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Decarbonising the built environment

Event date: October 12, 2022

Wednesday, 12 October, 11 am BST

How can the built environment, as a sector, overcome challenges to decarbonise in order to meet the government’s net-zero target?

The global built environment is responsible for almost 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions and 50% of extracted materials use. The challenge is clear: we must decarbonise the built environment in order to meet the UK’s target of net zero by 2050, but the road leading there is full of barriers. We are dependent on current practices, with slow uptake of innovative construction methods and energy sources, materials availability continues to add strain to supply chains and investment is likely to slow down.

In the context of growing economic uncertainty and new leadership, and following a turbulent few years, we look to explore the role construction plays in the ‘race to net zero’ and how historical and recent challenges may impede our efforts. We are, however, also presented with immense opportunities. Our expert panel, from several disciplines, joins us to unpack this topic and share how the members are tackling decarbonisation of the built environment through real-life examples of their successes to date, the delivery challenges they have faced, and the lessons they have learned along the way.


Verner Viisainen

Verner Viisainen joined Green Alliance as a policy analyst in December 2021. Before that, Verner worked as a science communicator at The Naked Scientists. He has previously been a trainer for the Carbon Literacy Project, consulted for the NHS on implementing its net-zero plans and successfully campaigned for Pembroke College, Cambridge, to divest from fossil fuel investments. Verner has an MEng in mechanical engineering from the University of Bristol and a PhD in engineering from the University of Cambridge, with a focus on the manufacture of carbon-fibre composites.


Annabel Clark

Annabel Clark (MIEMA, CEnv) is a Regional Director and the Sustainability Technical Lead for Faithful+Gould. Her focus is on environmental and sustainability consulting within the built environment and she has key experience in environmental assessments, sustainable design, asset management and achieving net-zero carbon across new-build and refurbishment/fit-out projects. She is involved in industry groups such as CLC, LETI and BCO, which are leading on sustainability implementation. Annabel’s enthusiasm for projects and supporting clients is invaluable; her innovative approach assists project teams with achieving holistic sustainability goals.

James Low

James Low oversees Mace’s worldwide responsible business service offer for consultancy and facilities management, and took over as Global Head of Responsible Business in May 2022. He has been with the company for eight years and has been instrumental in its drive to reduce the industry’s carbon emissions. He played a key role in the development of Mace’s net-zero carbon strategy, Steps without Footprints, and has led a strong period of growth for the consultancy business.

Jamie Blunden

Jamie Blunden is a highly specialised Environmental Consultant in RSK’s environment, health and safety compliance and sustainability team. He understands the reality of environmental challenges during project delivery and supports clients in proactively implementing environmental management systems and strategies to achieve project sustainability targets. He is a trained environmental auditor with a particular focus on delivering construction environmental management systems, compliance with environmental and waste regulations and legislation, and production of CL:AIRE-compliant material management plans.

Stephen Elderkin

Stephen took up the position of Director of Environmental Sustainability at National Highways in November 2021. Previously, Stephen was Chief Analyst for National Highways, when he had responsibility for advising and assuring value for money from investment in England’s Strategic Road Network. National Highways was established in 2015 and was given substantially increased delegations and responsibilities. Stephen built a new analytical team of transport planners, economists, operational researchers and evaluation experts to set the standards and provide the analytical advice and assurance for decision makers. He has a decade of experience as a Government Economist. Prior to joining National Highways he worked in central departments (Defra, DECC, BIS) with a particular focus on environmental policy.

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