Jake Glavis – Google X’s Building Industry Game Changer Secures $8 Million
Between self-driving cars, robots, and even an elevator to space, the Google X lab has always garnered attention for its futuristic endeavors. But according to TechCrunch, a new project by the silicon behemoth’s research and development lab may have us engineering our own eco-efficient homes and buildings through a simplified platform similar to a website builder like Wix.
The platform, called Flux, has recently secured funding to the tune of $8 million attracting a wealth of investors including DFJ, Borrealis, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, and famed entrepreneur Ev Williams. Founded by a team of ex-Google engineers and an architect, Flux aims to change the building industry through tailoring big data into easy-to-use building templates. The idea takes a cue from Wix, which empowers the general public to build and design websites without coding skills.
For example, where Wix simplifies coding for a page, Flux will streamline data regarding building regulations, use of materials, energy plans and consumption metrics. Though details on how it exactly works are locked away until its 2015 launch, we can be sure that Flux will exceed the limitations of the commonly used autoCAD.
Though the concept of transitioning from traditional development and construction seems difficult to imagine, the Flux team seems keenly aware of its necessity. “Right now there are so many inefficiencies in constructing products,” Michelle Kaufmann, the co-founder who is an architect by training, explained to TechCrunch. “Architects and engineers work in silos, data systems are disparate and not as advanced as they could be, and when contractors work on buildings, it’s just inefficient.”
Kaufmann aims to put her time and energy into creating environmentally sustainable spaces that challenge the broad acceptance of modern construction, what she describes as “the least carbon-friendly things around.” After all, by some estimates, buildings account for some 40% of all carbon emissions. Whether or not Flux is the solution, Google X seems confident the project has potential. Flux is the first and only startup to emerge from the semi-secret lab.