Housebuilder says it will reduce direct and indirect emissions by 42% by 2030, and ramp up timber frame construction

Housebuilder Countryside has put moving production over to modern methods of construction at the heart of a new “net zero” strategy for the business, unveiled yesterday.

Countryside said it is aiming to reduce the direct and indirect emissions of the company by 42% by 2030, while reducing indirect emissions from its supply chain and home-users by 52% in the same timeframe.

The firm said the pledges had been ratified by the Science-Based Targets Institute as being consistent with the need to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees of historic temperatures.

With Countryside finding the vast majority of the emissions from its operations, 98%, come from its supply chain and the use of its homes - so called Scope 3 emissions - it said its strategy will target both fabric efficiency in its home designs and the continued expansion of low-carbon timber-frame modular construction.

Countryside said 18% of its emissions are embodied in the construction materials it uses, and that a move over to timber frame construction, away from concrete and steel, will reduce embodied carbon by 40% by 2025.

Countryside Properties MMC factory, Warrington

Countryside’s MMC factory in Warrington

Countryside has already invested c.£6m in a manufacturing facility at Warrington which produces fully formed, closed panel timber frame homes, and a new £20m timber modular factory in Bardon, Leicestershire, opened in June 21.

The firm has set a target that 50% of all of its homes are to be built using MMC by 2025, at which point it will have produced 20,000 homes this way.

Its strategy said: “We firmly believe that adopting MMC, such as modular timber frames, is key to delivering homes at scale, pace and quality, while ensuring more sustainable outcomes.”

Countryside said it will also reduce carbon emissions from its homes in use by 75% by 2025 through building with greater fabric efficiency and using triple glazing and heat pumps in new homes.

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On-site emissions will also be cut by an estimated 80% by switching plant and machinery to run on vegetable oil by 2023. The firm said the majority of its suppliers – 60% - are on course to have themselves set science-based targets by 2025.

Iain McPherson, group chief executive, Countryside said he was “constantly working to make Countryside as agile and responsive as possible” to the transition to a sustainable built environment.

He added that it was important that COP26 summit “accelerates action towards the goal set out by the Paris Agreement and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

“We are absolutely committed to that ambition and recognise the crucial role the construction industry has in supporting its goals.”