Think CO2 / KIC INNOENERGY
The elevator pitch: A Spanish venture to build the ideal 21st century home: Mobile, flexible, and sustainable.
The founders: Pol Guiu, engineer (Poitiers, France), technical and mechanical background; Rosa Vilarasau, economist (ESADE-Barcelona), commercial and marketing background.
Origin: We were inspired by the containers used in modern architecture, a fantastic transport method that had, in our opinion, lots of chances to evolve into other "objects to live in" combining transport with comfort and sustainability. We wanted to make possible a mobile and sustainable living concept.
In terms of architecture, we consider "prefab" as the only construction system that will be used in the future. Therefore we build modular prefab units. But prefab has often being linked to reduced costs and poor quality. In fact, prefab is also efficient in terms of time, grey energy reduction and increased quality standards.
We chose carbon footprint to measure our sustainability and we tried to reduce to the maximum the impact of all construction phases until we made possible a No Emission construction that could be placed in a plot and work efficiently, giving comfort to a mobile end user. We used local wood as the main building element, and combined natural local materials until we got a prototype that could work efficiently with minimum energy consumption and meet the "Passive House" standard.
We made it mainly by studying our environment, and trying to use local resources. We had no financial help. We believed in it, and we devoted two years to make it possible, learning by doing. "Where there's a will, there's a way"
Numbers: We already had this year our launch customer and made some other small constructions, and we estimate 2011 revenue of more than €170,000. Both founders work full time in this project, with a team of developers who work on a project basis. They are not employees, but solve all challenges and respond to any customer demand.
Investment: €200,000, of our own investment. No bank, no public help, no business angel helped or financed us so far.
Technology: We use local wood for added-value products (until today, local wood is only used to produce europallets with no added value). Our competitive advantage is to combine strict European standards of energy-efficient houses with local techniques and materials to provide a really sustainable and transportable product - and to make it possible in 10 weeks to design and prefabricate, and two to five days to mount in place.
We registered the design and the brand.
Market opportunity: The target market is sustainable construction. How big? Huge. Our product's potential impact is big, as energy costs go up, the need for mobility increases, and society needs ever-more flexible and sustainable ways of living. A product like ours, offering solutions for mobile, sustainable and healthy living, is unique.
Commercial milestones: Already in the market: first house already built, in place and operational in Valencia.
- Individuals with sustainable values who look for a first or second residence (mobile or not)
- Individuals who need an extension to their already existing house
- Hotels and resorts that need independent units with high standards that can be relocated and resized according to needs.
EIT KIC connection: We cooperate with KIC Innoenergy in Esadecreapolis in Sant Cugat (Barcelona), and our prototype is placed there. The KIC is very relevant to us, as renewable energy is our primary energy source, and key to empowering a low carbon economy.
Read more about this finalist: Think CO2 wants to build your ideal 21st century home.