The New Carbon Architecture: Treating Carbon as a Precious Material Resource

Innovations in design and materials are making carbon storage in the built environment a huge opportunity for global good.  We must strive to minimize embodied carbon emissions in project design and product development.  This session will showcase the latest low-carbon and carbon-storing innovations and describe how to make them standard practice.

Session notes by Ryan Zizzio

Ryan Zizzo, Technical Director at Zizzo Strategy, led a session on Embodied Carbon at the Smart Carbon Building Day, an affiliate event of the Global Climate Action Summit, hosted in San Francisco in early September 2018. The session summarized three project case studies focused on driving down embodied carbon to achieve truly net zero developments:

  • Norwegian government properties, as the government works towards a climate neutral portfolio by 2030, including embodied carbon.
  • Microsoft’s 500-acre campus redevelopment in Redmond, Washington. The design calls for embodied carbon to be reduced by over 60% against business as usual scenarios. The reduction will be equivalent to the annual emissions of 2,200 homes. All remaining emissions will be offset.
  • Evergreen’s carbon neutral redevelopment of the historic “Kiln Building” into the Future Cities Centre at their award-winning Brick Works campus in Toronto’s Don Valley. Embodied emissions are being quantified for the entire construction process and will be offset.


Session Lead: Ryan Zizzo, Technical Director, Zizzo Strategy

Ryan Zizzo MASc, PEng, LEED AP ND, is a professional engineer with a decade of green building project management experience across Canada and Europe. He creates and implements sustainability strategies that help clients understand, track and reduce their environmental impacts and exposure to climate change risk. Strategies including green building certifications, embodied carbon life cycle assessment, and resiliency strategies. He previously worked for one of Canada’s leading green engineering firms, was a lecturer at Finland’s largest Technical Universities and has provided green building education seminars throughout Europe. Ryan holds engineering degrees from Queen’s University (BScEng), the University of Toronto (MASc) and is a LEED AP ND.


Katie Ross leads Sustainability for Microsoft’s global Real Estate portfolio. She is responsible for developing and implementing sustainability strategy for their office and retail portfolio. Katie's career has been dedicated to the adoption of high performance, healthy, sustainable buildings. She develops sustainability strategy for Microsoft's new campuses including Puget Sound, Silicon Valley, Hyderabad, and Israel, oversees Microsoft's Zero Waste certification for their headquarters campus, and works with global sites to implement sustainable best practices. She prides herself on being a 'sustainability translator' - ensuring that Microsoft's employees and the public understand the nuances and importance of a particular initiative.


Panu Pasanen is the CEO of Bionova, a company delivering sustainable performance solutions for the global construction industry. He is in charge of the innovative and integrated One Click LCA platform, allowing energy designers, architects, structural engineers, and other construction experts to use their design packages for automated LCA. He has expanded One Click LCA's use to 50+ countries and achieved compliance with 30+ green building rating systems. Moreover, he consults regulators, government agencies, standardization bodies, and certification organisations on the adoption of LCA-based regulations and policies and has authored numerous studies on the subject. Presently, he supports the Finnish government with national embodied carbon regulations and oversees the delivery of the Norwegian government's comprehensive carbon tracking and optimization solution. He is also a frequent speaker on building LCA in international conferences and public forums.