6 Green Building Innovations Making Net Zero Goals Possible
To accommodate housing and industry needs while keeping global warming within 1.5⁰C, 100% of new buildings must be net-zero by 2030. Achieving this goal requires new technology for waste and energy efficiency, and for the decarbonization of construction and building materials. Here are the cutting-edge technologies we’re watching in the race to make built environments sustainable.
Ubiquitous Energy: Photovoltaic Window Coating
What if windows were solar panels? Ubiquitous Energy brings this idea to life with their patented photovoltaic window coating made from photovoltaic cells. The cost-efficient coating is transparent like glass and maintains the same insulation as standard windows, but it absorbs solar energy to generate electricity. It’s currently being used in commercial and residential applications, and Ubiquitous sees potential for use wherever glass panes and windows are used, like greenhouses, smartphones, and vehicles.
Carbon Lighthouse: Energy Efficiency Software & Remote Sensor Technology
Buildings create 40% of emissions in the US. Carbon Lighthouse is on a mission to reduce this impact by profitably decarbonizing the built environment. Making this possible is their energy efficiency software and remote sensor technology, which monitors the carbon and energy efficiency of buildings and delivers it in the form of user-friendly reports with actionable instructions for implementing changes. To date their technology has reduced 584,000 tons of carbon and created $275,000,000 in value for their clients.
Zabble: Waste-Tracking Saas Platform
Achieving zero waste goals is challenging when there are so many types of waste to monitor, especially in a commercial setting. Zabble Inc. uses sensors to measure waste and uses software to provide real-time waste analytics. Their platform makes waste trends clear while helping users eliminate issues related to contamination and identify opportunities for education. In helping to reduce waste, Zabble helps buildings reduce waste management costs.
ByFusion: Bricks Made From Plastic Waste
Over one million tons of plastic is produced each day, and less than 9% is recycled per year. op help tackle the plastic pollution crisis, ByFusion leverages the positives of plastic — it’s resiliency and flexibility — to create building material they call ByBlock®. Plastic waste is collected, shredded, and superheated to make ByBlock®, a diverse and unique indoor-outdoor commercial grade building material. No adhesive or other material is required, the process doesn’t create waste, and building with ByBlock® doesn’t require specialized labor.
CarbonCure: Carbon-Capturing Concrete
Emissions from manufacturing, transporting, and installing building materials will make up nearly half of carbon emissions from new construction over the next three decades. Concrete can make up half of that carbon footprint or more. To shrink this carbon footprint, CarbonCure uses concrete to sequester carbon. The finished concrete product is actually stronger thanks to the addition of carbon. Their technology can be retrofitted into existing concrete plants with no upfront capital costs or interruption to operations.
Dandelion Energy: Geothermal Heating & Cooling
Conventional air conditioning is putting a massive strain on our climate. Natural gas solutions are another option, but they can be costly for homeowners. Dandelion Energy solves these problems with geothermal heating and cooling. Their geothermal system includes a heat pump that circulates warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer. Currently their geothermal services are available in the Northeast United States, where they transition existing homes to their geothermal system. However, their technology shows the potential for geothermal energy to replace costly and carbon-intensive energy sources for residential and commercial buildings in the future.
Hear interviews with leaders in the cleantech, green tech, and sustainability sectors every week on the Bigger Than Us podcast.
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