Carbon Expert of the Month October 2020
Jon HallSustainability consultant – materials and embodied carbon specialist at BDP (Building Design Partnership Ltd). BDP is a major international, interdisciplinary practice of architects, designers, engineers, and urbanists. The firm offers expertise across disciplines, locations, sectors, and all major building types to deliver a truly integrated way of working — resulting in high quality, effective, and inspiring built spaces.
Recently, Jon Hall has written an insightful article outlining some of the challenges he and the team at BDP face when quantifying embodied carbon of building designs. The article also offers insights on how they are addressing the obstacles and creating opportunities for improvement. In this Carbon Expert of the Month – October edition, Jon further shares his takes on carbon-reduction development on the market.
Q: What led you to become a construction carbon expert?My interest in sustainability began while I was employed as an engineering apprentice at Jaguar Land Rover. Whilst I found engineering interesting, it was the overall impact of the organisation, buildings and vehicles which I became more interested in. This led me to pursue a degree in Geography followed by a master’s degree in Environmental Policy and Management. My focus while studying was climate science and modelling so numbers and software programs come naturally to me. While working in building design I wanted to combine my climate interests with what we do at BDP so the topic of embodied carbon was ideal. I am neither an engineer nor an architect but at BDP I benefit from working alongside some fantastic professionals which has helped me develop my understanding. I have been undertaking carbon studies for several years now and it is encouraging to see how much importance the industry is placing on the topic.
Q: What kind of projects do you typically work on, and in what role?I work on a range of project of varying sizes and values. My work is not always embodied carbon focused but has certainly increased over the last year. Often, I am appointed specifically as an embodied carbon consultant to undertake the studies on behalf of the design team and sometimes I am working alongside this as BREEAM assessor or Advisory Professional. Recently, as part of a wider BDP team, I was appointed as a Life Cycle Assessment coordinator for a major phased development. My scope included developing a Life Cycle Assessment execution plan on behalf of a developer. This plan is being used by a range of architectural teams to ensure commonality and to track embodied carbon across the phases. My role extends to peer-reviewing the LCA models and coordinating further studies throughout the design stages. This is a service we identified with the client and not something they or we have undertaken before. Initial progress looks promising and I look forward to seeing this project develop.
“For many years the emphasis has been on managing and reducing operational emissions but with the UK’s grid on a path to decarbonisation, the carbon emitted today is becoming one of the most important carbon metrics. “