Henry Brothers sets bar for sustainability in construction sector

Pictured at the Henry Brothers nature reserve are the firm's CSR director Ian Henry and acting group environmental and quality manager Deborah Madden
Pictured at the Henry Brothers nature reserve are the firm's CSR director Ian Henry and acting group environmental and quality manager Deborah Madden

SOUTH Derry construction giant Henry Brothers has launched a strategy to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The company - named recently as Northern Ireland's Responsible Business of the Year - is already building a new net carbon zero nursery and forest school for Staffordshire University and a £9m sustainable development at Loughborough University.

It also aims to reduce total greenhouse gasses emissions by 2 per cent each year for the next nine years and to halve Co2e emissions by 2030.

Its 'Journey to Net Zero' strategy will be achieved through a number of initiatives such as implementing 100 per cent hybrid/electric cars by 2025, utilising 100 per cent eco cabins on sites by 2025, and enhancing its biodiversity by 2 per cent a year.

The firm's CSR director Ian Henry said: "Sustainability has been at the heart of our operations for over two decades with eco-friendly practices adopted since the 1990s and progress recorded since 2014.

"The outcomes of our sustainability initiatives to date - which include developing the Henry Brothers nature reserve, creating the sustainability professionals forum, and involvement with tree planting schemes - have been excellent, but the launch of our net zero strategy is certainly our most significant commitment to date.

"It comes at a time where businesses and individuals have more of a responsibility than ever before to change our behaviour and protect our environment.

"Our Journey to Net Zero outlines exactly how we will achieve this ambitious goal by working with our employees, clients and partners to achieve a sustainable future that builds upon the extensive foundations already in place."

The strategy identifies how the company will review and implement new practices around fuel, gas, car mileage, electricity use, waste transport, air mileage and delivery mileage carbon.

The reduction in each of these areas will be achieved through seven key ventures - reducing the operational impact, a sustainability professionals forum, carbon literacy training, reduction in the reliance of fuel, the ongoing R&D programme with Queen's University, tree planting schemes, and honest and transparent reporting and disclosure.

Ian added: "This journey comes with significant investments of time and money which will be used in part to deliver carbon literacy training for all of our employees, maintain our environmental learning programme, and research new methods of introducing renewable electric into our projects and working.

"The buildings we are currently constructing will be in place in 50 years so sustainable construction is required now to ensure these structures are suitable long into the future. Our work has always been of the highest calibre, and we are delighted when local communities directly benefit from it, but to now deliver construction projects that also benefit the environment is inspiring."

Henry Brothers, which has sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the Midlands, has recently started work on Staffordshire University's first net zero carbon building, which will incorporate a forest school facility, air source heat pump heating, roof mounted solar panels, and earth tube passive cooling systems.

Ian said. "For construction to have a real impact, sustainability needs to be a vital element at all levels of the supply chain. Our partnerships with our subcontractors and suppliers are crucial to ensuring the success of our Journey to Net Zero and we look forward to working together to ensure responsible construction."