The commercial real estate industry is responsible for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and on Thursday new proptech startup Carbon Title launched its online platform to provide carbon transparency to the real estate value chain and the public in its push for carbon neutrality.
In stealth mode since its founding in 2021, the Portland, Ore.-based Carbon Title claims it has created the only decentralized, end-to-end platform that brings together the entire value chain — from architects and developers, to investors, building owners, and carbon credit providers — to accelerate and scale the decarbonization of the real estate industry. The platform will use blockchain technology to ensure that all emissions data from existing buildings and those under construction is easily accessible and searchable to the public.
“Our view is that there’s value in being able to track and maintain these carbon accounts for buildings so that people can know how much carbon has been admitted and what’s been done to mitigate them,” said Trevor Dryer, co-founder with Miles Haladay of Carbon Title. “We have a per building subscription fee. In addition to the carbon calculations and maintaining these accounts, we help people find lower-carbon building materials and decide when to use them to reduce their emissions. We then purchase high-quality carbon removal credits to get the rest of the way to carbon neutral.”
A goal of Carbon Title is to prevent companies from greenwashing and for consumers to make informed decisions about where they decide to live and work. The data will be available to the public when CarbonTitle.com goes live Thursday.
“We believe that this data needs to be public and that’s one of the reasons that we decided to get it on a decentralized platform,” said Dryer. “The decentralized platform allows us to create an always public, always immutable, and very traceable database that anybody can see. It’s one of the things that we are fundamentally passionate about to achieve our climate goals, especially in the real estate and construction industries. We have to get this data out there to the public continuously.”
The founders of Carbon Title note that the real estate industry is facing a near impossible task: Increasing construction output to meet growing housing and infrastructure demands, while simultaneously fighting climate change by self-regulating and reducing carbon emissions.
In fact, from 2020 to 2030, the construction industry is expected to double. In order to meet the United Nations target of slashing emissions by 45 percent during that period, it will require an approximately 73 percent reduction in emissions across the real estate industry.
Dryer and Haladay, whose backgrounds prior to Carbon Title were in fintech and construction, respectively, are entrepreneurs and soccer dads who met and created their company as a result of their sons’ playing on the same local team. “I was the coach,” Haladay said.
Both founders see the road to carbon neutrality as a difficult one, and one that will need not only social but financial pressure to achieve the necessary goals.
“This is going to come down to the banks,” said Haladay. “It’s going to be very important for the banks to be the ones that hold the developers accountable and encourage them to start doing things differently. Banks and equity, too, because the equity groups’ employees are also very interested in pushing forward. That’s one of the amazing things about this generation coming through the workforce right now.”
Carbon Title has closed a seed round backed by lead investor GreenPoint Partners, along with Alpaca, Allegory, Ripple, and proptech investor Packy McCormick. It is being piloted by companies such as Hoffman Construction, Lease Crutcher Lewis, Killian Pacific, Corigin. Carbon Title also partners with carbon offset creators such as DroneSeed. The seed round’s backers declined to reveal the amount raised.
“Accountability and transparency are essential components of the global push to decarbonize real estate, particularly as it relates to carbon offsets and removal projects,” said Chris Green, founder and CEO of GreenPoint Partners. “We believe Carbon Title’s seamless, intuitive user experience will allow developers — and the broader real estate industry — to significantly reduce emissions and meet decarbonization goals.”
Philip Russo can be reached at email@example.com.