Carbon Expert of the Month, October 2021
Micaela is the Group Sustainability Project Lead at the leading housing developer Bonava.
Bonava is a residential development company building sustainable houses across Northern Europe.
Watch the full interview
What led you to become a construction carbon expert?
My educational background is in Sustainability Science and Environmental Engineering. I have a broad working experience with sustainability issues having worked with development projects in the public and private sector, for example: managing the corporate engagement at CDP – a global nonprofit driving environmental disclosure. I was able to learn the businesses, challenges and opportunities, and one of them being the construction sector.
I joined Bonava to work with climate and sustainability in March, 2019.
What is the current focus of your role?
At the end of 2019, Bonava set our Science-Based Targets to reduce our climate impact by 50% until 2030. This aligns with the Paris Agreement and the 1.5 degrees scenario. My main focus is driving the development across businesses to ensure that Bonava delivers on these climate goals and improve the ability to follow up and report progress.
During the process of setting the Science-Based Targets, we noticed that our biggest impact is in the Indirect Scope 3 emissions in the category of Purchased Goods and Services – so essentially the materials we build our homes with. Therefore, efficient buildings and sustainable materials are crucial to reaching Bonava’s Science-Based Targets, and a life cycle analysis (LCA) allows us to measure in order to manage that climate impact.
Which projects and achievements are you the proudest of?
We had a project where we compared different slab solutions across our Nordic markets, looking at the impact of the materials. I performed an LCA analysis of the slab and top layer comparing as is and different hypotheses. The results showed that approximately 35% reduced climate impact could come if we compare only the slab and top layer. Of course, we need to do further LCA that are more detailed with manufacturer specific data. There are often discrepancies in results because of missing supplier EPDs for concrete and other materials.
It was positive to be able to measure and show possible change in a climate sustainability perspective as well, not just a cost benefits for example.
“The market is changing fast, but not fast enough”
“One Click LCA is a user-friendly tool with a big database. It covers the data, as well as most of our markets, and incorporates national tools for climate declarations.”
How do you see carbon performance evolving in the market?
The market is changing fast, but not fast enough. We are keen to collaborate with contractors and suppliers and to work with suppliers that have ambitious targets like Bonava, and that can show us the climate impact of the materials we build with. I think this is important to make it possible for the whole industry to transition towards a less carbon intensive economy.
At the same time, we are seeing increasing client requirements, from investors to municipalities, for example, the Climate Declarations that will subsequently become mandatory part in all our markets, starting with Sweden in 2022. So we want and need to be able to measure embodied carbon soon.
Our aim is to use materials with proven less climate impact and low carbon impact. Low carbon emission products are emerging. But for that, we need the suppliers’ specific EPD that show how much part carbon we are able to reduce. And I think the earlier we start, the better improvements we can make, as changing the building system and the materials can take time.
How does One Click LCA help you achieve your goals?
One Click LCA is a user-friendly tool with a big database. It covers the data, as well as most of our markets, and incorporates national tools for climate declarations, for example, Klimatdeklaration for Sweden, Future Built Zero Tool for Norway and others.
There’s also a great team of experts behind One Click LCA. I find the up-to-date webinars insightful.
In a nutshell, I know there’re constant developments and improvements when it comes to the national tools, having a complete EPD database and supporting us and our suppliers to create EPDs and LCA.
About ‘Carbon Expert of the Month’
Carbon Expert of the Month is One Click LCA’s way to showcase the expertise, inspiration and best practices of One Click LCA users. Each month, we feature experts who are passionate about reducing carbon in general and from materials in particular, who seek to push projects beyond the boundaries of common practice, and who wish to share from their personal experience.