Mission from MaRS: Better Buildings

Mission from MaRS is a series of ambitious technology adoption programs addressing the climate crisis. Its latest instalment, Mission from MaRS: Better Buildings, aims to help ventures overcome the obstacles of scaling the adoption of their technologies.

The goal of the Better Buildings Mission is to help Canada achieve its climate goals by accelerating the commercialization and adoption of cleantech solutions for the built environment, with a focus on unleashing the commercial potential of Canadian innovation at scale.

This initiative aims to recruit six Canadian ventures that are solving the building industry’s greatest decarbonization challenges and support their commercial deployments to broad-scale adoption.

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How is MaRS involved?

MaRS Discovery District will provide the six chosen ventures with hands-on advice, mentorship, market insights, networking opportunities and critical connections to capital. The industry-informed program aims to prepare high-potential ventures for industry-wide adoption of their technology and facilitate connections to potential adopters, with a pathway to scale.

Program Details

Program Objectives

Mission from MaRS: Better Buildings aims to help Canada achieve its climate goals by accelerating the commercialization and adoption of cleantech solutions for the built environment, with a focus on unleashing the commercial potential of Canadian innovation at scale. Its three key objectives are to:

  1. Reduce the operational emissions of Canada’s building stock through the adoption of innovations.
  2. Accelerate the uptake of low-carbon building materials and methods that will lower the embodied carbon of new buildings.
  3. Amplify the role of Canadian cleantech in existing efforts to create a more resilient, adaptive and affordable built environment.

MaRS will provide the six venture participants the tools they need to scale their decarbonization potential and achieve commercial success.

What we are looking for

Working with real estate owners, operators, developers, and industry experts, Mission from MaRS has identified some key types of technologies and innovations that the Adoption Accelerator will support. These are reflective of industry demand and potential high-impact decarbonization opportunities identified by potential adopters. These technology types are split into two high-level streams to enable a broad representation of relevant technologies: Embodied Carbon, and Operational Carbon. Depending on the quantity and quality of applications received per stream, each stream will recruit 2-4 ventures (for a total of 6 ventures for the entire Adoption Accelerator).

We know that innovation doesn’t always fit in a box. MaRS is open to receiving applications from companies with technologies that can assist with reducing operational and/or embodied GHG emissions that are not specified on the lists below. This includes but is not limited to technologies that enable circularity, leverage data, minimize tenant impact, integrate renewable energy technologies in buildings, or fintech innovations which will result in decarbonization in the buildings and construction sectors. Please join our applicant webinar on July 18 or contact mfm@marsdd.com with any specific questions about your venture’s eligibility.

Stream 1: Embodied Carbon

  • Like-for-like material replacements with low embodied carbon (e.g. concrete, steel, insulation, cladding, etc.)
  • Low-carbon and carbon-negative products including biomaterials and wood/mass timber for more applications
  • Clean construction enablers – techniques, equipment, and software (e.g. to optimize onsite fuel usage or allow for smart ordering), as well as process innovations to large commodity projects
  • Technologies to accelerate and improve the efficiency of construction along with lowering embodied carbon, including modular and offsite assembly
  • Solutions to support compliance with existing and forthcoming embodied carbon regulations, including tracking as built vs. as designed
  • Other, including
    • Densification enabling technologies (ground-up or existing)
    • Disruption in design to generate options and/or optimize efficiency

Stream 2: Operational Carbon

  • Technologies for building envelope, cladding, or other forms of passive energy efficiency improvements (including for improved openings and windows – installation and material)
  • Advanced mechanical systems including electrification of heating and cooling, humidification management, mechanical ventilation, and other technologies
  • Renewable energy generation and/or energy storage solutions
  • Refrigerants or alternatives with low global warming potential
  • Utility load shifting and/or management technologies as well as controls and software to improve automation, monitoring, and control, and reduce controller error while optimizing comfort
  • Other

Participant Benefits

Selected companies will participate in a one-year program with access to a suite of benefits, including:

  • Case-by-case support including curated introductions with potential adopters, capacity support to seek funding for pilot/commercial deployment projects, project implementation/procurement process support, and relationship management.
  • A curriculum of workshops designed to help prepare for commercial success, designed with feedback from potential industry adopters and MaRS subject matter experts.
  • Enhanced public profile and exposure through the Mission from MaRS Climate Champion brand, including highlights in press releases, case studies, media reports and industry events focused on climate technology.
  • Curated introductions to domestic and international investors.
  • Access to mentor networks through investor showcases and curated events with industry experts, customers and partners.
  • Access to market intelligence, capital, talent and communications services offered through MaRS.
  • Opportunities to build relationships with the other selected ventures and industry coalitions through ongoing workshops and capacity-building activities.
  • A special purpose grant of $10,000 to be used toward commercial projects.

Program Eligibility Criteria

The following criteria will determine if an applicant (also referred to as the Venture or Company) is eligible for the accelerator program.

The venture must:

  • not be a subsidiary of a larger parent company that would otherwise not be eligible for the Accelerator;
  • be incorporated, based, and operating in Canada;
  • be majority owned by Canadian shareholders;
  • have been established for at least one year;
  • own a built environment decarbonization (operational or embodied carbon) solution;
  • including the intellectual property of any technology relevant to the solution;
  • the solution must have the potential to significantly reduce GHG emissions;
  • the solution must be proprietary and/or patentable;
  • the solution must have the potential to be scaled globally for major impact;
  • be a small and mid-sized enterprise (SME) as defined by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada; and
  • fall within TRL6 and TRL9 on the nine-point Technology Readiness Level spectrum – as defined below:
    • TRL 6: System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a simulated environment.
    • TRL 7: Prototype ready for demonstration in an appropriate operational environment.
    • TRL 8: Actual technology completed and qualified through tests and demonstrations.
    • TRL 9: Actual technology proven through successful deployment in an operational setting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Applications are open until August 12, 2024

Apply now

The Better Buildings Adoption Accelerator is generously supported by the Peter Gilgan Foundation


For more information, please contact the Mission from MaRS team at mfm@marsdd.com