New Product Manager aims for circularity at scale
Author: David Parker, Product Manager at Madaster
To quote my fellow American, John Adams, “every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” These are words that have guided my career and life thus far, and will continue to do so now that I’ve joined Madaster as Product Manager. I’ll leverage my experience in architecture, building performance, real estate portfolio management, and circularity to advance the development of the Madaster Platform together with our visionary team.
My work can be described by three main elements, all geared toward achieving circularity at scale in the built environment. First, I’ll focus on delivering value to our clients by discussing and distilling their evolving challenges related to transitioning to a circular model of construction. Second, I’ll develop expertise on the latest European and country-specific circular economy regulations and initiatives. Third, I’ll collaborate with our development team to deliver cutting-edge software that responds to client demand and the political climate.
How did I come to join Madaster? Well, that requires a little backstory.
Early in my career, like many building sustainability professionals in the early 2010’s, my work focused on reducing the operational emissions associated with energy and water usage. As a community, we’d celebrate our wins, thinking “if only we could make all buildings net-zero energy, then all our sustainability problems would be solved!”.
What we failed to acknowledge then were the “invisible” environmental damages caused by constructing, maintaining, and disposing of buildings. In our defense, we couldn’t measure the “invisible” because the data didn’t yet exist. Since then, in places like the European Union, mandatory reporting standards at the material- and product-level have begun making these data available and new insights possible.
For example, it’s now well understood that embodied emissions, and not operational emissions, tend to be the largest portion of emissions associated with a building’s lifecycle. Thus, to reduce carbon emissions at a global scale, our calculations must expand to include how raw materials are extracted, manufactured into products, transported to buildings, installed, maintained, and eventually disassembled. Insights like these are only possible with growing access to reliable data.
To take it a step further, we must avoid zero- or low-value end-of-life scenarios for construction materials, such as landfill, backfill, or incineration. Keeping materials “in the loop” is a significant challenge that requires integration of supply chain actors across all phases of a material or product’s lifecycle. Here, again, to achieve circularity at scale we need standardized and trustworthy data that can be easily shared between stakeholders.
This is where Madaster comes in. Our software connects actors across the built environment with material and product databases, empowering them to make more informed decisions that reduce environmental impact. Registering materials and products as subcomponents of a building asset means that they themselves become assets with residual value – thus creating new sources of value for real estate owners and exciting potential for secondary markets. Connecting materials and products to a single cadastral location allows quantities to be understood at regional levels, which can illuminate opportunities for urban mining to combat the growing issue of resource scarcity. Achieving all of this at scale opens space for groundbreaking industry transition through the production and sharing of new forms of data. I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join Madaster in shaping the data-driven future of the circular built environment.
Outside of Madaster, I’m a husband, father, friend and son. I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family over a good meal and hiking in the great outdoors.