This Hyderabad-based infra-tech startup is among 11 selected for UK Govt’s Go Global programme
The construction industry is one of the leading contributors towards global CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions. According to think tank Chatham House, cement - which is the most consumed resource on the planet after water - is estimated to contribute about eight percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. A 2018 UN Environment report states that the building industry still accounts for a significant 39 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions.
Climate change demands that the building industry adopt greener and sustainable solutions. Vijayadurga Koppisetti, an architect from Hyderabad, believes greener solutions are not only important to safeguard the environment but also the health and wellbeing of the occupant. Every year, four million deaths can be attributed to illness from household air pollution, according to the UN Environment report.
In 2018, Vijayadurga founded Architude, an infra-tech startup to provide green buildings solutions that are affordable and easily adoptable.
Vijayadurga Koppisetti, founder of Architude.
“Green buildings are eco-friendly constructions that consume less energy and resources but are more efficient and healthier compared to conventional buildings,” explains Vijayadurga. The 36-year-old has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad and has worked with several construction firms in Hyderabad and Delhi.
Despite the many benefits of green buildings, according to Indian Green Building Council - a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) - less than five percent of India's built environment is sustainable.
“There is a perception that green buildings are expensive, and difficult to maintain,” Vijayadurga tells HerStory. The lack of a platform providing relevant information and the low levels of tech penetration in the construction sector have led to the lower adoption of greener solutions in the building industry, she says.
Vijayadurga moved back from Delhi to Hyderabad to start up Architude to help foster sustainability and reduce the construction industry’s carbon footprint by providing green solutions. By leveraging new age technologies, Architude is developing products and services that make green buildings more affordable, accessible, and easily maintainable.
AI for green buildings
Architude builds intelligent virtual green building products that help in planning and developing green buildings faster and at affordable prices. It has built an AI (artificial intelligence) product called KNOWYOURBUILD that suggests lists of suitable and sustainable materials tagged with time, cost, energy efficiency and maintenance information.
The chosen materials and products can then be readily integrated into intelligent virtual models. The virtual prototype models built using Architude products behave exactly like the real buildings. The cost of the construction, time schedules, energy efficiency of the building and the data needed to maintain the building can all be extracted from these models.
“With the help of KNOWYOURBUILD a building can be designed, constructed and also operated during the occupancy phases. Hence the virtual prototypes are valid for the entire life of the building. For instance, if a problem arises with a plumbing fixture, one can access the virtual model and identify the information related to the fixture - its manufacturer brand, the agency or the person responsible for fixing the problem, etc. Hence our solutions are end-to-end and holistic,” says Vijayadurga.
The product helps save up to 30 percent project construction time, cost and savings during occupancy. The beta version of the AI product is planned for release by the end of June.
The bootstrapped startup counts various builders, real estate developers, and house owners as its clients. It has successfully delivered virtual prototype models to 12 residential and two commercial projects till date. Its clients in Hyderabad include Nest Makers and Aurobindo Builders.
Incubated by WE Hub
Vijayadurga’s mission with Architude is to prove that “sustainable is affordable”.
With her mission, she applied for incubation at WE Hub in 2018, which helped it kickstart full scale operations in May 2019.
“Being new to the entrepreneurial world, I was quite clueless on how to run the show. The handholding support from WE Hub is irreplaceable. It helped me with redefining my business plan, creating an impactful pitch deck, gave me great networking channels and immense international exposure,” Vijayadurga says.
Architude is one of the 11 startups selected for the UK government’s Go Global programme, a tech-for-good initiative. It is also partnering with Swiss firm XIMMA as a part of a WE Hub - Innoswiss collaboration.
Post-COVID market and plans
The prudent measures they adopted for working have proved to be a boon during the lockdown following the spread of coronavirus. The completely cloud-enabled startup was already working remotely.
To cater to the post-COVID market where it is anticipating a drop in new construction projects, the startup has shifted focus towards providing solutions to make existing buildings more energy efficient and green. Meanwhile, it is also offering training and conducting workshops for professionals on adopting the latest design software in the construction industry.
In the next five years, Architude plans to raise a total of Rs 5 crore and projects a revenue of Rs 15 crore. It plans to complement the funding by earning carbon credits that can be traded.
Its most optimistic goal projections for the next five years is to generate 1,000 jobs and build a green built-up area of 1 billion sq. ft.