‘We understand the pain points of consumers and address them with our solutions’

Energy efficient water heating solutions provider Blutherm is known for its efficiency in the hospitality and premium residential sector. Rajesh Sachdev, CEO, Blutherm believes in catering to the real need of the customers than bringing cheap products. In an exclusive interview with Tejaswini Paranjape, he shares his deep insights on the technology used in their solutions, their viability in the evolving Indian market and how they are poised to create benchmarks in the industry.

Q1 How do you make your presence strong in the commercial space?
Currently, our strength lies in the residential and hospitality sectors. That’s because our solutions are space-saving, time-saving, and energy-saving. These solutions are curated and brought in from countries like Germany and Switzerland which involves a premium price level attached to it. Hence, when a customer looks at it from a commercial space angle, he may not find it suiting his ROI principles. But these thoughts do not occur when the customer designs his residence because he is willing to spend a little more to get the perfect indoor solutions. The same applies to the hospitality sector where the prime focus is on customer experience and satisfaction. That’s the reason why our products cater more to the premium residential and hospitality sectors.

Q2 Could you elaborate more on the functionality of your brands in the hospitality sector?
Specifically, in the hospitality space, we are promoting the water heating range of our German brand Clage. Typically, hotels have to account for huge, centralised heating systems, that give their guests the pleasure of unlimited hot water at their disposal. However this comes at a very high energy, space, and capital cost. The same customer experience can be achieved through our compact electronic water heaters of Clage, which are fitted in every bathroom, and the moment you put on your shower or your washbasin faucet, you get instant hot water at your desired temperature on demand. This decentralised approach adds immense value to the hospitality sector. For example, if you have an occupancy rate of 30% on any particular month or day, you don’t need to heat the entire property’s water. Let’s say you have 100 hospital or hotel rooms, irrespective of whether only five rooms or 50 rooms are being booked, you don’t need to heat the entire water system. This becomes veryefficient for energy saving and thus is an economical solution.

Q3 Could you shed some light on the various collaborations with brands like Clage, Helios and Claroswiss? Are there any challenges in this kind of collaboration?
The solutions these companies offer are very new and unique for India, but it is not as much for the countries of their origin. Clage is a 70 year old company of Germany, and is at the forefront of innovation and technology in the field of electronically controlled tankless water heaters. This collaboration enables us to provide an innovative and satisfying hot water experience to our customers in the most efficient and sustainable way. However the market size for such products is still relatively small as it requires a good electric infrastructure. This limits the scope of these solutions to major metro cities. Similarly, Helios, a 100 year old ventilation company from Germany, helps us provide ventilation solutions. When you go to any hotel, the rooms are all packed and the windows can’t be opened, as it’s an air-conditioned room. So, they need to bring in fresh air from somewhere to make their guests stay in a pleasant environment.

The same holds true for residences and offices where you want to have an environment free of outdoor pollutants and noise and wish to keep your indoor space fresh and in pristine living conditions. Thus, you need a solution in which fresh air can be brought into your place. So, Helios has a whole house ventilation system where filtered fresh air is introduced and stale air is extracted simultaneously without increasing the conditioned indoor room temperature, resulting in maximum comfort and healthy living. For these products, we are mainly targeting premium residential homes, and small commercial offices of approximately five to seven thousand squarefeet.

Q4 As you deal in energy-efficient solutions, could you elaborate on what kind of technology you are using and how they are contributing to sustainability?
The technology in our ventilation systems has a unique motor technology that is called electronic commutating motors (EC motors). These motors can be compared to the
efficiency that LED light technology brought to the light industry. EC motors consume much lower energy compared to conventional motors, and they can be infinitely controlled vide sensors and potentiometers over 0-10 volts, which can be integrated with automation. This is very helpful, especially in places where your ventilation systems run 24X7 & contribute heavily to your load. The EC motors make it extremely energy efficient while running the
Our Clage range of water heating solutions contributes through their class A certification, which I would say would be more efficient than the five-star rating that we have in India. These systems work via a unique microprocessor system that’s similar to an inverter AC system where it doesn’t heat the temperature to a level where you need to mix cold water, but it heats the water only to the level that you are comfortable resulting in a very huge energy efficient solution.

