Technology investments that boost sustainability in the built world

hvac air returns on ceiling of office building

The challenge of pollution and emissions

According to the World Green Building Council, the built world is responsible for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions. Unsurprisingly, energy efficiency and reducing pollutants are top priorities for corporate and commercial real estate right now.

Additionally, pressure to curb emissions is coming from regulators, who are increasingly implementing climate requirements that penalize slow movers. Financial institutions are requiring strict climate disclosures and are being advised by the Federal Reserve to change their investment strategies to better focus on the climate crisis. This confluence of circumstances, combined with public pressure, is prompting unprecedented demand for sustainable corporate and commercial real estate practices. And innovative technologies are key to achieving these goals.

While there are many ways to amplify sustainability initiatives, the three core stages of the built world lifecycle—construction, occupancy, and demolition/disposal—are where technology can make the biggest impact. That’s why the venture capital arm of JLL Technologies, JLL Spark, is investing in cutting-edge technologies in these areas that will help the commercial real estate industry thwart climate change.

Construction

Construction is, by its very nature, a messy process. It creates literal tons of waste material. Plus, the machines, tools, and vehicles used in construction emit or create pollution. Construction technology (contech) can make erecting buildings more efficient—in energy and in costs. JLL Spark has invested in two startups with promising tech: Juno and Veev, which will reduce waste and cut emissions.

Juno is a component-based design process that simplifies and automates how buildings are created. By managing the supply chain and working with material fabricators, Juno ensures each building is created energy-efficiently and cost-effectively.

Veev focuses primarily on residential buildings and provides pre-inspected, fully cladded walls, complete with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components already included, thus streamlining the complex homebuilding process down to a plug-and-play system.

In addition, Spark invested in INGENIOUS.BUILD, which enables collaboration between all construction project teams with real-time data. The company also invested in ALICE Technologies, which offers AI-powered contech that simulates all aspects of building construction—down to the number of cranes needed—and then calculates the most efficient way to construct the building.

Occupancy

The second area where tech can impact sustainability efforts is building occupancy. Many buildings around the world are old, built with archaic technologies that don’t curb emissions or improve efficiency. Spark has invested heavily in two companies that can be used with buildings old and new to optimize efficiency and improve sustainability: Infogrid and Turntide Technologies.

Infogrid’s capitalizes on internet of things devices and AI to drive reductions in cost and energy needs in buildings around the world. Infogrid systems measure energy usage and CO2 levels against the number of people in a building and allow you to make adjustments that favorably impact your sustainability scores and operating costs.

Turntide tackles one of the largest emitters and costs in existing buildings today: energy use. Replacing traditional HVAC motors with Turntide’s Smart Motor System enables you to slash building energy costs by an average of 64%.

Demolition/disposal

Demolition and disposal are major contributors to pollution and waste. Whenever possible, buildings should be repurposed and transformed—especially considering the hefty cost and harsh environmental impact of new construction. That’s where technology comes in.

Spark has partnered with ecoworks, a platform that enables seamless renovations to transform deteriorating and carbon-inefficient residential buildings into reinforced and eco-friendly structures. Fewer buildings are demolished, less waste is created, and the impact on the climate is reduced by eliminating needless new construction.

Conclusion

We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of technologies that will reduce waste, emissions, and pollution in the real estate industry—tech that can eliminate the need for new construction or expensive retrofitting. There will undoubtedly be many more innovative companies whose tech will transform these three stages of the built world lifecycle and make the industry more sustainable, and JLL Spark is excited to partner with the entrepreneurs creating them.

Want to know more about how tech can increase sustainability? Speak with an expert today.