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Construction solutions for a smarter, more sustainable future (Interview with Tom Robinson, Founder of Adaptavate)

Tom Robinson; Adaptavate;

Wed, 18 May 2016

2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Tom Robinson, paves the way for the UK construction industry to join the circular economy.
The 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Tom Robinson is the founder of Adaptavate, a company making the next generation of building materials more sustainable and energy efficient. Last week, we caught up with Tom to talk about the inspiration behind his business and its contribution to a low carbon economy.
After receiving a total of £30,000 from the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Tom Robinson is now set to take his company’s first building product, Breathaboard, to the market by the end of the year. This bio-based, healthier and cleaner alternative to construction plasterboard, which contributes up to 15 million tonnes to landfills every year, is made primarily from agricultural waste sourced from UK farmers. 
“We are currently conducting performance testing of Breathaboard with the University of Bath,” says Tom. “Just last week we received results indicating that Breathaboard has twice the thermal performance of traditional plasterboard. This validates that we’ve developed a healthier and superior performing product.”
(Tom Robinson of Adaptavate)
Where conventional plasterboard walls struggle to deal with moisture in the air, leading to mould and potential health concerns, Breathaboard, as the name suggests, is designed to ‘breathe’ with building occupants. The product can absorb and release moisture, which reduces pollutants in the air and removes the need for ventilation systems, hence cutting electricity costs for the users. 
The current focus for the Adaptavate team is to bring Breathaboard to the market. But in the longer term, Tom’s ambition is for Adaptavate to lead innovation in the construction industry by delivering additional higher performing biocomposite materials. Tom says that solutions like Breathaboard represent what he sees as the future of the manufacturing process:  
“Instead of traditional linear system of production: take, make and waste,” says Tom, “We’ve created a circular economy by growing and recycling building products. Because Breathaboard is a bi-product of a crop, 75% of it can be grown each year and at the end of its use, it can be entirely recycled or even broken down into a fertiliser.”
Adaptavate’s innovative products and the team’s passion for more sustainable ways of living have attracted a range of supporters. The company is now building prospective client networks across Europe, and Tom is taking on a number of speaking engagements to promote the benefits of circular economy and recycling. 
“The growth in awareness we’ve had following our recognition by Shell LiveWIRE has been fantastic,” says Tom. “As an entrepreneur who is building a business, I’ve had a fair amount of rejections. Being associated with the calibre of companies that are recognised by Shell LiveWIRE is both humbling and empowering. 
We strive to have Adaptavate sit amongst other innovative companies who are breaking new ground in the sustainability space, and I believe that today we are well on our way to contributing to a more sustainable future.”
If you've got a great idea for a business that will provide a solution to the world’s future transport, food, energy, or natural resource challenges, or make our urban environments cleaner and more sustainable places to work and live in, apply online now for a £5,000 Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award.

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