There is no doubt that the future belongs to carbon-neutral construction. To drive this development, the Luxembourg-based company Leko Labs wants to change the process of building. François Cordier founded Leko Labs in 2017 with the idea of turning the construction industry around with a radical new approach to timber construction. To do this, Leko relies on a combination of sustainable building materials, robotics and artificial intelligence. The company has developed a wall and floor material based entirely on wood and wood fibres that can replace up to 75% of the concrete and steel used in the construction of a building today. According to a report by the cleanthinking platform (website in german), the system, which consists of wood-based materials and a fully circular manufacturing process, not only offers a sustainable approach to building. Thinner walls with very good insulating properties also allow up to 10% more usable space in certain buildings – and thus higher profitability for developers. The technology can be used for buildings up to 100 metres high.
The company has already realised several projects in the Benelux – residential buildings, office buildings and data centres. With fresh capital, Leko Labs now wants to roll out its software and robot building solution throughout Europe. The company relies on many small factories in which wooden parts are automatically milled and then assembled into walls by robots. The wall system is said to reduce a building’s heating and cooling needs by up to 87% compared to current standards, allowing the building to remain carbon neutral over its lifetime. An in-house developed software platform based on machine learning is used to calculate and optimise the thermal, acoustic and structural properties of the buildings. This should also allow an architect’s digital plans to be transferred to the Leko assembly system within minutes. “I believe,” says Cordier, “that residential building construction is outdated: we need to move away from solid construction and towards greater material efficiency and sophistication, as in the automotive and aerospace industries.” But developers, investors and clients are not only promised sustainable housing. The fact that Leko homes are built and completed in half the time means faster profitability for real estate developers.
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