Heat Seek, the winner of the NYC BiggApps 2014 contest, is a new web app and sensor hardware that allows tenants and building owners to monitor heating during the winter months.
Sensors in apartments periodically take temperature scans and send readings to the app and its website, where landlords and tenants can both check an easy-to-read graph to make sure that the building is meeting heat requirements.
Tenants would also be able to use the app to show a judge exactly how many times temperatures in their apartments fell below regulation levels, making it easier to punish landlords who violate heat laws.
Last Thursday, Borough President Eric Adams announced that he would be launching a partnership with Heat Seek NYC and starting a pilot program, which will bring the technology into at least ten Brooklyn apartment buildings.
Adams also announced that he would be using the technology in his own three-family building at 320-322 Bergen St., where he will use the Heat Seek app to ensure that he is “evenly dividing heat throughout the building.”
“Heat Seek NYC is an incredible technology that allows good landlords to see where they're losing heat, and holds bad landlords accountable to their tenants,” Adams said. “We're telling landlords who are playing games with their tenants, 'Hey the heat is on.’”
The NYC BigApps competition is hosted by the Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and Director of Policy and Planning James Katz said that technology like Heat Seek is a perfect example of what the city hopes to get out of the challenge.
“Heat Seek NYC's technology to reduce heating violations is exactly the type of innovation that this administration and NYCEDC hope to encourage,” Katz said. “Heat Seek NYC solves a serious issue for New Yorkers, making the city a safer, more livable and more equitable place.”
During the pilot program, the installation of the Heat Seek technology will be free for participating building owners.
One participant in the pilot program is the Carroll Gardens Association. Community planner Ben Fuller-Googins noted the importance of the technology for lower-income communities.
“Heat Seek will ensure not only comfort for our tenants, but also provide important cost savings to help us continue our work,” Fuller-Googins said. “It's a win-win for our tenants and the broader affordable housing community.”
After the pilot program, Adams said he will push for legislation that will force landlords with high numbers of heat violations to pick up the bill for installing the technology in their buildings.
“If they are on the list with a serious number of violations that have been substantiated, I believe that they should pick up the cost of the installation of the device,” he said.