The future of sustainable architecture just received a huge boost as Flux, the first startup to spin out of Google X, is paving the way towards a greener, more environmentally friendly building industry. Founded by architect Michelle Kaufmann and three ex-Google engineers, Flux will merge big data technology with the construction process to help architects and developers build energy-efficient, site-specific buildings at a fraction of the cost. Flux emerged from stealth today with an $8 million Series A round of founding.
Not only is she one of our favorite green prefab proponents, but Flux co-founder Michelle Kaufmann has also led a successful architecture career specializing in sustainable design. “It’s insane how antiquated the current building process is,” Kaufmann told Gigaom in an interview. Today, buildings are said to be responsible for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States, much of which is due to inadequate design and poor construction quality.
The San Francisco company Flux, however, aims to turn that statistic on its head. The data-driven start up was founded in the semi-secret labs of Google X, the same “moonshot factory” that produced sci-fi like ideas such as self-driving cars and smart contact lenses. Flux’s software aims to crunch big data from sources as varied as building and zoning codes to the individual specs on building materials. The software will then generate site-specific analyses based on the architect’s desired inputs and site conditions. Flux will also feature widgets to calculate carbon emissions and basic building tools to make the process of “going green” a more user-friendly and transparent process.
Flux plans to use its $8 million investment to expand its staff and continue developing the early versions of its software. The big data-driven program is expected to officially launch in early 2015.