Q5 Do you also specifically collaborate with interior designers or architects in creating sustainable solutions?
Typically, our products are showcased to the end users or customers through an architect or a designer. They introduce our product concepts to their clients and if the clients wish, then they will incorporate them into their homes. At the end of the day, architects and influencers play a very important role in bringing forth our solutions to the client and hence are one of the biggest pillars and strengths of our industry, that’s why we call them doctors of our industry. Clients generally do not know all these kinds of systems and solutions exist.
Interior designers also hold us responsible for the working efficiency of the product. Thus, it works both ways, for the customer who gets what he’s paying for and the architect and interior designers also keep us in check.

Q6 How & why are tankless water heaters more efficient vis a vis heaters with tanks?
There are two types of heating systems, one is the storage water heater system that comes with a tank, which has an element inside and a thermostat inside. The thermostat senses the temperature and switches off when it reaches a particular temperature. For example, if you are using a water heater having a 25-litre capacity, the showers typically have flow rates in the range of 8 to 10 litres a minute. So, if you are having a five-minute bath, you need at least 40 or 50 litres of hot water to have a bath. Logically, if you have a 25-litre tank, it will mix another 25 litres of cold water which will give you your ideal water temperature.

For a 25-litre storage-type water heater, you will need to first preheat 25 minutes before going to have a bath. If we take Bombay’s climate where the ambient temperature for water is in the range of 28 or 29 degrees centigrade, then when you have a bath you have it at 40 degrees centigrade. So effectively, it takes 25 minutes to heat 25 litres of water for you to take a bath. Thus, your electricity consumption is for half an hour due to 25 minutes of preheating and then five minutes of having a bath. Now, in the case of tankless water heaters, there is no preheating required, it instantly heats the water as it passes through it.
So effectively you are saving on the 25 minutes of pre-heating energy consumption!

These tankless water heaters come with higher element ratings, for example, a 25-litre storage water heater will have a two or three-kilowatt heating element inside it. In the case of a tankless water heater, it may have an 11 or 13-kilowatt element inside it & despite that, the tankless water heater will consume less energy compared to the storage type water heaters. Clage goes one step further, where the whole system is controlled electronically, heating the water and not allowing it to overheat. It keeps bringing down the element load to match the temperature of the water, thus it does not give you big electricity bills.

Q7 Could you please highlight your USPs and also your future expansion plans?
Our USP is our products which are extremely energy-efficient and futuristic. The solutions that we are offering are at the top in their respective categories. Also, the products are not just energy efficient, but also user-centric. We have focussed on the overall user experience and the comfort that he’ll feel when he’s using our products.

Our future expansion plans are to focus on the verticals that we are currently present. In water heating, we are currently associated with Clage which works on an electrical system and a fluidic electrical design. Similarly, we have collaborated with a company called Rinnai from Japan, which gives the same efficiency in the gas heaters segment. Nowadays pipeline gas is in vogue, especially in places like Gujarat where you have more villas. Our solutions work using one system taking care of the whole villa or a bungalow. Laundromats need huge amounts of hot water and they typically use big boilers which waste a lot of energy. They also need hot water at very high temperatures. For this, we have collaborated with Rinnai from Japan, who can give you the same tank-less experience which is electronically controlled, but in a gas format.

We are also bringing in multi-energy source heat pumps which are specifically good for places like Delhi and Southern India, where probably the electrical infrastructure is not so strong. They usually have villa systems where centralized heating systems are installed. We are bringing in multi energy source heat pumps, where a single heat pump can be connected to solar and to a backup electrical or a gas system.

These are some of our expansion plans, keeping in mind that our products have to be energy efficient and also user appealing. Rather than bringing cheap products, we will bring solutions understanding the pain points of a consumer and address them.


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