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The Challenge

Millions of families live in older multifamily buildings that are extremely costly to operate and maintain. Building owners spend huge amounts of resources fixing crumbling facades and old carbon-spewing heating. The planet pays the price and so do residents – in higher utility bills, poor ventilation, and dangerously high and low temperatures in the summer and winter months.

Barriers to retrofitting include high costs with little return on investment for property owners. An even greater hurdle is the fact that the buildings are occupied. On-site construction and rehabilitation create major disruptions in residents’ lives, who often must be relocated during major retrofits.

How it Works

Thinking Outside the Box integrates a new heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) system powered by electricity into an insulated outer shell. The shell is anchored to the building using prefabricated modular panels that can be customized to reflect a community’s culture and aspirations. The retrofit occurs on the exterior of the building, so residents can remain in their homes while the work occurs.

Hydronic Shell will pilot its technological approach on a section of a four-wing multifamily property in Syracuse, N.Y. The team aims to show how their sustainable innovation is a scalable turnkey solution for replacing soon-to-be-obsolete boiler systems, decarbonizing and modernizing thousands of multifamily buildings, and creating healthier, more comfortable homes for residents.

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Pitching at the National Building Museum was incredibly inspirational. The history and grandeur of the building made us feel the importance of the moment. Winning the challenge gives us the funding and technical support we need to prove we can solve the problem of substandard living conditions through innovation.
David Goldstein, Hydronic Shell Technologies Founder & CEO