According to Fast Company, in Germany, there is a company called Ecoworks, that aims to modernize old buildings with regards to their thermal efficiency and bring them to the present day, with their system of insulating panels.

This way, the company hopes to lower the energy consumption of old houses, thus reducing their emissions.

Ecoworks' way of modernizing old buildings is supposed to be faster and more efficient than traditional insulation, which is slowed even more by the sheer amount of old buildings that need to be brought to the present day.

Some estimates say that at the current rate of renovation in Europe, it would take about 500 years to properly insulate every building and make it reach net-zero emissions.

This is why speeding up the process of building insulation is so important, if we want to reach our goal of net zero by 2050.

The way Ecoworks plan to change the system is by digitally scanning the interior and exterior of buildings in order to speed up the process and make it so that every building has the insulation system built for its measurements.

Emmanuel Heisenberg, the founder of the startup, says that "if you have a digital twin, you can actually automate planning, which, in a normal renovation, would take months and a lot of engineers and architects."

The digital plans can then be sent to the factory and the suppliers, which speeds up the process of gathering materials, and each panel includes windows, ventilations and channels for pipes.

Also, the roofs are fitted with modular solar panels, which further increases the efficiency and eco-friendliness of the building.

Through the company's process, workers can install a facade panel in just 20 minutes, and renovating the entire building, which includes replacing the fossil-fuel heating system, should take no more than a few weeks, compared to the months or even years using traditional methods.

Heisenberg, who is a renewable energy entrepreneur, wanted to adopt the system that he saw was used in the Netherlands for renovating old buildings, but he couldn't find a company that wanted to take on this challenge, so he founded his own.

According to him, this is due to the fact that "at the core of the problem is the construction industry invests less than 1% in R&D."

The innovation saw the first applications

Over the course of a year, Ecoworks monitored their system efficiency, which was applied to an apartment building from the 1930s located in a German town.

Before the renovation, the building was using about 450 kilowatt-hours of energy per square meter, which made it one of the least efficient buildings in the country, according to the company.

After the modernization, the building is now capable to make energy that it can feed to the grid, to which Heisenberg commented: "after renovation, we have negative emissions.”

This is also due to the fact that the facade is made out of wood, which is made from trees that absorbed carbon during their existence, and materials from the old building are being used in the process as well, which eliminates the need for new materials.

This enables Ecoworks to have a very low carbon footprint.

The company is working on seven more projects that it wants to complete this summer, and the team is also looking to scale up their process.

This is especially important as in Germany alone an estimated 30 million apartments need to be renovated within the next 25 years, according to the German Energy Agency.

Hopefully, this process will be adopted by other companies and implemented in many more countries, as the world looks forward to decarbonize as soon as possible.

Heisenberg thinks that "you really need technology to solve that problem."