What’s Next for Building Tech?

IMPEL+, the Building Technologies Office (BTO) of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Greentown Labs Discuss How Collaboration is Key to Getting Building Technologies to Market

“Buildings being built today will still be in use in 2120. How well will they function?”

This question, from Greentown Labs’ Executive Vice President and General Counsel Ryan Dings, is one that countless building tech entrepreneurs are working hard to answer. 

“Homes and buildings use more energy than any other sector in the United States, which is about 40 percent of total energy consumption,” says Mary Hubbard, the Department of Energy (DOE)’s technology-to-market manager. “This leads us to a huge, untapped opportunity for innovation and decarbonization.”

Building tech entrepreneurs are innovating on new architectural materials, industrialized construction, robotics-enabled solutions, digital sensors, and more. Getting these solutions out of the lab and into the market is challenging, however—and that’s why we need public-private collaborations to support these startups.

This year, Greentown is proud to collaborate with IMPEL+ (Incubating Market-Propelled Entrepreneurial-Mindset at the Labs and Beyond) and the DOE Building Technologies Office (BTO) to support building tech startups as they take their technologies from the lab to the market. IMPEL+’s participating startups will have the benefit of engaging with both public and private sector pipelines and will receive access to the networks and experts at Greentown and the Austin Technology Incubator. Greentown is also excited to serve as a Connector for the DOE BTO’s E-ROBOT Prize.

“We think of innovation in buildings as along the ‘3 Ds’—to ‘decarbonize, democratize, and digitalize’ the built environment,” IMPEL+ Program Director Reshma Singh says. “This can only happen when the public and the private sectors collide to achieve more than the sum of their parts. I always say, 1 and 1 don’t make 2, they make 11.”

Reshma, Mary, and Ryan sat down to discuss our work together on IMPEL+, how the public and private sectors can collaborate to support building tech startups from earlier through later stages, how science and commercialization can co-develop, and what innovation trends they’re seeing in the sector.

Listen to their conversation below!

Greentown, IMPEL+, and the DOE BTO are hosting an invitation-only pitch day featuring building tech startups on May 11! Please reach out to Greentown’s Vice President of Partnerships Nina Birger if you’d like to learn more.

Want a peek inside FLEXLAB® at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is implementing IMPEL+?  Watch the FLEXLAB® overview and animation.

IMPEL+, is funded by BTO, and implemented by Berkeley Lab. IMPEL+ offers unique pitch-training, access to building science, and private and public impact pipelines to innovators working in the design, construction, and operations of buildings technologies. More at