Guest Blog: Jamie Keats, Citu Developments

A holistic approach to placemaking and carbon reduction

When it comes to creating a climate-friendly vision for city living, Citu Developments is out in front.

The purpose-led business combines Scandinavian design with the latest sustainable technology to create beautiful homes with a radically reduced carbon footprint.

Some of these homes can be seen at the Climate Innovation District in Leeds, which has Citu’s head office and timber-framed factory at its heart. This is the country’s largest sustainable development, with 950 homes, a primary school, care home and all the amenities to create a truly sustainable place for people to live, work and socialise in.

In this guest blog, Jamie Keats, product owner at Citu, tells us more about the company's approach and how NorDan, as a key supplier and partner, is helping it hit its carbon targets.

"Citu has a holistic approach to placemaking and carbon through three main factors, embodied carbon, operational carbon and where we build.

"We aim to limit embodied carbon through our construction methods, building products and the materials we use. We have our own timber frame factory, and seek to use natural, low embodied carbon materials where possible.

“Operational carbon is a constant focus for Citu. By ensuring we design homes in the right places and orientation, our homes benefit from a daily solar gain through the addition of high-performance windows. Constant innovation and product updates also help reduce the energy demand of these homes. We also design-in a renewable energy system that contributes to offsetting the energy demand on the grid.

The 15-minute city

"We always build on connected, brownfield land, on the edge of city centres and infrastructure. This helps reduce individual carbon footprints and the collective impact of transport. By simply removing the car from the landscape, Citu places support behavioural change and transport patterns.

"Citu was visionary when it came to the 15-minute city concept, which aims to ensure that daily services, leisure, and friends are all no more than a 15-minute walk away. Citu’s places embody healthy living in high performance homes, which are connected, playful and usable for the community and the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Jamie Keats Citu

Carbon targets

“As the developer and contractor, we can retain control, from land purchase through to assembly and finish. This means we can consider and explore new ways of minimising carbon at every step.

“Our three carbon targets are zero carbon for operational energy, on and off site, by 2024, zero carbon in operational energy by 2025, and 100kg of C02 per-square metre of embodied carbon by 2025.

“Citu has elected not to include carbon sequestration, the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, in its calculations, which makes zero embodied carbon impossible.

We view this as an honest target, that is not influenced by any offsetting, and we recognise that some embodied carbon is unavoidable.

“Hitting these targets is going to mean constantly assessing and transforming everything we do as a business, increasing renewable energy generation and assessing all the materials we use.

Partnering with NorDan

“We’re confident of hitting all three targets because the industry is changing rapidly, with companies such as NorDan constantly innovating and delivering new products. NorDan provides a clear measurement of the carbon in its products, when a lot of people in construction don’t really know.

“NorDan has been excellent to work with, particularly when it comes to achieving our sustainability goals, and has been impressive in its approach to embodied carbon, supplying all the information we need via its Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

“NorDan is one of few leading the way in this area, and we hope that other suppliers can come up to their level. We’ve allowed our manufacturing function to assess and have more of a say on the specification and sourcing of windows, and they’ve been particularly impressed with the durability and lifespan of NorDan’s windows. NorDan’s technical support has also been excellent.”

To find out more about Citu and its developments visit: Welcome to Citu - Citu

Feb 06, 2023
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