Small commercial businesses, such as franchised convenience stores and restaurants, represent a high value niche market. These commercial applications require concurrent heating and cooling, and consume over three times as much energy per square foot compared to residential homes. Commercial installations also represent a pathway to gain central purchasing power so that multiple installations can be achieved through minimal sales force requirements. In this regard, a high number of ThermoLift units could be sold to a single company, and because franchised stores are often structurally similarly, it would be easy to generalize the system for installation.
In North America alone, there are over 44 million homes located in cold climates. Seventy percent of these homes are fueled by natural gas, indicating a total market size of approximately 31 million homes. Considering the industry standard 20-year equipment lifecycle, the total annual retrofit market for heating and cooling systems could be as large as 1.6 million homes. Similar market opportunities exist in Europe, where over 6 million heating systems were sold last year with 1.7 million in the UK alone. Additional markets include residential new construction, commercial retrofit and new construction, and a variety of industrial applications.
ThermoLift will leverage existing relationships with utility companies and industry partners, which allows high penetration and controlled launch. National Grid is a large distributor of natural gas with over 3.6mil customers in the US and 10.9mil customers in the UK. Star Gas (US) is a major HVAC service provider that routinely performs over 10,000 heating system installations per year, including many oil-to-gas conversions. British Gas (UK) has more than 21mil customers and has a trained installer and service network. ThermoLift will initially introduce a 24kW system, enough to meet the everyday demands of a 2500 square foot space; in the future an entire suite of products will exist.