Combatting Climate Change with Technology in the Built Environment: A Discussion at the Demand Led Innovation Event

Knight Frank, the global real estate adviser, hosted an innovation showcase event in partnership with Climate-KIC and the European Institute of Technology. The Demand Led Innovation Event, held in December 2016, focused on technologies that can significantly reduce carbon emissions from the built environment.

David Goatman, Head of Energy and Sustainability at Knight Frank, discussed the significance of technology in the property industry in combatting climate change. Sir Ed Davey, former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, discussed his time in office and his take on the current market.

Presentations from six businesses, on their innovative technology solutions, followed the two discussions. The businesses that presented included Polysolar – the organisation behind the UK’s first energy generating bus shelter at Canary Wharf – and Suez, the developer of a technology that uses sewage to create thermal energy.

The audience was comprised of property companies, real estate investors and fund managers, and architects, whom, upon seeing these transformative solutions, have the potential to implement the new technologies at scale across their portfolios and projects.

Further information on the technologies presented at the Demand Led Innovation Event is below.


Polysolar is an award-winning developer and manufacturer of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) architectural glazing. Its transparent, thin-film solar BIPV glass can be used in building façades, roofing and windows: offering an alternative to conventional building cladding for both retrofit and new build projects. Polysolar’s BIPV glass delivers both the weather proofing and thermal control of glazing, combined with efficient onsite renewable energy generation.

Suez – Degrés Bleus

Suez is an innovative solutions company that aims to deliver essential life services, to protect water resources, and to treat and recover waste. It has developed a Degrés Bleus solution that uses heat recovered from sewer waste water to: heat and cool buildings, heat process water, and supply heat to district heating schemes. The Degrés Bleus solution can be implemented at the individual and community scales to reduce energy consumption across all seasons. Suez has more than 15 operations of Degrés Bleus in France and is working towards scaling the solution to the UK market.

Naked Energy – Virtu

Naked Energy Ltd is an award winning British design and innovation company specialising in solar technology.  The company is redefining solar energy with ‘Virtu’ a patented hybrid solar collector that generates both heat and power for commercial and residential applications: creating more useful energy per square metre than conventional technologies.  Not only does this mean a much quicker payback on investment, but it also creates significant reductions in carbon emissions whilst delivering improved building efficiency standards.

Demand Logic – Big building data

Demand Logic is an easy-to-use web platform that uses data analytics and infographics to find energy-savings, comfort improvements and other low-cost performance improvements in commercial buildings. It is already installed in office buildings, data centres, banks, newspapers, blue-chip headquarters and university campuses, with buildings including 20 Fenchurch St (“the Walkie Talkie”) and One New Change using their big data technology.

ETH Zurich – Adaptive Solar Façade

The ETH Zurich Adaptive Solar Façade project is the largest object showcasing soft robotics in architecture. The delicate, movable photovoltaic modules can be mounted onto a lightweight structure on the building envelope to be used for both restoration and new construction projects. Aside from energy production, they offer shading and daylight control for the interior and are equipped to store energy (in the case of excess energy, the excess is transformed into pressurised air, which can be stored and used to adjust the movable modules at a later stage).

Origami Energy

Origami Energy has developed a technology that will optimise the energy usage flexibility in any energy asset – whether it’s demand, generation or storage. They are creating a grid-edge flexibility marketplace that will allow energy assets to provide multiple services to multiple organisations, generating additional revenue for the asset holders and reducing the cost of the energy system for all stakeholders .

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.