Estimated reading time 5 min

Materialisting helps builders make more sustainable choices of materials

Materialisting is a platform service for designers and construction professionals that helps them find and compare the climate and environmental impact data of building materials. For material manufacturers, the service provides a channel to communicate information about the different characteristics of their products directly to contractors.


The construction sector is under enormous pressure to reduce its environmental impact, as it generates a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions and waste. At the national level, emissions from the sector will be curbed by the new Building Act, which will enter into force in 2025. The Act sets requirements for the environmental performance of construction and emissions reporting. 

The environmental friendliness of construction products will also be promoted by the forthcoming update of the EU Construction Products Regulation. The regulation promotes the circular economy of construction products, including through reuse. The EU is tightening its obligations to report and communicate environmental impacts. 

“Almost half of construction emissions come from construction materials. But comparing them is difficult, as information on the environmental impacts of materials is dispersed and difficult to interpret,” says Hilda Rantanen, co-founder and CEO of Materialisting

Rantanen’s background is in interior architecture and real estate development. In her work, she has seen a gradual increase in the interest of investors and property owners in the environmental impact of construction products and materials. They are demanding more and more comprehensive justification, for example, of the environmental impact of a material or products used on projects and why those were chosen. 

“But there was no way to justify the choices. That’s why we set out to creat a tool that would enable an easy compilation of environmental data on materials and construction products. Materialisting provides information in a visual and comparable format to facilitate selection, justification and regulatory reporting.” 

Environmental data guides construction from the design stage 

The service creates an environmental profile for each construction product or material on the platform that provides information on the product’s impact on climate and nature throughout its life cycle, from the introduction of raw materials to recycling. 

In addition, the service rates how well a product meets the principles of the circular economy, such as repairability. The end result is a holistic overview of the environmental impact of the product or material and the technical properties of the product. 

The service combines data from several data sources. Climate and nature impact data comes from third-party verified environmental product declarations (EPDs) and life cycle assessed emissions data. The service also provides information on the technical and performance characteristics of products, such as strength and moisture resistance, which in turn are obtained from manufacturers and public sources. The service clearly indicates where the data comes from and where there are gaps. 

For example, an architect or designer can search for a product based on technical characteristics or intended use. The service shows environmental profiles, a summary of the product’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of environmental impact for the products that match the search. 

“The environmental impact of construction is often assessed retrospectively, and environmentally essential criteria do not guide the choices. Our tool helps to bring environmental impact to the forefront alongside other criteria, such as technical properties,” says Rantanen. 

Another group of users are manufacturers of building materials and interior products. They can create a profile for their products and compile the environmental data they produce. 

The service helps them to present the information to potential customers. 

“If a company has invested in producing environmental data, it is good to get the most out of the investment.” 

The third group of users are cities and municipalities that put procurement and construction projects out to tender. The service helps define the environmental criteria of of the tender so that the market can respond to them. Subscribers can also find new materials in the service, for example for pilot projects. 

The green transition in construction will take a leap towards the end of the year 

The service was piloted in 2023 by Finnish architecture and design firms and building material manufacturers. Materialisting plans to expand to the European market as early as next year. 

“The users of the pilot phase have been satisfied with the service. They have also provided feedback on the amount and scope of the data. They wanted more ways to use the data, for example to support sales. We are currently developing these features, for example by increasing the amount of data,” says Rantanen. 

In the future, it will also be possible to set environmental targets for the entire construction project, such as its carbon footprint. The service will monitor target achievement in real time. 

What's this about?