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6 European startups building solutions for more sustainable homes

One of the most important areas of intervention for a more sustainable future is the building and construction sector. It’s an industry responsible for the spaces we enjoy on a daily basis but it’s responsible for about 40% of global energy use, 30% of global carbon emissions, and immense waste generation.

At the same time that the industry is under pressure to become more sustainable, it’s struggling to keep up with our growing and rapidly changing world. Building homes and cities isn’t an overnight process, and the industry is now a pivotal moment of change.

With the climate and energy crisis emerging as hot topics on a daily basis, investments in sustainable solutions for building & living are gaining even more importance. Investors have not only realized that but see the sustainability in the building sector as a real triple bottom line opportunity that outsizes potential for people, planet and profit, and many invest in green building projects directly.

European startups are creating innovative solutions to help make a greener construction industry. Here, after doing considerable research on the sector, we introduce you to 6 startups that are making a genuine impact and that we think will have an interesting year ahead.

INDRESMAT® logoIndresmat: Founded in 2017 and based between Barcelona and Geleen in the Netherlands, Indreesmat focuses on reducing the direct and indirect CO2 emissions of buildings and houses. It does this by improving thermal insulation performance while decreasing the carbon footprint of the used materials. The startup has developed two key products: KLIMA-PUR and SAFE-PUR. KLIMA-PUR is their first circular economy-marked product, as well as a new energy-saving framing material for windows and doors. It aims to reduce building and house energy consumption by 25% while providing a low carbon footprint window. SAFE-PUR is an insulation foam that aims to reduce building and house energy consumption while increasing fire safety and protecting human health.

MAGNOTHERM logoMagnoTherm Solutions: A spin-out from the Technical University of Darmstadt, MagnoTherm develops and builds highly-efficient and sustainable cooling as well as heating solutions based on magnetic materials. Magnetic cooling has the capability to be up to 40% more efficient than conventional gas compression cooling and heating solutions. In addition, it is compliant with the current and future EU f-gas regulation standards, with no global warming potential, no ozone depletion potential, and no direct CO2 emissions. Founded in 2019, MagnoTherm’s solution earned an EIC Accelerator grant of €2.5 million. Further, with minor changes, the cooling solution can be adapted to function as a heat pump. 

Carbon Instead: Berlin-based Carbon Instead aims to reduce the carbon footprint of construction materials by turning them into long-term carbon stores, incorporating waste-based biochar into their composition. Biochar is obtained through pyrolysis, a process in which biomass is modified to isolate the carbon contained in biogenic waste matter. This creates a valuable raw material that traps CO2 and can be embedded in products with long and durable lives, such as buildings. Carbon Instead’s product is a porous material which not only has an improved CO2 footprint, but also high surface area and strength. Additionally, their solution improves the insulation and hydration properties of concrete and mortar. Founded in 2020, Carbon Instead offers building owners, architects and civil engineers building materials tailored to their needs, which have up to 20% better CO2 balance at almost the same cost.

Block solutions Oy logoBlockSolutions Oy: Finnish startup BlockSolutions is developing eco-friendly ‘block-modules’ that can be used to make safe, durable and affordable homes on a globally-scalable basis. The blocks can either contain 50% organic fibres and 50% recycled plastics, or, can be made up of locally-available raw materials. The resulting blocks can then build houses modularity – meaning they can be set up quickly and dismantled and rebuilt as well – and the product’s carbon footprint is close to zero. The startup is therefore fostering local well-being in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner. BlockSolutions offers a sustainable licensing business concept with training, technical and commercial support and an opportunity for a profitable, sustainable and environmentally friendly business. 

Aisti logoAISTI: Founded in 2019, AISTI is developing wood fiber-based acoustic tiles that are carbon negative, easy to recycle and plastic-free – bringing sustainability to construction tile by tile. Based in Finland, AISTI’s tiles can be used instead of existing (stone and glass wool) products by construction companies to reduce their carbon footprints without any cost impact. In addition, the Aisti tiles cause no irritation during installation or use.  In 2022 the startup secured €1.6 million and its first customers have already been obtained from large architectural firms and the demo tiles have been well received by developers and construction companies.

011h: Founded in 2020, 011H’s aim is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable building development. Its way of working not only means the buildings created are more sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly, but also results in cheaper costs, shorter execution times, and better overall reliability. The construction industry has been transforming recently – perhaps slower to the digital transformation than other sectors, it’s now starting to catch up and 011h is helping drive the transition, putting productivity, sustainability and efficiency to the forefront. The Barcelona-based startup was founded by Lucas Carné and José Manuel Villanueva and has already raised around €35 million.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

Silvia Nikova
Silvia Nikova
Silvia holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomolecular Engineering and a master's degree in Risk Assessment and Sustainability Management. Her strong interest in Sustainable Development motivated her to work in the field of international cooperation for Sustainable Development. Silvia is currently working as a Startup Relations and Communications Manager supporting international startups in the field of Sustainable Chemistry. She believes that sustainability is essential in entrepreneurship from the beginning, generating an economic opportunity while also creating a positive impact on society and the environment.

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