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Entrepreneur's solution to radiator extremes

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Temperatures are dropping. So it is time to crank the heat up, right? But what about that age-old New York City dilemma when you live in an old building and the radiator overheats or won't get hot enough? A local start-up claims to have found the solution.

When Marshall Cox was a Ph.D. student at Columbia University, he had no control of the radiators in his apartment and as a result he sweated through a lot of winters.

"This is an enormous problem for buildings and people have been looking for solutions for a long time," he said.

It got him thinking: what if individual tenants in prewar buildings could regulate steam radiators that are often controlled centrally by landlords? He came up with an interesting solution.

"This cover is designed to stop hot air from rising, and these fans pull heat out of the enclosure and heat the room up," he said, demonstrating the device.

The idea seems simple, and Cox said it is. It won him the 2012 MIT Clean Energy prize and $250,000 to start his company, Radiator Labs.

This winter he'll pilot the so-called radiator cozies at NYU and Columbia dorms. He eventually plans to sell them for under $300 each.

"When you talk about saving energy this saves an enormous amount of energy," he said.

There is one catch: you won't be able to get one of these this winter, but the team does hope to have it on the market for consumers by fall 2014.

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