Sustainability at Katerra
Environmental intelligence, delivered at scale.
Our central goal is to deliver improved environmental performance, a reduced carbon footprint, and do so without adding costs.
Addressing the climate and environmental crises we face today will not be possible without changing the way we build. Construction activities account for 30 percent of annual global carbon emissions. The environmental challenges of construction are complex and interconnected. Firms are fragmented across the building process, holding only a portion of the data and having little incentive to change practices. Over the last several decades, many worthwhile certification standards and highly sustainable projects have been developed; but today these high-performance buildings carry premium costs, and limited ability to replicate or scale their impact.
Incremental progress will not be enough to address these entrenched issues; we need transformational change on a massive scale – now.
At Katerra, we can control the entire end-to-end building process. We also make a concerted and continual investment in R&D. Together, this offers us newfound visibility into the full building lifecycle and tremendous potential to address long-standing environmental inefficiencies in building product sourcing, manufacturing, construction, and operation. This is a generational opportunity to advance our collective Environmental Intelligence, both as a company and an industry.
We believe, at the very core, solutions can’t be only environmentally sustainable — they must be economically sustainable as well in order to scale and truly make an impact. At Katerra, we pursue solutions that increase environmental efficiencies, reduce costs, and can be deployed at scale. Our central goal is to deliver improved environmental performance, a reduced carbon footprint, and do so without adding costs.
While Katerra is on a mission to transform construction through technology, this transformation wouldn’t be complete without reducing the environmental impacts of buildings. The examples below represent the four primary areas in which Katerra is focusing efforts to expand our environmental intelligence over the years to come.
Katerra is developing a broad portfolio of products – including structural systems, utility systems, finish materials, and more – that will improve building performance and lower carbon footprint.
Katerra Energy System
The Katerra Energy System (KES) is an integrated energy platform that replaces the typical electrical closet with an appliance in multifamily, hotels, and other building types. The system is built to be smaller, smarter, and less expensive than existing energy management systems, including the ability to dynamically shift power sources to maximize efficiency and use of renewables.
Typical structural building components such as masonry, concrete, and steel have a large carbon footprint. Replacing these materials with wood, which sequesters carbon for the life of the building, reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A 2014 Journal of Sustainable Forestry study found that replacing the steel used in construction with timber such as CLT could cut C02 emissions by 15-20 percent.
In line with Katerra’s unique business model, we are pursuing a new approach to sustainability. Rather than establishing a siloed sustainability department, we instead infuse a mindset of environmental intelligence horizontally across the company, threading it into every division and discipline.
Katerra pursues efficiencies and waste reduction over traditional building design and construction in a myriad of areas, including optimization of design for material reduction, streamlined delivery and logistics, renewable-powered factories, and more.
Offsite construction is by nature more material and resource efficient than conventional construction, by moving as much work as possible to the controlled factory environment. Significant reductions in waste derive from automated manufacturing equipment, inventory control, and repeatable manufacturing processes.
As Katerra continues to expand our manufacturing footprint, we are committed to maximizing renewable energy use to power our facilities and product fabrication. At our Phoenix factory, more than 1,000 panels help to power more than 25 percent of factory operation.
With visibility and data access across the full building life cycle, Katerra has a unique opportunity to radically increase the transparency and understanding of the environmental impact throughout building product sourcing, manufacturing, construction, and operations. We envision this as a new data stream and feedback loop that can benefit clients, as well as continue to improve the efficiency and performance of Katerra products and operations. We are excited to announce initiatives in this space in the near future.