Published date: 2021/07
Construction ESG data firm Vizcab raises EUR1.2mn from Banque des Territoires and Europe’s largest proptech VC, A/O PropTech to launch new products
Vizcab will use monies raised to launch new platform Filtr, which will provide environmental product declaration (EPD) for construction industries.
Filtr will produce environmental data scores which will be graded much like food warning labels for sugars and fats, giving everyone involved easily processed insight into how sustainable construction products are
Lyon-based Vizcab, founded in 2015, already counts French construction giant Vinci as one of its clients
French scale-up Vizcab, which provides data-driven carbon reduction technology to the construction industry, has raised a further EUR1.2 million from Banque des Territoires and Europe’s largest proptech VC, A/O PropTech.
Banque des Territoires and A/O PropTech had initially invested EUR1.6 million via a Series-A to accelerate the development of Vizcab.
Vizcab will use the monies raised for the launch of Filtr, a new platform which will provide and promote a range of environmental data for construction products.
The importance of environmental data for construction is only growing as governments around the world implement regulations aimed at improving building sustainability.
In France, new environmental regulations for new buildings (RE2020) will come into place from January 1, 2021. Its major challenge is to significantly reduce the building's carbon emissions, including the embodied impacts.
In the UK, the government has adopted the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) recommendations that decarbonising the UK’s housing stock will be vital if the UK is to meet its legally-binding net-zero targets by 2050. Policymakers have drawn up new building regulations to ensure new-build homes built from this year are more energy-efficient.
Technology such as Vizcab’s Filtr will be crucial in helping construction firms slash their environmental impact.
What Filtr does
The Filtr platform will automate the generation of environmental declaration sheets, and propose a score to provide transparency on the environmental impact of products, much like the warning labels on food in supermarkets that tell you if a sandwich is high in fats.
This is a valuable tool for engineers, architects and owners who must manage the carbon budget of their construction projects, which means they need to understand the impact of the materials used while maintaining the right cost / performance / impact balance.
Why it matters
Construction is still a dirty industry. With ESG ever more important for not only investors but landlords and owners who want to avoid stranded assets in the future, the sector needs to get its house in order, quickly. Technology will be key to making this a possibility.
Complex supply chains and a lack of cohesion have long been a notorious cause of delays and overruns on major projects, with the setbacks costing companies up to 20% more than initial estimates according to a survey undertaken by utility plan supplier Cornerstone Projects.
But, supply-side issues can be eased by technology. Even before construction takes place, construction firms should be accessing as much data as they can get their hands on in order to drive smarter decision-making. The software being developed by companies like Vizcab – which gathers and visualises carbon emission data across a building’s entire lifecycle – has the twin benefits of driving efficient building processes, and allowing for far more in-depth reporting of sustainability data.
Being able to demonstrate ESG credentials of a project will also likely be key in attracting institutional investment in the future. ESG issues are rapidly becoming priorities for some of the world’s largest investors and the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to accelerate these changes in investment strategies.
In 2020, investors plunged nearly four times the amount of cash into responsible investment funds than they did in 2019 - rising from £1.7 billion to £7.1 billion. A separate study reveals that worldwide, the value of global assets applying ESG to drive investment decisions has tripled over eight years to $40.5 trillion.
Being able to accurately calculate embodied carbon will have a radical impact on the approach and strategies of developers, investors and policy makers who up until now have most likely been miscalculating the embodied carbon of their portfolios. It will provide companies with a much more robust way of analysing performance and making decisions.
When thinking about a building’s environmental impact, it is vital to consider the whole life cycle of a building, by breaking down carbon emissions into two categories: operational and embodied. The former is the carbon footprint of running and managing a building on a day-to-day-basis, while the latter encompasses all of the emissions associated with the maintenance, repair, extraction, production and transportation of materials.
There’s increasing recognition of how taking a circular economy approach to design and installation can reduce embodied carbon emissions, for example by designing for disassembly.
Vizcab develops innovative digital solutions to calculate the carbon footprint of the construction sector and is already used by a number of firms, including French construction giant Vin ci. Other users include Ic ade, Egis, Green Soluce, Qualitel, Apave, and Nexity .
Othmane Zrikem, chief data officer at A/O PropTech said: “Without comprehensive data, those trying to reduce their carbon emissions are doing so blindfolded.To ignore the embodied carbon stemming from a building’s construction materials is to ignore up to 40 percent of its total emissions. Vizcab’s Filtr product has the potential to transform our approach to calculating carbon: by accurately determining the environmental impact of every construction product in a whole life cycle assessment and packaging this information in an intuitive digital platform, it gives architects, engineers, developers and policymakers alike the tools they need to start cutting carbon emissions in the right places. At A/O PropTech, we are committed to supporting companies that use data and material science techniques to lead the fight against climate change, and so we’re proud to be supporting Vizcab on their mission to do exactly that.”
Géraldine Welter, deputy director of the Digital Transition department of the Banque des Territoires, said: "The Filtr project will accelerate the production of buildings with low environmental impact and contribute to the implementation of the new RE2020 regulations by providing players in the construction sector with the tools necessary to calculate the carbon footprint. This additional investment by the Banque des Territoires is carried out as part of the economic recovery plan of the Caisse des Dépôts. It is part of its strategy of supporting ecological transition for the benefit of more sustainable and connected territories”,
Vizcab’s Thomas Jusselme said: “Today we do not even know 1% of the environmental impact of the construction products we use. Filtr will be the first technological solution on the market to massify the production of environmental declarations, create a score to give transparency on the impact of products, and finally ensure the referencing of these products within the same platform. "
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