Nine European start-ups, including a company focused on energy management in buildings, are to receive funding of 4 million euros ($4.76 million) from an organization supported by the European Union.
German firm Dabbel will get 320,000 euros from EIT Climate-KIC, which is backed by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, an EU body. The company has developed technology that uses artificial intelligence to take control of building systems related to heating, ventilation, air conditioning – known as HVAC – and shading.
According to the company, its tech can help to cut a "building's HVAC energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 40%."
Another business to receive funding – which is intended to help recipients recover from issues brought about by the coronavirus pandemic – is France-based Everimpact, which will also receive 320,000 euros.
Its "climate monitoring platform" harnesses a range of data from traffic, satellites, buildings, sensors and internet of things devices.
This information is then used to provide clients – which include businesses and cities – with information related to greenhouse gas emissions.
In a statement issued Friday, Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, said its team had chosen ventures that would, "significantly contribute to building back better – maximizing the opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation and introduce sustainable solutions – and ventures that can achieve significant milestones in crisis prevention and resilience given the likelihood of further shocks."
The use of technology to monitor metrics such as energy consumption within buildings is not a new idea.
At the smaller end of the scale, smart meters can be installed in private homes to monitor people's energy consumption in real time, enabling them to adjust their behavior and, in theory, save money.
Major firms are also getting in on the act. Back in April, Finland's state-owned research center VTT announced the launch of the "KEKO" project, which aims to use data to boost the productivity and sustainability of buildings. Founding members of the scheme include Nokia and elevator and escalator firm KONE.
The effect of buildings on the environment is significant. According to a report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, International Energy Agency and the UN Environment Programme, building construction and operations were, globally, responsible for 36% of final energy use in 2018.
Published last December, the Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction also stated that, worldwide, the sector accounted for 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2018.