An Interview with Telford Homes' Head of Sustainability, John O'Dwyer
Ahead of the "Decarbonising the Supply Chain" session at our Built Environment Forum, we caught up with John O'Dwyer, Head of Sustainability for Telford Homes, who kindly shared his perspective on the net zero transition.
What is the central challenge, that you see in your work, to a rapid acceleration of the net zero transition?
"We have set ourselves the ambitious target of being a net zero carbon developer by 2030 and were the first housebuilder to launch a public facing roadmap in 2020, outlining the key interim milestones in realising this ambition. As we start to decarbonise the operational performance of our buildings, much of which will be driven through the Future Homes Standard, the sector’s focus will shift towards the embodied carbon associated with construction materials. Accurately forecasting and monitoring whole life carbon with greater transparency through supplier Environmental Product Declarations will continue to be a challenge for the sector going forward. This is especially important considering that, by most estimates, concrete and steel account for just over 50% of all industrial emissions."
How are you working to tackle the above?
"Our BLL Roadmap outlines our staircasing approach to reducing our operational and embodied carbon out to 2030 which we have developed in line with London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETi) Climate Emergency design guide and the RIBA 2030 Climate challenge. All of our new build schemes benefit from low carbon or renewable technologies and we are transitioning from gas-led infrastructure to decarbonised electrified systems, through either air or ground source heat pumps. We carry out Whole Life Carbon assessments on all of our new schemes and continue to make great strides in reducing embodied carbon against our 2019 baseline, to ensure a 10% reduction in line with our 2023 aspirations. Increasingly challenging our value chain on providing Environmental Product Declarations will enable us to select products with a lower carbon intensity, and we continue to set internal mapping objectives in this space. We also continue to reach out to concrete manufacturers to get greater clarity on the recent market disruption in greener concrete options and are actively appraising the GGBS concrete content in our schemes in order to reduce our carbon impacts."
"Accurately forecasting and monitoring whole life carbon with greater transparency through supplier Environmental Product Declarations will continue to be a challenge for the sector going forward."
With whom do you want to connect to help enable the above?
"Happy to connect with progressive companies that are providing innovative low carbon technology and are taking greater strides to define the carbon intensity of their construction materials. We continue to collaborate closely with our peers through the Future Homes Hub to ensure we are well positioned to deliver the sustainable homes of the future. We were delighted to have contributed to the Hub’s recent Embodied and Whole Life Carbon report."