Greenovate – Renovation meets Sustainability

As part of our Innovation Series, we present you with 5 projects of the ETH Student Project House: an initiative of the ETH Zurich to foster maker and innovator mindset in students. All these projects have started during the Pandemic and have found the positive in a volatile period. The projects are Fyn.Food, Greenovate, Developer’s Club, Seismohealth, rootlinks

“We want to enable everyone to find and finance the optimal renovation strategy for their building. Basically to bring their building to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s the mission Diego and Jakub told me about in our interview. 

Both studied Energy Science at the ETH in Zurich, however, they met each other while both were working and studying in Boston. Now, back in Switzerland, they have started their business Greenovate with the help of the ETH Student Project House. Recently, another team member, Dominik, joined to share his experience in business and start-ups and make the Greenovate team complete. 

More than 60% of the buildings in Switzerland are still heated with oil or gas, therefore buildings account for roughly 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Jakub Szczesniak

Greenovate comes with a solution for the over 1 million buildings that will need to switch towards new energy systems while soon new, stricter, energy laws will be enforced. The company will offer a combination of two services. First, building energy appraisals with their self-developed software. The company is currently developing its own tool based on the Swiss energy consulting experience of Diego, combined with the research on renewable energy and coding experience of Jakub. The tool will help them give accurate advice, but without the incredible high consultancy costs. 

Speaking about costs, renewable energy is seen as less costly in the long run, however, renovating your building to become sustainable is often a big investment. Therefore, Greenovate’s second service will be to offer financing solutions to help its clients cover these investments. 

Dominik, Jakub & Diego

“A technology-powered energy renovation platform – that is what greenovate offers.”

Diego Sigrist

To make Greenovate a success, some resources are needed. Firstly, Diego and Jakub are working on partnerships with energy companies and financial institutions to create valuable packages for a reasonable price. Secondly, they need clients and data points for their software tool to learn, improve and prove its accuracy. And of course, they also need time to work on the project. They both said laughing that they work 100% on the project, next to their part-time jobs. Because who says you can only work 100%? 

So, homeowners, landlords, property managers, and potential partners: if you want to be ready before the new legislation comes into force, contact Greenovate

Sarah Ebling

          Sarah Ebling holds a professorship in Accessibility Studies at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and is a senior researcher at the University of Zurich. Her research focuses on natural language processing in the context of disabilities and special needs, specifically, sign language technology and automatic text simplification. Her groups’ contributions involve artificial intelligence techniques with a strong emphasis on user involvement. She is involved in various international and national projects and leads a large-scale Swiss innovation initiative entitled „Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies“ (2022-2026;