One of the stunning facts that’s emerged over the last few years -- especially as VCs and startups have turned their attention toward the climate crisis -- is that our cities produce an enormous amount of CO2: In fact, buildings are responsible for around 40% of global CO2 emissions. But of course, the problem is that cities are unlikely to stop building, and growiing.
Some estimates say that if global urban growth continues at its current pace, then we’d build a New York City every month for the next 40 years. So if we could reduce this amount or transition, this growth to "net zero" (or better), we'd would do to a lot alleviate the impending, and disastrous, affects of climate change. This is why we are seeing so many new climate funds appear, which are concentrating on the built environment.
A large part of this problem is that concrete and steel are just not sustainable materials, unlike (say) timber.
Now, "011h", based out of Barcelona, thinks it might have the answer.
Currently, the building processes that use manual labor and usustainalble materials don't pass muster, so if you can standardize and digitize the building process to make it repeatable and scalable (says 011h) while shifting sustainable materials -- like mass timber -- you can allow architects, builders, developers and investors to make net-zero buildings faster, cheaper and more sustainable.
It all sounds lovely in theory, but in fact 011h says it has already completed such a project with Renta Corporación, a publicly traded developer, where the "embodied carbon" of the building was reduced by more than 90% compared to conventional methods, while construction timelines were reduced by 35%. This has led to three more major projects being commissioned.
No doubt partly as a result of this, 011h has now raised a significant €25 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by Redalpine, accompanied by Seaya Andromeda and Breega, with the participation of Aldea Ventures, among others. Previous investors also joined the round, including Giuseppe Zocco, Foundamental and A/O Proptech, which accelerates 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 focusing on Spain, then internationally.
Lucas Carné, co-founder and co-CEO of 011h, said the impact of reducing the carbon footprint of building can’t be iunderestimated: “If the embodied carbon of every building were reduced by more than 90%, this would reduce 10% of annual global CO2 emissions, this is equivalent to three gigatonnes of CO2 every year. In real terms, this is almost 2x more carbon than completely transitioning 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 that there are massive opportunities around sustainability. In fact, the opportunities are such that we are not looking for marginal improvements of the status quo. We are looking for teams that are aiming to have a real impact, worthy of the global challenges we are facing. Construction is both one of the most unsustainable industries and one of the least digital and the 011h vision is exactly what we were looking to support.”