This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori
Satellite Vu has raised a £3.6m (US$5m) seed round led by Seraphim Capital to launch the world’s first satellite constellation capable of imaging the thermal footprint of any building on the planet every 1-2 hours. The seed round, which was multiple times oversubscribed, was also supported by A/O PropTech - Europe’s largest Proptech venture capital firm - alongside other specialist investors including Ridgeline Ventures, the Earth Science Foundation, E2MC Ventures and Stellar Solutions.
London, UK based Satellite Vu was founded in 2016 to use satellite technology to address global challenges. The company claims it will be able to monitor the temperature of any building on the planet in near real-time using a new satellite technology to determine valuable insights into economic activity, energy efficiency and carbon footprint. Satellite Vu will effectively provide the Earth’s Smart Energy Meter in Space. They have also been backed by the UK Space Agency through its National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) to support the build of the infrared sensor for its first satellite.
Satellite Vu’s constellation of miniaturized satellites will use high-resolution infrared cameras to collect temperature data day and night about both the natural and built environment. Being less than 1/10th of the size and cost of other infrared imaging satellites, Satellite Vu is unique in being able to measure the heat signature of any building anywhere multiple times a day. This enables Satellite Vu to derive new insights about both the building and how it is being used.
Satellite Vu claims to offer the most efficient and scalable means of monitoring assets for thermal efficiency which is targeted at the building envelope. A building’s envelope design
efficiency is essential to energy-efficient building design as it helps regulate the building’s temperature, thereby reducing reliance on mechanical HVAC systems to heat or cool our
buildings. A thermally efficient building envelope reduces energy consumption and costs as well as increases comfort levels for occupants.
The temperature data Satellite Vu collects can quickly pinpoint the worst energy-wasting buildings such that investment in energy efficiency measures can be deployed based on measurement data. “This ground-breaking and timely technology will, for the first time, allow the government and the public to make better and informed decisions on which buildings are a priority to upgrade.” said Anthony Baker CEO of Satellite Vu.
Over the next decade, we need a wave of green building initiatives to help retrofit the entire existing building stock to meet the EU’s 2030 Climate Target Plan. Monitoring and heat mapping data from Satellite Vu could be leveraged to create new opportunities for real estate entrepreneurs and service providers to upgrade and retrofit poorly insulated buildings. There are approximately 220 million buildings across the existing European building stock which were built before 2000 which could be ripe for renovation.
Satellite Vu could also enable the identification of bad actors in the property sector to help regulators enforce new decarbonization laws and identify the worst offending buildings. In urban environments, this is particularly important as cities are struggling to combat the urban heat island effect which is a result of large areas being covered by asphalt as well as buildings that are absorbing sunlight and radiating heat.
While the launch of the company’s first satellite is not anticipated until December 2022
and the company will still need tens of millions in cash to get off the ground, this startup could potentially be a key enabler in accelerating decarbonization in the real estate sector.