Buildings & Construction

ADL brings incumbents, startups, and government together to modernize construction

Construction productivity today in the US is lower than it was in 1968. As the US faces a housing affordability crisis and stagnant manufacturing industry, advanced construction techniques - in particular offsite or prefabricated construction - can protect American industry from foreign competition.

It is simultaneously one of the only practical ways to help an energy-efficient, grid-interactive, and healthier building stock to flourish.

To realize the potential of industrial construction, every player in the ecosystem – from policymakers to regulators to materials suppliers to building owners to hard tech startups – must collaborate to establish shared standards, build a robust supply chain, and ultimately transform prefab construction into a strategic American industry.

What We Offer

Problem-Solving with
Crowd-Sourced Innovation

ProblemSpace is a DOE-funded open innovation platform to connect incumbents with innovators and startups to solve specific technical problems.

Buildings & Construction
Innovation Network

In partnership with the DOE, ADL Ventures and RMI are bringing together the ecosystem, products, and services that will transform construction and retrofits in the US.

New Revenue Streams for Internal Innovation

ADL works with legacy-sector companies to “unstick” internally-developed technologies and IP.

ADL’s Buildings-Related Product Development Initiatives

Technology Innovation

Helping corporate incumbents source breakthrough enabling technologies sorely needed to advance the buildings industry

Prefab Design Challenge: Open innovation challenge to design new prefab REVIT models to address specific challenges based on climate zones and required functionality

Prefab Material Challenge: Open innovation challenge to develop materials systems for use in a manufacturing environment (as opposed to a field environment)

Effective Communication Tools for Industry Stakeholders

Searchable tools for owners, developers, and other stakeholders to identify the expertise and partners to make a prefab project successful

A curated platform of fabricators, design, and engineering service providers, manufacturers, financial institutions, and insurers

A member impact evaluation quantifies each member’s contribution on metrics that include housing affordability, economic development, education, job creation, energy conservation, CO2 mitigation & adaptation, and national prosperity

Educational Tools & Best Practices

New ideas and research shared broadly in an industry where novel advances are typically kept close to the vest

Digital design and engineering guidelines

Essential training curricula

Standards for Construction Industrialization

Working with organizations which drive standardized codes and inspection processes to boost production efficiency and reduce soft costs

Offsite code standardization

Digital library of REVIT models to fabricate building legos from past successful projects

Project Finance and Insurance

Assets and information that allow banks and insurers to develop suitable products for the prefab buildings industry

Insurance wrapper marketplace to effectively offer aggregated packages to owners and developers, even if there is a wide array of project participants

Project finance marketplace to help banks competitively underwrite project loans that provide financing to the entire project

Software Development

Standardized software to realize the efficiencies of digital construction

An end-to-end prefab platform supports all phases of a project for all participants in the value chain

An “on the ground” data capture system to accurately capture and digitize pre-existing improvements, especially for retrofits

ADL Buildings Leadership

Nolan Browne

Chairman

Nolan, who has been called “relentless with his [prefab] ideas” by Forbes, is an innovation expert, entrepreneurial executive, investor, fundraiser, and board member specializing in buildings technology. Nol founded a leading building science institute at MIT and regularly speaks on market transformation and collaboration models at the National Academy of Science and other esteemed institutions. A 5-time founder with 15 years of C-Suite experience in both startups and multinational corporations, Nol holds advanced economics and business degrees from MIT and Johns Hopkins.

Frank Yang

Partner

Frank Yang is a Partner at ADL Ventures and the Founder / CEO of Liatris, an advanced insulation materials startup which is developing the only fully non-flammable insulation board in the industry, and has an easy-to-install, robust technology well-suited to modern construction practices. Frank became inspired to help scale up ADL’s open innovation offerings after Liatris went through the ADL’s US DOE-funded Building Materials Challenge as an applicant, and currently leads ADL’s DOE-related activities, in particular the ABC Collaborative. Frank previously spent 10+ years in the solar industry as a co-founder of Stion, a US solar panel manufacturer and systems integrator. He ran all commercial operations for the company, raising >$500M in funding and selling out a 150 MW annual capacity production line. Frank received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from Amherst College.

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Diana Fisler

Principal

Dr. Diana Fisler brings to ADL Ventures her passion for both building materials and the interface between early technologies and corporates. Over the years, she has delivered many new business opportunities and technologies in the building space. Diana earned her Ph.D. in Geophysics from Penn State University and contributes her expertise to industry organizations and committees such as ASHRAE and ASTM and is an Advisory board member of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN²).

Thought leadership

LBNL’s Guide for High Performance Buildings Released

Singh, Ravache and Sartor author groundbreaking guide for energy efficient buildings in India as part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory intellectual contribution to the US-India Strategic Energy Partnership.

Lead author Reshma Singh is Program Director of the Department of Energy’s Center for Building Energy Research and Development (CBERD) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab…

Meeting the Needs of Building Materials with Emerging Technology

Nothing changes in building construction…until it changes. Incumbents are looking for competitive advantage and startups are looking to disrupt the status quo. Despite a fear of disruption, most legacy sector companies are not adept at working with startups at the bleeding edge of innovation. ProblemSpace connects legacy sector companies with the innovation ecosystem to help solve vexing technical challenges.

The Secret City that Paved the Way for Modern Prefabrication

The construction industry has been contending with an aging workforce, extended labor shortages, lack of innovation, and narrow profit margins for decades. Since 1947, it has been outpaced in labor productivity by a factor of 16. It’s no surprise then that, on average, large construction projects tend to be 80% over budget…