alexander Reichhuber, Managing Partner at BeyondBuild. “And aedifion technology can play a key role in this context.”

The company was spun off from a leading research institute for building systems engineering at RWTH Aachen University in 2017, and is involved in several research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) at other universities and research institutes – including FU Berlin, the University of Stuttgart and Fraunhofer ISE. Leading companies such as E.ON, Uniper and Züblin are also involved in the research projects.