Munich Ampeers Energy wants to make climate protection more of a business model for property owners. “A billion-dollar market is currently being created in the decarbonization of buildings,” Ampeers Energy founder Karsten Schmidt told Handelsblatt.
The Fraunhofer spin-off has developed a software-based system for the energy management of real estate. This is to allow property owners to plan a new plant when building a new building or modernizing it. With the help of digital twins of the complete systems, for example, it is possible to simulate whether an energy storage system 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 also bill them directly via the software.
Many are currently pushing into the emerging market, from plant manufacturers to consulting companies. Whether Ampeers’ holistic approach will be accepted by the market remains to be seen. At least Ampeers Energy has now been able to convince investors of its own business model.
The latest round of financing brought in a double-digit million amount. Sistems GmbH, which is also active in the field of renovation and climate protection for the real estate industry, joined as a strategic investor.
The two companies have been cooperating since the beginning of the year. “Demand has increased enormously in recent weeks,” Schmidt said. The company does not provide specific sales figures.
With the overall system, the property owner can refinance a modernization without having to increase the cold rents. The CO2 emissions of an aging apartment building can be reduced from 40 to less than two kilograms per square meter by new systems, photovoltaics and intelligent operation.
Virtually every modernization brings progress – for example, through more efficient heating. So the whole effect is not to be attributed to Empeers. However, uniform planning, photovoltaic systems and intelligent networking should hold additional potential.
115 Million Tonnes of CO2 emissions in the building sector
The topic is currently topical for two reasons: because of increased energy prices and because of climate change. According to the German government, the building sector in Germany caused CO2 emissions of 115 million tonnes last year. That was two million tons more than the upper limits provided for. By 2030, emissions are to be almost halved to 67 million tonnes.
Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) recently announced an emergency programme for the building sector. Among other things, this provides for the 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 additional costs become 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 about 40 percent of global CO2 emissions.
There is a lot of money at stake for the real estate companies. A company with 5,000 apartments in its portfolio and a CO2 footprint of 16,000 tons per year must expect costs of 1.6 million euros if it prices CO2 at 100 euros in 2030, if it does not reduce its emissions by then, Schmidt calculates. In addition, there would be possible income from the sale of solar power.
In the last financing round just over a year ago, Ampeers Energy had won a major customer as an investor: the Austrian Federal Real Estate Company (BIG) with more than 2000 properties took over 25.1 percent of the shares.
Participation “next consistent step”
The investment is “a next logical step for BIG to decarbonize our portfolio and, in addition, an attractive investment in an innovative company that has the right answers for the real estate industry to the climate question,” said BIG CEO Hans-Peter Weiss. The BIG group has now joined the new financing round again.
The target group of Ampeers Energy is the real estate industry, i.e. companies with larger stocks 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 degrees, which, however, is aimed at private customers. The Hamburg start-up offers photovoltaic systems, electricity storage, charging infrastructure for electric cars and also heat pumps from the product to the installation to the green electricity contract from a single source.
In the spring, 1Komma5 collected another 200 million euros. The investors included eCapital, Porsche Ventures and the Haniel and Schürfeld families.
In addition, there are heating technology providers such as Viessmann, who are offering increasingly intelligent systems and increasingly see themselves as solution providers who want to be represented along the entire value chain from planning and installation to maintenance.
Most German houses not renovated: “Great challenge”
Around 85 percent of the buildings in Germany have so far only been partially or not at all renovated, CEO Max Viessmann told Handelsblatt. At this rate, “it doesn’t take long to understand that climate neutrality will be a challenge in 2045”. His group wants to invest one billion euros in climate solutions and heat pumps over the next three years.
However, Ampeers Energy sees its cross-sector approach as superior. “We want to become 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 about two million non-residential buildings, for example, commercial real estate. Currently, these five million houses, of which 87 percent are not renovated in terms of energy, are the core target group of Ampeers.
The start-up has calculated an annual investment volume of 84 billion euros for hardware such as heat pump and storage as well as around 22 billion euros for the use of software.
With the proceeds from the latest financing round, Ampeers Energy now wants to expand the business quickly. “We want to scale our platform,” says Schmidt. In five years, the company wants to achieve medium to high double-digit million sales.