AirEx Success

In an era where environmental concerns are at the forefront of global discussions, one of our members, the cleantech company AirEx Technologies, is dedicated to addressing fuel poverty and climate change through innovative, cost-effective smart home solutions. Their pioneering achievement includes the creation of the world’s first smart air brick, engineered to assist homeowners and landlords in reducing energy demand while effectively managing indoor air quality. 


The heating of buildings accounts for 36% of CO2 emissions across Europe. Inefficiently insulated, leaky structures necessitate higher energy consumption for heating, leading to increased carbon emissions. Recent studies have indicated that air bricks - ventilation apertures facilitating natural airflow - contribute to as much as 15% of a home's heat loss. In the UK alone, this translates to a staggering 34,000 GWh/year of wasted energy. AirEx’s solutions aim to combat this inefficiency by intelligently controlling airflow. 


They are disrupting the building retrofit market by offering a simple solution to address suspended floor heat loss. Suspended floors are often neglected when it comes to energy efficiency, with most measures being disruptive and expensive. Floorvent is AirEx's flagship solution to address this problem. AirEx Floorvent is a way to reduce heat loss from suspended timber floors through smart control of ventilation. By reducing draughts and making the underfloor space warmer AirEx improves the U-value of the floor like conventional insulation does, but without the cost and disruption.


AirEx originated from the collaborative efforts of Agnes Czako and a sustainability-focused venture capital firm, Sustainable Ventures, back in 2016. Their partnership emerged upon identifying a substantial gap within the building retrofit market. 


Agnes, drawing from her background as an energy consultant, had previously spearheaded numerous fuel poverty assessments within London's vulnerable communities. She found the persistence of fuel poverty in one of the world's most developed cities during the 21st century profoundly disheartening. Motivated by this realisation, Agnes felt compelled to take action. A collaborative research endeavour with esteemed academic researcher Dr Sofie Pelsmakers shed light on the significant heat loss occurring in overlooked areas within buildings, presenting a compelling opportunity for intervention. 


In 2016, AirEx secured a modest R&D grant through Innovate UK’s “Energy Game Changer” programme. This funding facilitated the recruitment of a talented team of engineers and product designers tasked with prototyping and testing the initial hypotheses. These early trials underscored the technology's potential for substantial impact and highlighted the imperative to commercialise the product for widespread adoption.  


Cleantech Venture Day Funding 

As a member of Cambridge Cleantech and through their pitch at the Cleantech Venture Day in October 2020, AirEx were able to network with an extensive range of investors, securing themselves a significant investment through Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital. This initiative was established to support companies dedicated to sustainability and spearheading the journey towards achieving net zero emissions. The investment enabled the cleantech startup to accelerate its expansion endeavours for its innovative smart airbrick technology, thereby propelling the shift towards low-carbon housing.  


Agnes Czako, Co-founder of AirEx Technologies, said: "I just want to say a big thank you for inviting me to pitch AirEx at the Cleantech Venture Day. I have just managed to secure a significant investment from a contact I met at the event, with an investor who I would not have met otherwise, and so your event was a big part of the success."

In May 2022, AirEx pitched at another of Cambridge Cleantech’s Cleantech Venture Days for another round of funding. Since then, AirEx has gone on to receive its second close of Series A funding from Bayes Entrepreneurship Capital, One Planet Capital, and the Francis Family Fund (cell capital). The Series A investment will facilitate AirEx in expediting its commercial expansion and scaling efforts in both the UK and international markets, while simultaneously enabling the development of new products. 


The Technology 

AirEx serves as an intelligent ventilation control system, equipped with sensors to 

monitor temperature, humidity, and air quality. Utilising advanced algorithms, it autonomously regulates airflow, factoring in local weather conditions and air quality data. AirEx opens to diminish underfloor humidity levels and closes to minimize heat loss, enhancing overall comfort without compromising indoor air quality. 


The proprietary technology has received endorsement from the UK energy regulator, Ofgem, and has recently garnered acknowledgement within the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) by the Building Research Establishment. This recognition follows independent validation of the product's efficacy in energy conservation. Additionally, AirEx has obtained approval from the Scottish Government under the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme. This programme, serving as Scotland's national initiative to combat fuel poverty, offers funded energy efficiency solutions to vulnerable customers.


Overcoming Fuel Poverty

AirEx is working to ease the weight of fuel poverty on those struggling, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis. Children, known for their heightened vulnerability to the detrimental effects of air pollution and fuel poverty, stand to gain immensely from the implementation of AirEx’s innovative solution. Particularly in regions grappling with issues like dampness and mould, prevalent among low-income households, AirEx's ground breaking solution has emerged as a crucial intervention. The prevalence of dampness and mould-related illnesses often leads to the hospitalisation of thousands of children annually in the UK alone, underscoring the pressing need for effective interventions in such environments.  


AirEx's innovation is therefore making a significant impact on the lives of children and families navigating the challenges of fuel poverty within the UK. With its nationwide rollout, AirEx has successfully enhanced the quality of life for numerous families by granting them access to healthier and more comfortable living spaces characterised by improved ventilation and reduced fuel costs. 


By mitigating heat loss and alleviating fuel poverty, AirEx has managed to lower the average annual energy bills of households by an impressive 12%. This comprehensive approach adopted by AirEx contributes to fostering a healthier and more sustainable living environment for vulnerable families, ensuring that children can thrive in homes devoid of the detrimental effects of fuel poverty. 


Environmental Sustainability and Future Outlook 

Agnes Czako, the CEO of AirEx Technologies, was chosen as one of 24 young climate innovators representing 19 countries to present the innovative smart air brick solution at COP28 in Dubai. This esteemed invitation was extended as part of UNICEF Innovation30, an initiative crafted to connect young climate innovators with investors, spotlighting sustainable solutions crafted by passionate founders committed to effecting positive change. 


AirEx prioritises bringing its solution to fuel-poor households and believes that their system can contribute to the estimated 100,000 retrofits for fuel poverty and how this could evolve in fuel-poor households funded annually in the UK. Beyond this our Floorvent has the potential to make 8m homes in the UK warmer and more energy efficient. 


If the AirEx solution was to be installed into all 8m UK homes with timber floors it would save 0.5% of all UK carbon emissions. And as a low-cost system that reduces energy bills by an average of 12%, contributes significantly to reducing fuel poverty.


AirEx’s commitment lies in championing environmental sustainability, with its core mission centred around combating climate change. AirEx stands poised to potentially save 370 million tonnes of carbon emissions upon full implementation across Europe. We look forward to seeing AirEx expand and thrive in the future.