Glasgow based proptech company arbnco has launched a new research and development division, arbn labs, which will focus on developing scientific solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the built environment.
It comes as the company opens up two US offices in Detroit and California, and doubles in size in the past year, going from a team of 18 to 37 with recruits from across the globe.
Of arbnco’s 19 new starters, 11 are in the labs team, significantly enhancing the company’s existing research and development capacity. With decades of combined international technical, academic and commercial experience, they will ensure emerging academic research is developed into technology solutions, and deployed in real-world commercial environments.
Founded in 2012, arbnco develops software solutions to transform the commercial and public sector property markets, helping to improve sustainability, reduce carbon outputs and create healthier environments. Its data-led optimisation technology is used to enhance energy performance, manage building compliance, monitor and improve indoor air quality, and predict the impact of climate change on buildings.
The newly created arbn labs division will form the company’s research and development arm, building on its existing partnerships with academia and industry.
Working with leading academic institutions including the world-renowned Energy Systems Research Unit at the University of Strathclyde, and the Energy and Efficiency Institute at the University of California, Davis, the labs team will develop software solutions for commercial deployment. These will be tested via pilot projects in commercial environments, with industry partners such as Nuveen Real Estate.
The projects currently underway at arbn labs aim to address universal issues within the built environment, and have been funded by organisations including Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and The Data Lab. These include closing the energy performance gap – the difference between the predicted energy efficiency levels of a building, and how it actually performs – optimising the indoor environment to improve the health and wellbeing of occupants, and utilising artificial intelligence to automatically suggest energy improvement options for a building.
The 17-strong labs team brings together considerable experience in the fields of building energy modelling, data analytics, smart building technologies, and the study of occupant behaviour in buildings. Their cumulative academic and commercial expertise has been gained in countries across the world, including Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Japan, South Africa and Brazil. Between them, they speak nine different languages.
The arbn labs team will be headed up by Alan Wegienka, who has served as Chief Technology Officer at arbnco since the company’s inception. He said:
“At the heart of arbn labs is an ambition to bring together the world’s best minds to tackle global energy problems. We act as a bridge between innovative academic research and commercial, real-world practice. This ability to leverage emerging research and deploy it effectively can dramatically transform the built environment, as we all strive to reduce carbon emissions and make the world a more sustainable place. Our labs team has been strengthened significantly by the cumulative expertise of our new colleagues, and we look forward to the milestones that will be reached with them on board.”
Joe Clarke, Director of the Energy Systems Research Unit at the University of Strathclyde, has worked with the arbn labs team on two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), an initiative funded by Innovate UK which links businesses with research or academic organisations to promote innovation. He said:
“The success of being awarded two KTPs by the University of Strathclyde is evidence of the strength and breadth of the arbn labs team. I am delighted to be part of the success story and continue to support arbn labs and the wider arbnco business in their many innovative R&D projects.”