Connected vents are a thing! Keen Home gets $1.5M seed round

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Credit: S. Higginbotham

The connected thermostat is so 2013. But for 2015, we’re going to get connected vents. Keen Home, a company making a connected vent cover that works in conjunction with temperature sensors in the room that lets you control what rooms get heat or cooling based on your needs, just raised $1.52 million in seed funding.

The round, which will help bring the Keen vents to market, was led by RMR Capital, with participation from R/GA Ventures, Bullet Time Ventures, NYU Innovation Venture Fund, Rugged Ventures, Galvanize Ventures, and Brand Foundry Ventures, as well as strategic investors American Family Ventures and Comporium Inc. I covered Keen after meeting them at SXSW this year and it falls into the category of startups that I’m hoping will build a new type of HVAC for homes and offices.

Keen Home will distribute its vents through Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers in spring 2015 and it will also work with SmartThings, and Wink platforms. Further partnerships with the industry’s leading connected home platforms will be announced shortly.

If you could combine a multitude of temperature sensors in walls, presence detection, smarter vents to control airflow and an app, you could do away with the thermostat entirely and let an algorithm that you set control the temperature in your home based not only on your preferences, but the number of people who are there and where they are in the house.

Keen isn’t the only company with this vision. Ecovent, a startup founded by MIT grads that was showing off its own connected vent at Structure Connect this month, plans to launch its product in August of next year after having raised $2.2 million. And thermostat companies like Ecobee and Nest are also tying sensors to their thermostats and algorithms to make the home a bit more comfortable for the people inside.

These systems will help consumers save money and energy by tying granular data about presence, preferences and actual temperature to give people the comfort they need precisely where they need it. And that is awesome.

Update: This story was corrected on Oct. 30. Keen will not be available in Home Depot stores at launch.

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Chris

Blocking airflow without changing the speed of the fan in the HVAC just creates more back pressure on the fan, using more energy to move less air. Just use a zoning system that is designed to do this, or let your HVAC run the way it was designed. It’ll use the same or less energy and circulate air through the whole house instead of just part of it.

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