Healthy Buildings Challenge

With Greentown Labs and Saint-Gobain
Supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center

Healthy Buildings Challenge Participants

The Healthy Buildings Challenge—a Greentown Launch program with Saint-Gobain and supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center—is advancing building tech solutions for the health of both people and the climate.

The Healthy Buildings Challenge received 99 applications from 15 countries, representing a range of innovations in building materials, coatings, and envelope systems, as well as digital platforms, monitoring, and supplemental technologies. After a highly competitive recruitment and down selection process, five companies were chosen: 

  • AeroShield (Boston, MA) develops super-insulating, transparent inserts for windows, bringing state-of-the-art thermal comfort and energy savings into buildings at an affordable price.
  • Alkemy Environmental (Somerville, MA) recycles industrial waste streams into structural-grade, lightweight concrete aggregates.
  • Enerbrain (Torino, Italy) develops a Plug&Play IoT solution ready for the market that monitors and controls heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in buildings to make them smarter, healthier, and more sustainable thanks to AI and IoT technologies.
  • InventWood (College Park, MD) creates advanced wood material innovations, including strong yet light “super wood” I-joists that can replace steel I-beams in buildings.
  • Zero (Cambridge, MA) develops automation software that enables hassle-free home retrofits to improve comfort and eliminate emissions.

About the program

Between their construction and operation, buildings in the United States account for almost half of the country’s energy usage. At the same time, a recent UC Berkeley study found that nearly half of office building occupants describe themselves as uncomfortable with their building’s temperature—to say nothing of its other characteristics. People spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors, meaning that building characteristics such as lighting, temperature, air quality, and noise can have a significant impact on health. At a moment when awareness of both occupant wellbeing and climate impact are at an all-time high, we see a pressing need to advance a new generation of buildings that can be considered truly “healthy.”

A healthy building optimizes for both environmental impact and the wellbeing of its occupants. To meet ambitious climate goals and improve building occupant comfort, innovation will play a critical role. The U.S. Green Building Council states that “through sustainable design, construction and operations, green buildings are reducing carbon emissions, energy and waste; conserving water; prioritizing safer materials; and lowering our exposure to toxins.”

Saint-Gobain, MassCEC, and Greentown Labs recognize the significant role that healthy buildings will play in improving the sustainability of our built environment. The Healthy Buildings Challenge is for startups with innovative technologies at the prototype stage and beyond that advance building sustainability and wellbeing for building occupants. Our world needs innovation that can optimize for the health of people and the health of the climate, together.