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May 16, 2024 51 mins

HVAC is one of the most important quality of life utilities that we never think about– at least, until it stops working. It’s also energy inefficient and expensive, responsible for almost 20% of global GHG emissions, with decades-old infrastructure way behind the design innovation curve. 

But Dr. Vince Romanin has a solution: reimagine HVAC as we know it by combining personal heating and cooling in one, easy-to-install electrified heat pump that reduces emissions by 95% – the Gradient system. 

After earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and heat transfer from Berkeley, Vince worked as a development engineer at otherlab. It was there that he recognized the world-changing potential of innovative HVAC to decarbonize infrastructure while improving lives, and in 2021 he co-founded Gradient with the goal of building a better air source heat pump.  

Hear why CEO Vince Romanin took to engineering at such a young age, what it takes to launch a clean tech startup, and how Gradient’s technology could change the world.

Episode Highlights

00:00 Dr. Vince Romanin on making HVAC exciting and cutting emissions

00:54 Conor Gaughan introduces Vince Romanin and Gradient

04:51 Early influences, model rockets, and engineering at Dayton

08:59 GE internship, thermodynamics at Berkeley, and climate change

15:22 Joining otherlab and recognizing the potential in HVAC

19:05 Launching Gradient and the two problems it solves

25:48 Fundraising, product prototyping, and a unique user experience

30:44 Why use heat pumps, decarbonizing infrastructure, and the TAM

38:41 Workforce development, sustainability, and creating impact 

44:11 Interesting climate breakthroughs to watch 

48:58 Where to learn more and end credits

If you liked this episode, listen next to Matt Rogers of Mill Industries on Food Waste, Impactful Product Design, and Innovation OR ​​Manik Suri of GlacierGrid on Transformative Tech, Automating Energy Use, and Cold Chain 2.0

More on Gradient and Vince:

Connect with Conor Gaughan on and

Have questions, or a great idea for a potential guest? Email us at

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Consensus in Conversation is a podcast by Consensus Digital Media produced in association with Reasonable Volume.

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