One of the amazing facts that have emerged in recent years – especially as VCs and startups have turned their attention to the climate crisis – is that our cities produce a huge amount of CO2: in fact, buildings are responsible for about 40% of global CO2 emissions. But the problem, of course, is that cities are unlikely to stop building and growing.
Some estimates say that if global urban growth continues at its current pace, we would build a New York City every month for the next 40 years. So if we could reduce this amount or convert this growth to ‘net zero’ (or better), we would do a lot to alleviate the looming and catastrophic effects of climate change. That is why we see so many new climate funds appearing that focus on the built environment.
A big part of this problem is that concrete and steel are simply not sustainable materials, unlike wood, for example.
Utilities, “011u“, based in Barcelona, thinks it may have the answer.
Currently, the construction processes that use manual labor and sustainable materials are not going to waste, so if you can standardize and digitize the construction process to make it repeatable and scalable (says 011h) while shifting sustainable materials, such as mass of wood – you can allow architects, builders, developers and investors to make net zero buildings faster, cheaper and more sustainable.
It all sounds nice in theory, but in fact 011h says it has already completed such a project with Renta Corporación, a listed developer, reducing the building’s ’embodied carbon’ by more than 90% compared to conventional methods, while construction timelines were shortened by 35%. This has led to the realization of three more major projects.
Undoubtedly, partly as a result of this, 011h has now raised a significant €25 million in Series A financing. The funding round was led by Redalpine, accompanied by Seaya Andromeda and Breega, with participation from the likes of Aldea Ventures. Past investors also joined the round, including Giuseppe Zocco, Foundamental and A/O Proptech, accelerating 011h’s ambition to create a sustainably built world.
The funding will be used to further develop 011h’s platform, building system and team, initially targeting Spain and then internationally.
Lucas Carné, co-founder and co-CEO of 011h, said the impact of reducing the carbon footprint of buildings cannot be underestimated: “If the built-in carbon of every building were reduced by more than 90%, this 10% of the annual global C02 emissions, this corresponds to three gigatons of C02 per year. In real terms, this is almost 2x more carbon than the complete switch from petrol to electric vehicles; and is equivalent to eliminating 1 billion domestic gas boilers,” he told me.
Harald Nieder, General Partner of Redalpine, added in a statement: “At Redalpine, we believe there are huge opportunities around sustainability. In fact, the opportunities are such that we are not looking for marginal improvements to the status quo. We are looking for teams that want to make a real impact, worthy of the global challenges we face Construction is both one of the most unsustainable sectors and one of the least digital and the 011h vision is exactly what we wanted support.”