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Is Leko Labs the future of carbon neutral construction?

Using sustainably-sourced wood-based building materials, a Luxembourg-based startup has said it can replace up to 75% of concrete and steel used in buildings.

Leko Labs has developed a system that combines automated design processes with prefabricated timber construction, thereby saving time, reducing errors and potentially enabling zero lifetime emissions.

The company has caught the attention of several high-profile climate tech investors, such as sustainability-focused fund 2150.

With the fund’s backing, Leko Labs announced a $21m fundraise this week, which included participation from Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund.

How it works

LEKO Future

A CGI of a possible future design using Leko Labs’ construction methods

Leko Labs has developed a factory-built wall and floor system based entirely on wood and wood fibre, reducing the need for “virtually all” concrete and steel above ground in a conventional building.

Available for buildings up to 100m tall, the design not only cuts embodied carbon but also reduces heating and cooling needs by up to 87% compared to current averages, the startup said.

Much of this “optimisation” comes down to Leko Labs’ software, which works out the most thermally and acoustically effective design possible. Walls are designed to be highly insulating, noise-cancelling and thinner than normal to increase floor space by 10%.

The startup also claims to cut the use of wood by half compared to traditional builds. That means the construction process includes more sustainable material, but less material over all.

Finally, Leko Labs uses robotic manufacturing to automate the construction process and deliver buildings in a shorter space of time.

Constructing a single apartment takes about six hours, while a single home takes one day.

Decarbonising European construction

Leko Labs raised $21m in a Series A funding round led by 2150, with participation from the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Tencent, AMAVI, Rise PropTech Fund, Extantia and Freigeist.

The funding round takes Leko Labs’ total funding to $23m.

Alongside the fundraise, Remo Gerber, former COO of electric flying vehicle developer Lilium, joined the company as CEO.

Operating in the Benelux region, Leko Labs is now eyeing expansion across Germany, the Nordics and the UK following its fundraise.

Francois Cordier, CTO and founder at Leko Labs, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Remo as our new CEO and our new investors to help deliver our vision towards a more sustainable building sector.

“Together we have a strong shot on the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in 2040 by 1% using the Leko Labs advanced building technology. His experience in scaling companies and capitalising them will be instrumental for the success of the company.”

Gerber added: “I could not be more excited to join the journey with Francois and the entire Leko Labs team. It’s such an important and critical mission. We are making a difference today, each of our walls saves several tons of CO2 here and now. By scaling up our solution with automotive robotics we will achieve global impact in the coming years.”

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