Due to the emerging details on the war in Ukraine we decided to suspend releasing our newsletter last week. We also want to share our sympathies with the people of the Ukraine. What is happening there is unimaginably horrific + your bravery against the events you are facing is inspiring + deeply admired. Should there be anyone in our community that needs help from us at the PTC with regards to the situation there please do reach out + we will do whatever we can to help.
Planting the seeds for a green way
We at the PTC are hearing from all players in our network for the intention to “go green”. But what does that mean, how easy is this to do and how do you quantify the ROI (do the numbers matter for example?).
With Real estate companies having customers + shareholders demanding to go the extra mile on the ESG front, this is trickling down to where venture capital allocation is looking and the start-ups space. Timing wise, the desire, capital + tech advancement isn’t quite aligned yet.
The built environment is responsible for approximately 40% of CO2 emissions and energy usage We know from our experience in investing CleanTech and in sustainable projects that these require big investments (and many failures) so meeting many of the aspirational goals is going to be a challenge.
What wood we suggest?
The Netherlands is leading the way with however some novel building techniques. The greater Amsterdam region pledged to use wood as the primary material for 20% of new construction by 2025 in an area called “de Mandelabuurt” (meaning district) and building up to 700 homes. Also other biobased material, such as seaweed, flax and mycelium, will be used to really change how the Dutch are building their new buildings. A curve ball to note is that a good portion of Amsterdam is also under water which naturally will throw up its own challenges - illustrating how despite difficulties, these methods can be adopted.
Are they barking up the wrong tree?
We don’t think so. Due to this approach these Dutch homes can be built quicker + more sustainable which results in i) reduction of approximately 22,000t CO2 emissions + substantial reduction in nitrogen ii) a shortened construction time line, i.e. addressing a major problem in Dutch (and across W-Europe) market for citizens to access affordable housing
The Nordics + The Netherlands and Germany are also showing some really high potential technologies and approaches to drive sustainable development. But much more is needed, it needs to come with a combination of re-use & recycling, along with innovative tech in building materials (steel or concrete). And we haven’t even looked at the retrofit problem.
Hey man, is Amsterdam not also famous for its coffee shops?
One final thing to also note with regards to some more materials regularly seen in Amsterdam we saw this week. According to Johan Hari on the CEO Diary podcast, apparently smoking some Cannabis only reduced your IQ by 5 points where a study done by Hewlett Packard showed that interruptions in the workplace can reduce IQ by 10 points.
In the new strategy around workplace environments of Hybrid/WFH/return to the city, will be interesting to see how things like office interruptions will be factored into measuring best working-productivity calculations. Not sure if factors such as Cannabis (!) will be factored in but we guess it will be whichever solutions give the highest results…..