Countries around the world have pledged to reduce their energy consumption and become energy neutral by 2050. To get there, they will have to find smart ways to decarbonise especially polluting companies, including the construction sector. The push to clean up the built environment has spawned many policies, as well as overlapping acronyms, including energy neutral buildings (NZEBs) and Zero Emission Buildings (ZEBs).
In the EU a ZEB requirement expected to start in January 2030 for all new buildings. Likewise the US Department of Energy said it will retrofit new federal buildings over 5,000 square feet by 2030. South Korea is also take measures reduce emissions in the construction sector by retrofitting buildings and strengthening ZEB requirements for new buildings up to 2030.
buildings are an important source of air, water and noise pollution. The the whole process of the built environment — including material production, construction, heating and electricity, maintenance and demolition, causes an estimated 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The high environmental costs and looming deadlines inspired Energy X, a Seoul-based startup and marketplace that “enables the construction of zero-energy buildings” from architectural design to construction completion.
Energy X was founded in 2019 by co-CEOs Sean Park and Tom Hong. That’s when the duo flipped from their first startup – a sustainable architecture crowdfunding platform called Xquare.
The outfit is already working with a host of clients, including large conglomerates looking to retrofit their buildings in South Korea, such as Hyundai, Naver and Lotte, Park told londonbusinessblog.com. The users of Energy X include building owners, construction companies and architects.
Since its inception in 2019, the startup says it has closed 573 deals worth an estimated 1.6 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in terms of construction costs for sustainable architecture – such as zero-energy buildings and LEED (Leadership in Energy) certified and environmental design) buildings. Some projects are still underway and others have already been completed, Park said.
There are plenty of other hardware stores locally. Procore, a construction engineering unicorn, went public in 2021and Aconex, an Australian-based construction platform, was acquired by Oracle in 2017 for $1.2 billion. In the field of energy efficiency technology, Energy X Enpal’s colleagues include, which raised a Series C of $174 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion in 2021and Uplight, which one received undisclosed funding in 2021 at a valuation of $1.5 billionPark said.
In addition to hosting a marketplace to develop energy-efficient buildings, Energy X says it is working on solar energy and energy-saving technology, including BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaic cells) for energy production, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) for energy savings, and BEMS (building power management systems) for power management, Park explained. More than half of Energy X’s employees focus on energy technologies for the R&D team, Park added.
“Most building owners are not building management experts and don’t know how to use it because building energy management systems (BEMS) are software-based,” said Park. In addition to the marketplace, “Energy X offers cloud-based BEMS where our AI manages, maintains and optimizes the system at all times without always having to monitor, manage or control directly,” said Park.
The Seoul-based startup secured $20.3 million in Series B funding at a valuation of $120 million, Park told londonbusinessblog.com.
The new round, led by Shinhan Asset Management, brings the startup’s total funding to about $31.5 million. The funds will help Energy X expand its marketplace and energy efficiency technology, grow its team from 86 to 114 employees this year and launch in Japan, Park said. The startup will open an office in Japan in February, Park added.