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Tech company urges landlords to delay buying heat pumps

Tether Limited Press Release
28 February 2019

Tech company urges landlords to delay buying those heat pumps

Landlords should avoid rushing out to buy heaters, heat pumps and glazing ahead of the Government’s proposed mandatory 18 degrees Celsius rule for rental properties because they might not need to do anything.

Fast growing Kiwi tech start-up Tether – which designs and manufacturers monitoring systems like the EnviroQ to enable healthy and comfortable living, learning and work environments – says there is a danger that landlords and accommodation providers may end up spending thousands of dollars on upgrades they don't need.

“You need to know what’s going on in the house first. Diagnosis comes before remediation,” says CEO Brandon Van Blerk. “How do you prove consistent temperature? How do you maintain temperature? What happens when the tenant says it’s colder than 18 degrees Celsius and it isn’t?

“The technology exists to monitor the indoor environment remotely 24 hours a day, seven days a week – you want the backing of hard science that can stand the test of a tenancy disputes tribunal or a Government inspector.”

Van Blerk says the Government is correct in that research by the World Health Organisation has established 18 degrees Celsius as a healthy and comfortable temperature, but it’s one that only applies to healthy adults that are appropriately dressed. Rooms occupied by the elderly and young children should be 21 degrees Celsius.

Van Blerk says he is concerned that making measures like installing heaters and insulation mandatory won’t fix the problems because heating measures are just one aspect of health and comfort.

“If you have an environment that is warm, but poorly ventilated, humid, gloomy, noisy and at times too hot, you’re not going to have a happy or healthy tenant. Diagnosis comes before remediation and nowadays indoor monitoring is as easy as installing a smoke alarm.

“Perhaps a home is achieving the 18 degrees Celsius threshold without ceiling insulation, so then why install it?”

Van Blerk says a far better way to go about making a property healthy and comfortable is to establish a standard and let landlords make whatever changes are necessary to achieve that standard.

“It’s not about how many heat pumps, insulation and glazing people can sell, it’s about the health and comfort of the people in the property.”

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Self-funded upwards of a quarter of a million dollars so far by majority shareholder and CEO, Brandon van Blerk, Tether is a tech start-up company that offers a turnkey, full-stack solution – which includes sensor installation and software integration – that monitors home and work environment for landlords, property managers, maintenance managers, employers, tenants and home owners.

The other shareholders are software developers Jordan Clist (chief technology officer) and Andrew Smith (lead developer). Leading green buildings expert and passive house consultant, Rochelle Payne (Ade) – an accredited professional in LEED, BREEAM, Green Star NZ and Homestar – is an equity shareholder. Board members are Stephen Reid and Bevan Adin.

The idea for Tether EnviroQ started in July 2017. By October 2017 the company had its first prototype and signed its first contract with Tamaki Regeneration in February 2018, before being rolled out to Housing New Zealand properties in June 2018.

Based in Auckland, Tether has three permanent employees and six contractors (three electronics engineers, a mobile developer, a UI and UX designer and a software developer).


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