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We carefully consider the needs of our customers and the impact on the environment, both from the construction of our homes and from our homes in use. We take all reasonable measures to minimise our impact on the environment, whilst balancing the need to deliver affordable, quality homes.

Carbon Emissions

The built environment contributes around 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, with around half of this being from “in-use” sources, such as heating, lighting, cooking and running appliances1.

This has reduced over the years as the UK moves towards decarbonising the electricity grid, with total in-use emissions having reduced by about a fifth since 1990 despite there being approximately a quarter more homes.2

This will continue with the government’s Future Homes Standard, with the first of these changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations setting new energy and ventilation requirements from 2025.

These changes will improve the energy performance of new homes, with homes being highly energy efficient, with low carbon heating and zero carbon ready by 2025.

We recognise the impact that the built environment has on carbon emissions, both from the construction of new homes and in-use emissions. We are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and this strategic priority is part of our sustainable business strategy.

1. Source: UK Green Building Council.
2. Source: UK government press release - Rigorous new targets for
green building revolution (January 2021).

man drawing on a map

The carbon cost of building a home

Gleeson and our supply chain generate an average of 45 tonnes of CO2e for every home built. We have been working closely with our supply chain to calculate embodied emissions more accurately with 62% of the emissions supported by Environmental Product Declarations. Total emissions for a Gleeson home range from 38 tonnes to 60 tonnes, depending on the house type and size. Based on our latest data and the mix of house types sold in the year, the average emissions for a Gleeson home was 45 tonnes. The methodology for these calculations has been independently verified by an external sustainability consulting expert.

Diagram showing the carbon cost of building

Reducing our emissions

We are working closely with our supply chain partners to identify alternative materials with lower embodied carbon without sacrificing quality.  We started with clay bricks and identified that changing to concrete bricks could achieve a 49% reduction in CO2e when compared with clay. This year we built 52 homes using concrete bricks, including reconstituted stone. This equates to a carbon saving of 94 tCO2e on bricks alone. Whilst concrete bricks have significantly lower embodied carbon than clay bricks, concrete products still have high levels of embodied carbon, and we are continuing to evaluate lower-carbon alternatives.

As our supply chain catches up with understanding the carbon intensity in their own value chain, we will continue to request key material suppliers to disclose their environmental impact and carbon reduction plans and to offer lower-carbon alternatives. One of our key areas of focus will be on cement mortar that we source from a number of suppliers and is our number one contributor to carbon emissions.

Our Progress

Carbon emissions from scope 1 and 2 activities reduced from 2.05 tonnes of CO2e per home in 2021 to 1.86 in 2022, a decrease of 9% in the year and 26% since 2020 (adjusted for the impact of Covid-19). This puts us well on track to achieving our strategic target of reducing CO2e by 30% to 1.75 tonnes in the three years to 2023.

In-use emissions

Whilst the carbon emissions from housebuilding are clearly significant at 45 tonnes per home sold, the emissions from our homes in use over 60 years contributes a further 109 tonnes of carbon emissions. We are looking at ways to reduce the in-use emissions for our customers through heating and energy efficiency.

The Future Homes Standard is designed to reduce the emissions over the lifetime of the house and this is being implemented by changes in building regulations. One significant change is the move away from gas-fired boilers in homes. Alternative technologies are being widely taken up and one of the most efficient is air source heat pumps. Our projections suggest that the Future Homes Standard will increase embodied emissions of building a home by 9 tonnes through the requirement of more materials however this is expected to reduce in-use emissions over the 60 year period by 69 tonnes saving an overall total of 60 tonnes. This assumes that there will be a wider decarbonisation of the electricity grid as the UK switches to more renewable energy sources.


We installed our first ASHP in a detached home on Erin Court, Derbyshire, in September 2021. In partnership with Sheffield Hallam University we ran a number of tests, including assessing the efficiency and running costs. These test results showed an impressive efficiency of 293% compared to the 94% efficiency of a gas boiler.

Since this initial test we have continued to work with Sheffield Hallam University and our ASHP manufacturer to make changes, and further testing is now under way to provide a better understanding on the effects of seasonality on ASHP efficiency.

As these continue, we have taken the decision to move from traditional gas boilers to ASHP technology. We are already installing ASHPs on certain developments, and they will be installed in all new homes built from June 2023.

Energy efficiency

We build high-quality, affordable homes that are energy efficient. 97% of our homes achieve an energy performance rating (“EPC”) of B or above compared to the house building industry average of 86%.

When compared to existing dwellings, a Gleeson home produces 48% lower carbon emissions due to its higher energy efficiency.

