The majority of these Rise sessions took place during the second wave of coronavirus, which meant that these entrepreneurs met digitally, rather than in person. Ferdinand admits that was a shame, but the opportunity to ‘work under the hood’ with Techleap.nl at an otherwise unproductive time has put PHYSEE in a fantastic position for 2021. Not least because the EU Green Deal is forcing member countries to bring their commercial buildings up to more sustainable energy grades in just a few years.
‘By 2023 all commercial buildings in the Netherlands will have to be upgraded to energy label C,’ Ferdinand explains. ‘Right now, 68,000 office buildings in the Netherlands do not meet that standard.’ Retrofitting all these buildings to meet government energy standards in time presents a serious challenge, but also a huge opportunity for a business like PHYSEE. ‘We’re enabling real estate owners to upgrade their building portfolios,’ he adds. ‘They get smart, sustainable, comfortable buildings, just by replacing their windows.’
The impending need to meet these energy regulations has provided a big market for PHYSEE, but with that market comes a much bigger pond and some much bigger fish as competition. How to meet energy regulations will be a puzzle for every building owner to solve. Do they go for energy storage? Solar on the roof? Sensors that decrease the energy consumption of the building? ‘There isn’t a single technology that will solve all energy challenges,’ says Ferdinand, ‘but I think we can be one of the key puzzle pieces to solve that challenge.’
For its part, the ecosystem sees PHYSEE’s potential too. PHYSEE recently landed a €4 million investment as well as partnerships with two massive global glass manufacturers. Even more pressing than the 2023 energy regulations are the new BENG regulations introduced by the Dutch government – as of January 2021, all buildings must meet mandatory targets that monitor energy demands of a building, as well as its use of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. The race to make buildings more energy-efficient has already started and PHYSEE is perfectly placed to make a difference. ‘The BENG regulations are still quite mild and do not represent an integrated vision, however with our solution we can seriously improve a building’s BENG score,’ Ferdinand says. ‘2021 can be a game-changing year for both PHYSEE and the sustainable building movement.’