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10 green startups tackling COP26 challenge

Autonomous HVAC systems and software to eliminate wasted energy in buildings are two ideas that will take centre stage at a startup challenge at COP26.

Ten startups are taking part in the Tech for our Planet challenge, which gives green tech the opportunity to showcase ideas to help the planet reach its net zero goals.

The 10 ideas span the built environment, agriculture, satellite technology and community engagement – all different but united in their goal to cut emissions in whatever way they can.

Listen to bees, save the planet

Agrisound startup

Startup | Agrisound

Mission | Create the world’s largest database on insect biodiversity

Method | Deploying a network of low cost sensors that listen to the sounds of insects

Reason | “By mapping insect activity, AgriSound helps farmers and gardeners to understand the changes affecting bee health and welfare and can better manage land to support an optimal pollination environment… Collectively, data obtained by AgriSound’s sensor network will be used to map impacts of agrochemicals, target conservation efforts and support policymaking to help achieve sustainability goals whilst maximising food production.”

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AI-powered HVAC


Startup | BrainBox AI

Mission | Combat climate change by making commercial buildings smart and more efficient

Method | Combining AI and cloud computing to create a fully autonomous commercial HVAC solution

Reason | “Through seamless communication with building management systems, the technology optimises HVAC systems in real-time, permitting the existing infrastructure to become predictive and self-adaptive, while significantly reducing energy consumption and emissions.”

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Digitising community engagement

Startup | Commonplace

Mission | Help create better places together with the support of the community

Method | An online engagement platform that makes it easy to collect, understand and act on community feedback

Reason | “By making it easy to collect, understand and act on community feedback, we help local authorities and developers make better, more inclusive decisions… our climate engagement hubs help governments, organisations and communities work towards the same goal and make net zero an everyday reality.”

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Drag-and-drop satellites

Earth Blox

Startup | Earth Blox

Mission | Effortless, no-code access to satellite intelligence

Method | A drag-and-drop interface to empower anyone, anywhere to access petabytes of global data to detect changes, map trends and quantify differences to the earth’s surface

Reason | “By using frequent updates from satellites of the planet, Earth Blox will generate contextualised ‘hotspots’ of environmental change that may increase local stress and put livelihoods, property and nature at risk.”

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Sustainable farm tech

Startup | Hummingbird Technologies

Mission | Build systems that accelerate the global move towards sustainable agriculture

Method | Using earth observation, remote sensing and machine learning to detect and independently validate farm-management practices and outcomes

Reason | “Hummingbird enables farmers to harness the power of properly managed soil to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and to feed a growing population whilst accelerating the race to net zero.”

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Inclusive climate resilience


Startup | Irys

Mission | Improve communication and quality of life in communities

Method | AI-driven tools that expand public participation channels

Reason | “Citizens have a vital role in shaping their urban environments. However, many project planner often rely on anecdotal data and fail to engage indigenous and disenfranchised communities… we have introduced a digital solution that helps drive community inclusion within climate resilience projects.”

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Energy waste eliminator

Startup | measurable.energy

Mission | Eliminate all wasted energy and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings without any burden to occupants

Method | Focusing on small power (laptops, monitors, appliances, etc.), automatically identifying wasted energy and controlling it

Reason | “[Small power] can account for up to 40% of a commercial building’s energy consumption and has no useful management system. Up to 50% of small power can be classed as wasted energy and GHG emissions.”

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Shared repairs


Startup | Novoville

Mission | Facilitate shared repairs

Method | Providing a dedicated platform for repairs and maintenance in the locality, thereby directly engaging traders, the council, homeowners and other stakeholders

Reason | “Novoville streamlines and simplifies dealing with a major source of issues for the city and its residents alike.”

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Share food to reduce waste

Startup | OLIO

Mission | Reduce food waste in the home

Method | A free mobile app connecting neighbours with each other and with volunteers

Reason | “So food and household items can be shared for free and homemade food and handmade crafts can be purchased and sold”

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Carbon emissions manager


Startup | Sweep

Mission | To help companies manage carbon emissions and create impactful climate action at scale

Method | Data-driven software platform that makes it easy to understand, manage and reduce your carbon footprint

Reason | “Our integrated marketplace enables companies to directly purchase the best negative carbon, securing what will soon become a scare resource. And with all your data in one place, our analytics offers unparalleled insights into your progress, and automatic reporting to your stakeholder.”

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The programme culminates in a showcase from 1-12 November when each company will present their pilot and their potential at COP26.

After the conference, the 10 startups will work with government to bring their solutions to market, thereby, as the programme explains, “creating a legacy towards COP27 and beyond”.

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