Built Environment

S3, E4: How To Fast Track Built Environment Sustainability With Panu Pasanen of One Click LCA

todayMay 24, 2024


S3, E4: How To Fast Track Built Environment Sustainability With Panu Pasanen of One Click LCA

Welcome to another episode of Constructive Voices! Today, we have an exciting guest with us, Panu Pasanen, the CEO and founder of One Click LCA. Panu is the brilliant mind and driving force behind this innovative lifecycle assessment and environmental product declaration software.

Used in 170+ countries, this is a tool that can help you fast track built environment sustainability.

About Panu Pasanen

Panu Pasanen is the CEO and sole founder of One Click LCA, the world’s leading software platform for life-cycle assessment (LCA) and environmental product declaration (EPD) in construction & manufacturing.

Panu Pasanen Onc Cllick LCA Constructive Voices guest

He is an LCA, embodied carbon, and life-cycle costing (LCC) expert and entrepreneur, with a specialisation in the use of LCA and LCC for green building systems globally (primarily across Europe, North America, and Asia). Panu is a life-long advocate for the decarbonisation of the built environment.

He is driven to scale carbon performance optimisation with easy, automated, and affordable LCA. He is focused on developing One Click LCA to be the most user-friendly, automated, and robust LCA and LCC software platform on the market.

In addition to embodied carbon, LCA, and LCC, he works on Green Building credits for BREEAM, LEED, DGNB, CEEQUAL, and Energie-Carbone, among other things. He also collaborates with government bodies and large corporations to draft regulations and policies to achieve cost-effective and durable carbon reduction. He is also interested in sustainability metrics and standards — as well as sustainability software innovation. 

Learn more about Panu’s work with One Click LCA here: www.oneclicklca.co

Some Episode Highlights

Panu’s Background and Journey

Jackie De Burca: Panu, let’s start by giving our audience a bit of background on you. I noticed you worked at Vodafone before setting up One Click LCA, and you speak seven different languages. How has this diverse experience influenced your career and your brain?

Panu Pasanen: Absolutely. I’m a software engineer by education. During my studies, I began learning languages like French and German. Living abroad for about a decade, I picked up several languages, which was both challenging and enriching. Working in various software companies and the telecom industry, I realised my passion lay in contributing to environmental sustainability, which led me to start One Click LCA in 2010.

Built Environment Sustainability With Panu Pasanen

Transition to One Click LCA

Jackie De Burca: That’s fascinating. You mentioned a shift from telecom to environmental sustainability. How did you make that transition?

Panu Pasanen: While working in telecom, I always had a side business focused on sustainability. In 2010, I decided to make it my full-time profession. I wanted to create a global impact, and targeting a broad market rather than just Finland seemed the right path.

Understanding Embodied and Operational Carbon

Jackie De Burca: Let’s dive into some foundational concepts. What are the differences between embodied and operational carbon in construction, and why is reducing embodied carbon crucial?

Panu Pasanen: Embodied carbon comes from the production, transport, and installation of building materials, like cement and steel, which are highly energy-intensive. Operational carbon, on the other hand, is related to the building’s energy consumption over its lifetime. Reducing embodied carbon is vital because it’s front-loaded—meaning it’s incurred before the building is even occupied. Effective lifecycle assessments (LCA) help us measure and reduce these emissions comprehensively.

Role of Lifecycle Assessments

Jackie De Burca: How do lifecycle assessments play a role in identifying and reducing embodied carbon emissions?

Panu Pasanen: LCAs measure environmental impacts over a building’s entire lifecycle, from raw material extraction to end-of-life disposal. By using One Click LCA, we automate this process, integrating cost plans and building information models to accurately calculate and reduce embodied carbon, ensuring compliance with various standards.

Growth and Global Reach of One Click LCA

Jackie De Burca: Since founding One Click LCA in 2010, the company has grown tremendously and is now used in around 70 countries. Can you share the journey and its capabilities?

Panu Pasanen: Sure. From the beginning, we aimed for automation and multi-standard compliance. It took about seven years to cover Europe, and by 2019, we expanded significantly in North America. Continuous improvement, expanding to new geographies, and addressing broader sustainability concerns have been key to our growth.

The Role of AI in Sustainability

Jackie De Burca: AI is a big part of your platform. How does it enhance One Click LCA’s capabilities?

Panu Pasanen: AI helps save time and improve accuracy. For instance, in the UK, AI reduced the number of unrecognised data entries by a factor of 10. AI also ensures quality assurance, catching human errors before they impact our clients.

Impact of Early LCA Adoption

Jackie De Burca: How can early adoption of LCA in the construction process reduce carbon emissions?

Panu Pasanen: Early adoption allows for innovative designs like slim floors, reducing concrete usage, and planning for low-carbon materials. This proactive approach can lead to significant cost savings and carbon reductions, sometimes by up to 40%.

Strategic Investments and Their Impact

Jackie De Burca: In November last year, you secured a €40 million investment. What does this mean for One Click LCA and its impact on climate change and biodiversity?

Panu Pasanen: This investment allows us to enhance our enterprise capabilities, ensuring high-quality, reliable data for our customers, and supporting their most complex and demanding projects.

Acquisition of Buildrz

Jackie De Burca You recently acquired Buildrz, a generative AI platform. How will this acquisition enhance your services?

Panu Pasanen: Builders enables us to generate thousands of design iterations quickly, optimising for sustainability and other factors. This rapid iteration helps find the best solutions efficiently, enhancing both environmental and financial performance.

Current Legislation and Its Impact

Jackie De Burca What are the key legislative developments globally that are setting strong requirements for the construction industry?

Panu Pasanen: The European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive mandates embodied carbon criteria for construction permits by 2026, and the incorporation of carbon data into CE marking. These regulations are game-changers, setting a standard for other regions to follow.

Addressing Industry Challenges

Jackie De Burca How can the construction industry overcome challenges like insufficient environmental data and limited investor awareness?

Panu Pasanen: Standardising data collection and promoting transparency are crucial. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are essential as they provide verified, reliable data, reducing the risk of greenwashing and enhancing trust.

Future Collaborations and Biodiversity Net Gain Tool

Jackie De Burca Finally, you’ve launched a Biodiversity Net Gain Tool and are offering an online course. Can you give us a brief introduction?

Panu Pasanen: Our Biodiversity Net Gain Tool helps developers in England meet new requirements to enhance local biodiversity by 10%. It allows them to explore various design options to achieve this goal efficiently. We’ll discuss this in more detail in a future episode.

About One Click LCA:

One Click LCA is a Helsinki-based tech company decarbonising construction and manufacturing with world-leading, easy-to-use, and automated life-cycle assessment (LCA) to calculate and reduce the environmental impacts of building, infrastructure, and renovation projects — as well as construction and other manufactured products. It also enables manufacturers to generate and publish third-party verified EPDs, and allows assessment of circularity, life-cycle cost, and soon also biodiversity.

One Click LCA EPS logo_colored

One Click LCA is used in +170 countries. Its decarbonisation platform includes a unique global database with +200,000 LCA datasets, and it supports +80 standards and certifications, including LEED, BREEAM, GRESB and other national regulations. One Click LCA was founded in Finland in 2001, and has a team of +200 people on all continents.

Written by: Jackie De Burca

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