Intellihot continues to grow after taking root in central Illinois.
Intellihot has been going strong since 2009, when founders Sridhar Deivasigamani and Sivaprasad Akasam left their positions at Caterpillar to start a company focused on creating energy, space and cost savings through innovative, new heating technologies. Its flagship product was a tankless water heater—which takes up less space and heats water on demand, rather than storing it in a standby tank.
Seven years later, Deivasigamani says Intellihot has quadrupled its manufacturing space and grown its workforce 15-fold, effectively expanding its vision and impact nationwide as a formidable force in the commercial, residential and industrial markets.
The company got its start at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, which Deivasigamani credits for helping jumpstart its success. “Our company has been very fortunate that we’ve had all these really talented and willing people who wanted to help,” he explains. “Peoria NEXT was one of them… [They] facilitated with helping our lab setup, giving exposure to numerous other entrepreneurs and inventors.”
Having gone from proof-of-concept to commercial product in just 18 months, Intellihot moved to the Sustainable Business Center in Galesburg to find space to grow—and quickly did just that. Beginning with two models of its tankless water heater, the company now has 14 models focused on large-scale commercial use, in addition to a residential unit that doubles as a space heater, capable of heating homes as large as 2,000 to 4,000 square feet.
Intellihot water heaters can be found in hospitals, hotels, stadiums and apartment complexes, including local businesses and the federal prison in Pekin. The company recently installed water heaters at 340 on the Park in Chicago, a 62-story high-rise residential building—and they have been well received. “It’s the first anywhere in the U.S. that an on-demand device is powering a skyscraper,” Deivasigamani notes. “We’ve heard from residents that their water temperature is very consistent… our equipment looks good and is extremely efficient.”
Return on Investment
Intellihot water heaters can provide tremendous cost savings for customers, Deivasigamani says; they are easy to install, and return on investment is nearly immediate. “Our products have the capability to cut capital costs almost in half, and operational costs anywhere from 30 to 70 percent… And if [customers] end up using our products [to replace traditional tank heaters], they actually start to save money—or not spend money—from day one.”
In terms of energy savings, Intellihot has made significant strides in its seven years of business: Deivasigamani notes the company’s sales to date have saved the equivalent of 800,000 vehicles in emissions reductions. That’s because, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are eight to 34 percent more efficient than traditional storage-based heaters. “We have found ways to heat and deliver the water [only] when you need it,” Deivasigamani says. “So it’s a completely different way of thinking.”
An Expansive Vision
Intellihot continues to grow each year, including an expanded office at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, where it carries on research and development activities. By keeping operations local, Deivasigamani is giving back to the communities that played a huge part in his company’s success. “The impact of Peoria NEXT and the Sustainable Business Center [in Galesburg] really goes beyond simply enabling a company like ours to grow and succeed. It’s having an impact on a broader scale and society at large.”
According to Deivasigamani, Intellihot is always looking for curious, ambitious people eager to join the company in bringing its expansive vision to fruition. “We don’t like to make small improvements—we like to redefine things,” he declares. “We are looking to create that type of fundamental change in the energy sector.” iBi
To learn more about Intellihot’s water heaters, visit intellihot.com.