This allows us to play our part in helping our customers live sustainable lifestyles in their new homes, saving on average £700 per year against the energy costs of an existing dwelling.

Energy bills: Average electricity and gas usage using energy prices per August 2022. Gleeson Homes based on actual usage data provided by British Gas. Existing dwelling based on “Great Homes” website using data from the National Energy Efficiency Database (gov.uk).


Scope 1 and 2 Emissions target to reduce to 1.75 by 2023

of Homes achieving
EPC rating of B

of waste diverted
from landfill

of timber from FSC or PEFC
certified sources

woman walking a dog along modal walk in Derbyshire

Case study

Regenerating land - Model Walk
Worksop, Derbyshire

coal mine

Model Walk near Worksop sits on part of the former Creswell Colliery, which was in operation from 1894 until its closure in 1991. The site has an extensive history and, following its closure, the land remained derelict and disused for around 25 years until it was acquired by Gleeson Homes.

man in protective clothing

Since its closure, all of the old mining buildings were removed by the former owners, but the site had extensive rubble, hard standing and detritus across it. In addition, parts of the site were contaminated from the former activities including the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, arsenic and naphthalene together with areas that were infested with Japanese knotweed.

regenerated land

A detailed planning application was submitted by Gleeson Homes in 2016. Following years of neglect and anti-social behaviour on the land, the scheme received unanimous support.

The site required extensive remediation including the removal of hardstanding, brick, glass, contaminated topsoil, Japanese knotweed and other contaminants. There were also varying capping depths required across the site and additional radon precautions in certain areas.

row of new houses

The site has 197 plots with two, three and four-bed homes and open space. Special designs were needed for the homes fronting on to the historic Model Village conservation area to address and celebrate a unique setting. The development has also paved the way for the regeneration of the remainder of the former colliery to the south and west, providing high quality, affordable homes for local people.

drone view of housing neighbourhood

Case study

Regenerating land - Carlisle Park
Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Old factory

This site in Kilnhurst, South Yorkshire, had operated as a chemical works for over 100 years.

It has acted as a bitumen processing plant, tar distillery, iron works and a forge. The site had been derelict for five years before Gleeson acquired it for development in 2012.

Mud pit with pollution

There were three major challenges to the development of the site:

• The land was heavily contaminated with non-aqueous phase liquids (“NAPL”) of petroleum carbons, solvents including phenols, and other less mobile polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

• There were numerous un-surveyed foundations and obstructions from the former chemical works.

• It was unclear what services were passing below the site as the buried services for water, gas and electric were not clearly set out.

Sealing the land

Gleeson has spent £8.6m remediating the site over the period of development including:

• 300,000m3 of contaminated ground was excavated, treated and stabilised.
• 25,000m3 of derelict foundation concrete was broken out, crushed, processed and reused.
• A proprietary geosynthetic clay layer, incorporating a bentonite clay layer, was placed over the whole site.
• The site was then capped with a 1.7 meter thick layer of clean material placed as a foundation above the capping layer.

New house on site

As a result of the remediation we:

• Cleaned the site.
• Stabilised the contamination.
• Reused all the stabilised materials on site.
• Exported and recycled for scrap the waste metals from the structure of the chemical works.

All works were supervised by third-party consultants and approved by both the regulators of Rotherham Borough Council and the Environment Agency.

Carbon Reduction Initiatives

Forklift trucks - We have now completed the transition of upgrading the forklifts on our sites to newer, more energy-efficient models, which has reduced CO2e from forklift trucks by 8%. This has generated a saving of 144 tonnes of CO2e this year.

Generator usage - Over the past two years we have significantly reduced our generator usage – which use diesel to power them – through more considered planning of on-site temporary facilities. In particular, we have changed the timing of our site build and sales activities in order to reduce generator usage, which has been a significant factor in the 26% reduction in CO2e over the past two years.

Biodiesel/HVO fuel – This year we trialled the use of hydro-treated vegetable oil (“HVO”) fuel as an alternative to red diesel and regular diesel on 14 sites. The outcome of this trial was encouraging, and we saved 143 tonnes of CO2e versus regular diesel and 154 tonnes of CO2e versus red diesel, equivalent to 93% and 94% respectively. Extrapolated across all our sites, this could generate potential savings of circa 2,000 tonnes of CO2e, reducing our CO2e per home built by 0.9 tonnes. Following this trial, we implemented a Group-wide fuel policy that promotes the use of HVO fuel where it is available at a reasonable price and will continue to monitor price, usage, and availability.

