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Inside an Innovation Hub

Innovation is key to achieving a more sustainable world and to reach the decarbonization goals that many have set as a target for the years ahead. To limit warming to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels—as outlined in the Paris Agreement—global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025. Then they must decline by 43% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050, according to the United Nations.

We continue to see many organizations come together to come up with unique ideas that will lead to more sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

Consider the example of Holcim, which has a purpose to build progress for people and the planet. The sustainable building solutions provider and its 60,000 employees are on a quest to decarbonize buildings, while still improving living standards for all.

One key effort Holcim is focusing on is with an Innovation Hub, which was recently announced. This co-creation lab aims to accelerate low-carbon, circular, and energy-efficient buildings worldwide, ultimately helping the organization meet its overall mission.

Located in Holcim’s Global R&D center in Lyon, France, and spread across three floors, the Hub offers working spaces to host start-ups and think tanks and it will also serve as an urban dialogue platform to explore the future of sustainable cities and their construction via interactive exhibits and events.

When people and companies come together to brainstorm, that is when true innovation emerges. At this Innovation Hub, more than 200 researchers are dedicated to developing sustainable building solutions. Holcim’s experts come from all areas of building including, but not limited to, masons, engineers, material scientists, and experts in artificial intelligence, just to name a few. These experts at the hub are engaged in research.

But what type of innovation is being researched and coming out of this showroom? Some examples include low-carbon materials and formulation, roofing and insulation systems that drive energy efficiency, circular construction solutions to recycle construction demolition materials into new building solutions, and green retrofitting ideas.

Through an annual program of events featuring start-ups, think tanks, and working groups, Holcim’s Innovation Hub will foster forward-looking exchanges with key stakeholders across the construction value chain to accelerate the shift to sustainable building.

The Holcim Innovation Hub opened in September 2023 and professionals from the construction industry can visit it upon request.

Certainly, this is only one example of a company that is stepping up and exploring the world of sustainable buildings. Many are looking at how technology, materials, and ideas can help decarbonize the built world and bring to market more sustainable solutions. Coming together to share ideas is one of the first steps to truly making change happen. How will we proceed forward into this new era of building? Will it truly be more sustainable than the make-take-waste world that we used to live in? Only time will tell, but it is certainly a wonderful step in bringing the best and brightest together to make a cleaner and healthier tomorrow.

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