Before 2015, homeowners had just two choices for managing the temperature imbalances in their homes: manually closing their vent registers to manage airflow at the room level, or installing expensive damper systems to create zones, typically across the floors of a home. Closing manual registers was at best inconvenient and at worst bad for HVAC systems.
Damper systems, while effective at dividing a home into discrete heating and cooling zones, required (and still require) a professional to open up the ducts of a home to install the dampers. Further, these damper systems are not “smart,” easily controlled from your smartphone, and do not offer any insight into the health of your HVAC system. Essentially, traditional zoning technology has not changed since the 1990s.
Neither solution was ideal, but with few alternatives available, homeowners had little choice but to choose one or the other, or worse, continue spending money on heating/cooling only to be uncomfortable in their homes. The advent of smart thermostats alleviated some of this pain by giving homeowners remote control and automation of their HVAC systems, but smart thermostats can only go so far--we often liken them to a single light switch controlling all the lights in a home. So when it came to room-by-room temperature control, smart thermostats fell far short of solving the problem.
By the fall of 2015, Keen Home and Ecovent Systems had turned the HVAC industry on its head. That year, both companies started selling their groundbreaking smart vent technologies, giving homeowners zoning solutions that could be installed without hiring an HVAC professional and putting the power of cloud-enabled control and automation of their air vents onto their phones. HVAC safety was also paramount: both systems monitor duct pressure and also have mechanical safeguards to prevent excess back-pressure hurting a system.
It didn’t take long for both solutions to revolutionize the industry: Keen Home earned one of the largest investments in Shark Tank history and quickly found their systems installed in thousands of homes across the US.
Ecovent Systems won major partnerships with heavy hitters in the construction and HVAC industry, including an endorsement from This Old House and investment from Emerson, a leading manufacturer of heating and cooling systems in the United States.
While the companies took different approaches–Keen Home developed a flexible DIY solution that homeowners could add to as their needs arose, while Ecovent Systems built a robust whole home solution with optional pro installers–they were ultimately solving the same problem, which up until the point the HVAC industry had all but ignored.
By integrating with smart thermostats–as Keen Home did with Nest, Honeywell, and Ecobee and Ecovent Systems did with Sensi–both platforms were able to further integrate into the fabric of a home’s heating and cooling infrastructure. They extended the ability of the leading smart thermostats to control airflow and temperature balance throughout a home in ways previously impossible, even with remote temperature sensors.
Though technically competitors in a new space, Keen Home and Ecovent Systems created awareness and empowered homeowners to take control of their home heating and cooling without the need for expensive and invasive renovations. Other similar companies have sprung up since, but none have reached the scale and reliability of Keen Home and Ecovent.
As the industry evolved, it became clear that to truly impact future of HVAC innovation, the two strongest players in the space needed to join forces to provide the most comprehensive suite of products for intelligent zoning on the market. In so doing, Keen Home and Ecovent Systems would give homeowners access to the most sophisticated technology for temperature control and energy savings all under one roof, paving the way for groundbreaking new developments in software and analytics, making homes smarter, more comfortable, and more energy efficient.
The opportunity to join forces arose when another technology company, ConnectM Technology Solutions–a software and analytics provider that builds consumer and commercial Internet of Things platforms–approached both companies with acquisition offers. Seeing an opportunity to build the world’s most advanced platform for intelligent climate and comfort control, the founding teams of both Keen Home and Ecovent Systems embraced the offers and joined the ConnectM family of companies.
As both Keen Home and Ecovent Systems embark on this journey as one company, the opportunities before them are immense. Keen Home maintains its DIY value, giving homeowners the ability to pick and choose how many Smart Vents they need for their home. Ecovent (now a Keen Home sub-brand) complements this offering with a whole home system for comprehensive control. For now, the two smart zoning systems are separate, with two different apps.
The future is bright for this newly formed pairing of smart zoning titans. We’re all excited to see what comes next.