Eco-cabins – This year we trialled eco-cabins on seven new build sites. The eco-cabins consist of a number of energy-efficient features, including 100W solar panels to provide enough power for periods of low activity, supplemented by a small diesel generator for periods of peak usage, motion-activated lights, water-saving technologies, and battery charging systems that use less energy to charge. Our trial showed the eco-cabins generated a fuel saving of approximately 50 litres of diesel per week, equivalent to a carbon saving of approximately 126kg of CO2e per week. Our colleagues on the trial sites also reported that the eco-cabins are much quieter without having a noisy generator running continuously to provide power.

Our second largest carbon-emitting fuel is petrol and diesel for business mileage. To address this, we implemented a new company car policy this year to incentivise employees to choose low-emission and electric vehicles and placed a cap on vehicle carbon emissions. In addition, the new policy offers a significantly improved choice of vehicles to our colleagues, enhancing the company benefits. We will begin to see the positive impact of this change and the associated carbon emission savings more fully in 2023.

Natural resources

Our developments are located in areas where there is a need for regeneration; typically in areas of deprivation and on brownfield sites that would otherwise remain derelict or unused. Four out of five of our pipeline plots are located on brownfield land or in the most deprived areas in England as measured by the indices of multiple deprivation.

We recognise that water is a valuable resource and during the next 12 months, we will be developing a water strategy to reduce our reliance on licenced water supply. As part of the work supporting the development of our strategy, we will evaluate the feasibility of incorporating grey water usage into our operating activities, including exploring initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and the use of surface water management during construction for site processes such as dust suppression. Our strategy will also include improving the tracking of water consumption across sites with actual usage data, rather than using estimates. We will be engaging with water companies to identify supply risks, improve data and maximise water reduction opportunities.

Water consumption 2022 2021
Cubic metres of water consumed 90,692 78,143
Cubic metres of water consumed per home built 45 43
Cubic metres of water consumed per site 1,093 1,007

All our homes are fitted with dual-flush toilets, low-flow taps and showers and water meters. They are designed to achieve an internal water use of less than 110 litres per person per day. This is 12% lower than the maximum allowance specified by building regulations, saving both natural resources and our customers on their water bills. We are working to design further efficiencies and collaborating with our supply chain with the aim of reducing this to less than 100 litres per person per day.

During the year, we launched new policies on sustainable procurement and sustainable packaging to ensure that we are reducing our impact on natural resources.

As part of this:

  • We source 99.9% of the timber we use in construction from FSC or PEFC certified sources;
  • We are engaging with suppliers to use packaging materials that are recyclable or biodegradable where possible; and
  • We will be examining alternative materials to those currently used, where these have lower embodied carbon emissions can be more easily recycled or reused; and
  • We have partnered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School. This provides us with the opportunity to upskill and actively engage with our supply chain and our own staff. The platform enables us to collaborate with our industry peers to achieve common goals delivering a sustainable future.


During the year, we launched a new sustainable waste management policy. In the year, we diverted 99% (2021: 98%) of construction waste away from landfill either being recycled or converted to energy. It is commonly interpreted that achieving >99% of waste diversion achieves zero waste to landfill. We are working with specialist waste management providers to continue to improve our waste management practices and to maintain >99% diversion rates and zero waste to landfill.

During the year, our construction waste, including hazardous waste, amounted to 12,272 tonnes, a waste intensity of 6.1 tonnes per home sold. As part of the measures being taken on sustainable procurement, packaging, and waste management, we are working to reduce this figure.

From November 2023, biodiversity net gain requirements, which were introduced in the Environment Act 2021, require developers to ensure that all new developments demonstrate a 10% increase (net gain) in habitat value for wildlife compared with a pre-development baseline. On many brownfield sites that have been rewilded by nature, this can be more challenging to achieve than an equivalent agricultural or greenfield site. However, we are working towards these targets on all future developments and developing our biodiversity strategy not only to meet the obligations, but also provide significant increases to biodiversity where it is viable to do so.

We recognise the importance of the linkage between biodiversity and environmental amenity within the built environment. Our developments incorporate design features such as open spaces, Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (“SuDS”) and soft landscaping such as plants and trees to complement the surrounding natural infrastructure and support the wider natural environment.

Every Gleeson home sold includes garden space which provides the opportunity for our customers to create outdoor living spaces to enjoy. During the coming year we will be strengthening our team with ecology expertise and aligning our biodiversity actions into a focused biodiversity strategy.

We work with local residents, specialists and local councils to ensure we are properly considering the needs of the community and the environment. We hold public consultations or attend parish or other local events to understand the views of local people and we strive to take these into account in developing sustainable and sensitive planning applications. We work very closely with specialist ecology consultants to ensure we are being respectful of the environment including local wildlife, water needs, carbon emissions and more.

House through the trees