Willmott Dixon’s Support Services division has strengthened its low carbon skill set with the appointment of Carl Buckingham as head of energy and sustainability.

Carl reports to the division’s chief executive officer Chris Durkin and will oversee its energy and low carbon strategy as part of a Group-wide commitment to become a carbon neutral business by 2012.

It comes at a time when many clients are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and develop long-term sustainable solutions for their commercial and residential properties. This includes dealing with the growing financial burden of increasing energy prices, carbon taxation, infrastructure and security of supply concerns, fuel poverty and contributing towards the Government’s long-term 2050 carbon reduction targets.

Carl will further develop Willmott Dixon’s sustainable offering for the Support Services sector, where the company is responsible for the repair and maintenance of over 100,000 properties, mainly in social housing through its Willmott Dixon Partnerships brand.

Key areas of Carl’s focus will be to strengthen the growing reputation of one of the countries top privately owned contractors with respect to energy and sustainability.

A major part of this will be to establish energy efficiency and low carbon retrofit delivery solutions for social housing, which contribute to a significant percentage of UK carbon emissions. The condition of the UK’s existing housing stock presents massive opportunity for improvement but in most cases can be a complex approach and requires funding leverage and partnering.

Willmott Dixon has the skills to deliver this vision, bringing together RSLs, local authorities and private sector organisations with the relevant funding opportunities to pump-prime improvements. Once the strategy, funding and opportunities are established, Willmott Dixon aims to provide the design, delivery and project management skills to ensure the vision turns to reality.

With 20 years of sustainability experience, Carl joins from URS where he headed the provision of sustainability services. URS is one of the world’s leading engineering and environmental consultants and during his time there Carl helped bring a focused sustainability strategy to the business, strengthen their client offering and grew their customer base so that it became a leading provider of advice in creating low carbon strategies. He previously held senior energy positions at several local authorities.

Chris Durkin, chief executive officer at Willmott Dixon Support Services, said, “We’ve already made huge strides in our low carbon approach. We have reduced the fuel consumption of our fleet of vans by 30 per cent and have undertaken several low energy retrofits of homes to develop our learning and capabilities of this important market.

With most carbon emissions coming from existing property, it will be up to companies like us to help landlords make them energy efficient if we are to meet our targets for an 80 per cent cut in carbon emissions by 2050. With the cost of energy also rising enormously, clients want to reduce fuel bills, and Carl has the strategic know-how that will enable us to help our clients meet these important objectives.”