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Scottish startup selected for US based net zero project

Glasgow-based proptech company Arbnco has been selected for participation in a major new Los-Angeles-based building technologies initiative, the Net Zero Accelerator. Of the 13 participants, Arbnco is the only UK-based company, beating more than 80 competitors from across 11 countries.

Left to Right: Simon West, Maureen Eisbrenner and Parag Rastogi of Arbnco.

The accelerator will bring together building technologies to help the Los Angeles region get to zero carbon, zero energy, zero water and zero waste with the deployment of pilots including Arbnco’s energy efficiency technology.

The accelerator will primarily be developing, promoting, and helping to distribute Arbn well, Arbnco’s indoor sensor technology, as part of the initiative’s energy efficiency component, offering opportunities for the company to pair with significant pilot sites throughout the Los Angeles region.

It is not Arbnco’s first venture across the Atlantic; the company opened two offices in California and Michigan and secured a contract with University of California, Davis earlier this year. Its selection for this accelerator is a chance for Arbnco to firmly establish itself in the US market as a developer of building technology to improve health, wellbeing and energy efficiency.

Arbnco will be joining companies from Texas, Hawaii, New York, and California in the inaugural roster of this scheme, intended to provide the resources for a revolution in net-zero building technologies, with a particular focus on addressing market barriers for sustainable building solutions.

The accelerator will run for six months; the initial portion will centre around marketing support and training on how to approach various markets, while the pilot schemes themselves will kick off in mid to late October.

The Net Zero Accelerator is the first initiative of its kind. Conceived by Ben Stapleton, executive director of US Green Building Council LA, the accelerator seeks to identify net-zero building technologies, and boost market entry with the assistance of industry experts, sustained marketing, and pilot opportunities with partner development sites.

More than 25 expert building owners/operators, large corporates, investors, utilities, and industry experts have committed to the project. The Net Zero Accelerator has the specific goals of achieving net zero carbon, energy, water, and waste.

Neal Anderson, director of the accelerator, and former co-founder of the LA Cleantech Incubator says of the companies involved: “We're excited to help them overcome market-entry barriers often encountered by new technologies, and pair them with the green building experts and significant pilot sites throughout the Los Angeles region to see results before the new year, and keep the momentum rolling.”

Net-zero buildings are defined as buildings that have zero net energy consumption, producing approximately the same amount of renewable energy as is used by the building over the course of a year. Net-zero technologies assist in achieving this, operating in areas such as water conservation/control, waste diversion and reuse, and energy efficiency.

Net-zero technologies significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and offer property owners a chance to make substantial savings in the long run through cumulative reduced energy costs, enough to comfortably offset the initial investment.

Net-zero goals are a significant focus for the building industry currently. Scotland announced in May that it is targeting net-zero by 2045, and Arbnco’s home city of Glasgow is aiming to be the first net-zero city in Britain. Arbnco is bringing together academics, cutting edge research, and precision engineering from across the globe to help LA and Scotland in leading the charge towards a transatlantic net-zero future.

Arbn Well is a sensor technology that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of building occupants through monitoring the built environment. The sensors track metrics such as CO2 levels, temperature, humidity, and lighting in real-time in order to ensure consistent occupant comfort and health, and optimise the energy performance of the building.

Arbn Well can be coupled with occupant feedback to learn the parameters for each specific building, eventually removing the need for human input entirely. Along with Arbn Well, the accelerator will involve Arbn Insight, a platform developed to manage operational energy performance in buildings, and Arbn Consult, software that delivers fully-costed retrofit improvement strategies for energy efficiency.

Arbnco was co-founded in 2015 by Maureen Eisbrenner and Simon West. Mr West, who currently serves as the company’s director, says: “This unique and innovative new project is a brilliant opportunity; increasingly, as property developers become more environmentally conscious, net-zero technologies are becoming a priority. We are based in Glasgow, which recently expressed the ambition to become the first British net-zero city, and we believe that this project will give us all the necessary resources to stay at the forefront of this effort.

He adds: “This accelerator offers an unprecedented chance for companies to develop and refine technologies that can be at the forefront of future sustainable development. We hope that, through the project’s pilot schemes, Arbnco can invigorate our US market presence, and, in doing so, open up exciting new horizons for us.”

5 September 2019

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