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Why is it so hot in my building in the winter?


Ever wonder why is it so hot in your apartment in the winter that you have to constantly open your windows?

Well, turns out your building was actually designed to get you to do that. The insanely weird story of why this is the case is almost a geopolitical history lesson. And it begins, weirdly, with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918

So back then, they figured out what we figured out during COVID, that fresh air means less transmission of disease. And so, for over 50 years, building designers designed buildings to encourage people to keep their windows open and let in fresh air.

How did they do this? They simply turned the heating systems on at the beginning of the fall and left them on 24/7 through the end of winter. And this is how it worked until the 1970s.

Timer Controls Were Revolutionary in the 1970s

In the 1970s, for the first time ever, oil became really expensive. And so somebody came up with the genius idea of combining a thermometer and a timer to run building heating systems less when it was warm outside, and more when it was cold outside. They called this mechanical invention the “outdoor reset control.”

"Smart heating controls are so revolutionary for building comfort, and carbon reduction that utilities will pay for their installation"

It was revolutionary. It reduced energy usage by over 50 percent in buildings and made them a lot less overheated. But it didn't entirely solve the problem.

Smart Controls Are Revolutionary Today

Imagine trying to heat a single apartment to the perfect temperature without actually knowing the temperature indoors. And then imagine trying to do that for a hundred apartments at once and not knowing the temperature inside any of them. And because we never want anybody to be cold, we always overshoot. But it’s ok because we all can just open the windows, right?

So we've been stuck with this outdated, inefficient model of running buildings. The good news is technology has evolved and now we can run heating systems off of indoor temperatures.

The awesome part about this is not only do we make apartments more comfortable, but we actually make them save even more energy. It’s a win-win for everybody.

Utilities are offering to pay for smart controls like these.

You can see if your buildings are eligible with the form below: