Real estate owners as energy suppliers of the tenants

Munich Ampeers Energy wants to increasingly make climate protection a business model for real estate owners. “A market worth billions is currently being created for the decarbonization of buildings,” said Ampeers Energy founder Karsten Schmidt to the Handelsblatt.

The Fraunhofer spin-off has developed a software-based system for real estate energy management. Property owners should use this to plan a new system for new construction or modernization. Digital twins of the entire system can be used, for example, to simulate whether energy storage is worthwhile. Electricity, heating and e-mobility are then intelligently networked during operation.

Part of the “One-Stop-Shop” concept, as the company calls it, is always the planning of photovoltaic systems. The landlords can sell the electricity directly to their tenants and use the software to bill them straight away.

Many are currently pushing into the emerging market, from plant manufacturers to consulting firms. It remains to be seen whether Ampeers’ holistic approach will be accepted by the market. At least investors have now been able to convince Ampeers Energy of its own business model.

The latest round of financing brought in an amount in the double-digit millions. Sistems GmbH, which is also active in the field of renovation and climate protection for the real estate industry, got on board as a strategic investor.

The two companies have been cooperating since the beginning of the year. “Demand has increased enormously in recent weeks,” said Schmidt. The company does not give specific sales figures.

With the overall system, the property owner can refinance a modernization without having to increase the basic rent. The CO2 emissions of an aging apartment building can be reduced from 40 to less than two kilograms per square meter through new systems, photovoltaics and intelligent operation.

Practically every modernization brings progress – for example through more efficient heating. So the whole effect cannot be attributed to Empeers. However, the uniform planning, the photovoltaic systems and the intelligent networking should hold additional potential.

115 million tons of CO2 emissions in the building sector

The topic is currently relevant for two reasons: because of the increased energy prices and because of climate change. According to the federal government, the building sector caused Germany last year CO2 emissions of 115 million tons. That was two million tons more than provided for in the upper limits. By 2030, emissions are expected to be almost halved to 67 million tons.

Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently announced an emergency program for the building sector. Among other things, this provides for faster energy renovation of public buildings and a realignment of federal funding for efficient buildings.

The pressure to act in the real estate industry is great. “The ancillary costs are almost unaffordable for many tenants,” says Schmidt. In addition, the building sector has missed its climate targets and must reduce CO2 emissions quickly. According to the UN, real estate accounts for around 40 percent of global CO2 emissions.

A lot of money is at stake for real estate companies. A company with 5,000 apartments in its portfolio and a CO2 footprint of 16,000 tons per year would have to expect costs of 1.6 million euros with a CO2 price of 100 euros in 2030 if it did not reduce its emissions by then, Schmidt calculates before. In addition, there would be possible income from the sale of solar power.

In the last round of financing a good year ago, Ampeers Energy had won a major customer as an investor: the Austrian Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG) with more than 2000 properties took over 25.1 percent of the shares.

Participation “next logical step”

The investment is “a next logical step for BIG to decarbonize our portfolio and also an attractive investment in an innovative company that has the right answers for the real estate industry to the climate issue,” said BIG CEO Hans-Peter Weiss. The BIG Group has now also participated in the new round of financing.

The target group of Ampeers Energy is the real estate industry, i.e. companies with larger portfolios of apartments or commercial real estate. Schmidt does not see a direct competitor.

The business model is most likely to be compared with that of 1Komma5 Grad, which, however, is aimed at private customers. The Hamburg start-up offers photovoltaic systems, electricity storage, charging infrastructure for electric cars and heat pumps from the product to the installation and the green electricity contract from a single source.

In the spring, 1Komma5 collected a further 200 million euros. Investors included eCapital, Porsche Ventures and the Haniel and Schürfeld families.

>> Read here: Start-up 1Komma5 Grad takes over Sweden’s second largest solar equipment supplier

In addition, there are heating technology suppliers such as Viessmann, who offer ever more intelligent systems and see themselves more and more as solution providers who want to be represented along the entire value chain from planning and installation to maintenance.

Most German houses not renovated: “Big challenge”

Around 85 percent of the buildings in Germany have so far only been partially or not at all renovatedCEO said Max Viessman the Handelsblatt. At this rate, “it doesn’t take long to understand that carbon neutrality is a challenge in 2045.” His group wants to invest one billion euros in air conditioning solutions and heat pumps over the next three years.

>> Read here: Viessman invests one billion euros in air conditioning solutions and heat pumps

However, Ampeers Energy sees its cross-sector approach as superior. “We want to be the market leader,” says Schmidt. The company wants to start in the real estate business, but then also work its way into the private customer sector.

The potential market is large. According to the Dena study, there are more than three million apartment buildings and around two million non-residential buildings, such as commercial properties. These five million houses, 87 percent of which have not been renovated in terms of energy efficiency, are currently Ampeers’ core target group.

The start-up has calculated an annual investment volume of 84 billion euros for hardware such as heat pumps and storage systems and around 22 billion euros for the use of software.

With the proceeds from the latest round of financing, Ampeers Energy now intends to rapidly expand the business. “We want to scale our platform,” says Schmidt. In five years, the company wants to achieve sales in the middle to high double-digit millions.

More: Seven questions to ask yourself before buying a property.

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