Pass the grass: how Plantd aims to decarbonize new buildings
However you look at it, buildings are serious causes of slot bonus climate change. Every part of the so-called built environment – from off-site material production and construction to electricity and maintenance – has a high environmental cost. According to the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental group, the sector is responsible for nearly 40% of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
In the coming decades, the carbon footprint of the built environment is expected to grow with the industry itself, making it both a critical and lucrative target for climate-focused startups. This is the backdrop for Plantd, which raised a $10 million Series A series to replace panels that are nearly ubiquitous in single- and multi-family homes.
Plantd aims to replace materials such as oriented strand board or OSB, a composite panel made from wood strips and adhesives. You may not know them by name, but you’ve probably seen them before – in floors, roofs, furniture, and so on. The industry calls OSB a sustainable plywood alternative, because the wood strips do not have to come from primeval forests. Still, Plantd thinks it can do better with its own panels, which are made from a “proprietary blend of perennial grasses that grow exceptionally fast.”
Reached by TBEN, the startup declined to disclose the names of the woody grasses. But judging by an image on the startup’s website, they look a bit like bamboo.
“Unlike trees used for composite wood products that are harvested after 10-12 years of growth, our biomass regrows and is harvested from the same acreage each year,” said co-founder and CEO Josh Dorfman. “This allows Plantd to capture much more carbon from the atmosphere, faster than trees can, and with less land.”
Insurance-focused investor American Family Ventures led Plantd’s Series A, while IDEA Fund Ventures also entered the round. Previous investors in the startup include Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, and Chris Kemper, CEO of Palmetto Solar, according to Plantd.
The startup told TBEN it has raised its $10 million Series A at a postmoney valuation of $65 million.
Plantd said its panels are stronger than traditional panels and will deliver serious environmental benefits, but the startup hasn’t yet proven its claims at scale (hence the Series A). Dorfman told TBEN that Plantd is currently producing prototypes and “is not yet on the market”.