CleanTech Alliance +
Innovation Cluster Accelerator

The BUILT Cluster

Working together for infrastructure decarbonization

The Buildings, Utilities, and Infrastructure Living Together – or the BUILT Cluster leverages Washington State’s social and intellectual capital to accelerate, scale, and replicate sustainable and innovative planning, design, and construction practices/technologies. We work together to transform the built environment equitably and decarbonize related infrastructure materials and operations while continuously improving environmental justice.

Who
we are

The Built Cluster aims to use its knowledge, experience, and expertise to lead the world in developing innovative clean technologies and engineering practices. Collaborators participate and contribute to joint projects and activities to decarbonize the built environment.

We work at the confluence of the built and natural environment to apply our ethos of stewardship, ingenuity, and the ethical application of technology to grow thriving businesses and create and maintain healthy communities. Our mission is to increase our collaborators’ competitiveness and actively demonstrate the benefits of industry co-location in the state of Washington and the region.

The BUILT Cluster welcomes collaborators from Washington State and the Northwest region. We seek collaborators from the breadth and depth of the building and construction value chain, including developers, builders, designers, material manufacturers, entrepreneurs, investors, RD&D & academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and policymakers.

We seek collaborators eager to investigate the application of new technologies and more sustainable operations through demonstration projects and creative alliances. We develop partnerships with educational and vocational entities and the trades to ensure equal and diverse access to training and learning opportunities.

We provide our collaborators with the organizational tools and platforms to encourage industry co-location by working together. Our cluster activities support industry, entrepreneurs, and startups who work to develop and commercialize innovations that contribute to equitable decarbonizing of the manufacturing, operations, maintenance, retrofitting, and demolition activities in the built environment.

Spokane, WA

What
we do

We strive to create a world where sustainable and equitable design, manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance, and refurbishment of the built environment ensure a thriving economy and communities. 

The BUILT Cluster is committed to:

  • Identifying and collaborating on innovation projects with commercial potential by working together on new solutions for a carbon-free built environment
  • Partnering to support cradle-to-career education and training opportunities for related industries and the trades
  • Accelerating technological innovation and entrepreneurial success

Seattle, WA

Clusters as an economic development strategy

The BUILT Cluster is part of Washington’s Innovation Cluster Accelerator program. It is based on an internationally proven economic development model that is the first state-funded program of its kind in the U.S.

The Innovation Cluster Accelerator program encourages cluster collaborators to work together and foster new ideas so that the state’s industries will be better positioned to solve challenges, drive innovation, increase market access, and stimulate sustainable growth. 

Innovation Cluster Accelerator leverages Washington’s existing competitive advantages and equips its industries to be globally competitive today and tomorrow. This future-facing strategy ensures economic prosperity across Washington and the nation.  

The Decarbonization Challenge in the built environment

The built environment – including residential, commercial, and industrial infrastructure – has a vital role in responding to climate change. With buildings responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions and 23% of Washington’s carbon emissions, decarbonizing related infrastructure, materials, and processes are a cost-effective way to mitigate the effects of climate breakdown.

The BUILT Cluster dedicates its efforts to developing net-zero carbon solutions across the value chain of the built environment. This includes companies, entrepreneurs, and research institutions dedicated to decarbonizing the raw material supply, manufacturing processes, transportation, construction, all stages of use and operations, and end-of-life phases of the building and construction life cycle. 

Infrastructure Decarbonization

Carbon Producing/Carbon Reduction Value Chain

Workforce Training and Performance

Cheney, WA
  • K-12 STEM pipeline
  • Continuous education for the trades
  • Internships/apprenticeships
  • Recruitment & talent acquisition

Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Impacts

  • Access to STEM Education
  • Diversify workforce
  • Diversify cluster and project teams

Product and Construction
Stage

Tri-Cities, WA
  • Raw material supply
  • Energy and manufacturing
  • Construction/Installation processes
  • Transportation
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, & recover processes

Use
Stage

Yakima, WA
  • Operational energy use and electrification
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Refurbishment
  • Replacement
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, & recover processes

End of Life
Stage

Vancouver, WA
  • Deconstruction/demolition
  • Waste processes
  • Disposal
  • Transportation
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, & recover processes

Projects

Fusion Energy Industry Outreach Project

This multi-pronged project seeks to raise the profile and competitiveness of the fusion clean energy industry. Activities include hosting the Seattle Fusion Week Summit in 2021. Participants attended lab site tours, a VIP reception that included policymakers, and featured speakers from federal agencies such as NASA and DARPA.

The fusion energy project also focuses on establishing regulatory and legislative priorities to support the fusion energy sector, marketing strategies to raise awareness of the decarbonizing benefits of fusion energy, and workforce development partnerships to educate and train fusion energy technicians.

District Energy, Deep Lake Water Cooling, and Salmon Habitat Restoration in the Lake Washington Ship Canal

In partnership with dJoule, this project seeks to assess the impact of integrating deep lake water cooling in a district energy system that can simultaneously be used to improve temperature and dissolved oxygen conditions in the Lake Washington Ship Canal (LWSC).  The LWSC is a known thermal barrier that impacts the health and survival of juvenile and adult spawning salmon that pass through it during migration.

Our goal is to establish if shared infrastructure can be configured to reduce energy demand, decarbonize a district energy network, and measurably improve salmon habitat.  For environmental fluid dynamics and deep lake water cooling engineering, our team is seeking the expert support of DSI, Inc. and Makai Ocean Engineering.

Learn more

Wastewater Energy Recovery in King County

Led by SHARC Energy Systems, a Canadian company with manufacturing facilities in Bellingham, Washington, the project aims to expand the recovery of energy created by wastewater capture from commercial and residential buildings in King County in Washington.

One objective of the project is to secure a state regulatory definition of waste heat to be included in the state’s definition of clean energy sources. This will allow SHARC and other similar companies to be eligible for Thermal Renewable Energy Credits (T-RECs) and other benefits that come with the state’s clean energy designation. Learn more about SHARC Energy and their proprietary technology here.

Energy Workforce Convening

The CleanTech Alliance energy workforce project will engage industry, governments, training institutions, and other stakeholders in laying the foundations for a strong and secure renewable energy workforce. Stakeholders will discuss why investing in skills is key to realizing the clean energy transition.

The project will assess current workforce shortages, gaps, and demand. It will also review labor market studies for industry workforce trends, identify what kind of workforce positions need to be filled, and determine positions that need additional skill sets. The project will also assess emerging innovations that could create new gaps in workforce readiness and availability use analytic tools to identify and seek opportunities to expand impactful K-20 career-connected learning industry programs. 

Join Us

The cluster is already working to increase the development of innovative demonstration projects, entrepreneurial success, and workforce training activities to assist in scaling equitable and competitive solutions to decarbonize the built environment. Your active participation helps spur industry-level solutions by engaging in the cluster’s cross-sector network of those who work in and support the built environment and construction sectors. To join or learn more, please fill out the form below.