WORDS FROM OUR SUSTAINABILITY ANALYST AND SCIENTIST
Hear from Patrick Rafferty on our net zero pathway
Following the announcement of our net zero pathway for scope 1 and 2, we sit down with Patrick Rafferty, Sustainability Analyst, to hear more about his journey into the field of sustainability, his learnings from setting Powerday’s net zero target, and why it is so important to take a scientific approach to setting targets.
Why did you decide to go into the field of sustainability?
When working in the construction industry I became very interested in why things were being done the way they were, including the materials being used, waste being created etc. Upon returning to university, I undertook my masters research project in extracting materials from waste paint to lessen its environmental impact upon disposal. Over the course of this project, I became more interested in sustainability particularly in and around the construction sector and began looking for a job in that area.
What did you study at university and has this helped you in your role today?
At University I studied chemistry, this background gives me a good understanding when looking into chemical recycling, carbon emissions and any scientific breakthroughs in the sector. It has also given me the knowledge on how to research properly and write reports well, these are skills that I use very frequently.
Why do you think it is important to take a scientific approach to sustainability, specifically in terms of setting a Net Zero target?
In terms of sustainability, a net zero target is possibly the most important goal a company will set, so it’s important to take a sensible approach when working towards it. A scientific approach means you are able to provide evidence-based reasoning for the decisions you have made, doing things this way puts you in a stronger position to work towards your target compared to those who have set targets arbitrarily.
Why is making progress on Net Zero important to your business?
Sustainability has been at the heart of Powerday’s operations for years, whether that be our diversion from landfill or carbon neutral fleet. Net Zero is the next step in that journey and it is being driven by people across the company who understand the role Powerday must play in this as one of the leading businesses in this field.
Tell us about your journey in setting Powerday’s Net Zero target for Scope 1 and 2. What did you learn?
When I first approached quantifying the scope 1&2 emissions, the volume of data to analyse was overwhelming, but after some hard work and help from people across the business the data collection became a lot easier. When setting the target, there was interest from across the business which led to us forming a carbon working group which now meet quarterly to assess our progress.
What is one thing you hope to see changed within the Construction industry in relation to sustainability?
Concrete is the second widest used product on the planet, after water, and contributes 9% of global emissions annually. There are low carbon options that are becoming increasingly common, but I would like to see these become the norm compared to conventional concrete.
In your view what is the one innovation or change that is going to have the biggest impact on carbon or progress in our industry?
The introduction of green hydrogen fuel for heavy plant and trucks at a commercial scale will completely change the industry as it has the potential to cut scope 1 emissions across the industry to zero.
What other projects have you been involved with at Powerday? What did you learn?
During my time here, I have been involved in conducting trials into various low carbon fuels and additives that would help lower our scope 1 emissions. Over the course of these trials, I learnt that it isn’t one size fits all for emissions reduction and things that may work for some companies won’t work for us.
If you had one piece of advice for someone looking to get into a Sustainability role within Construction, what would it be?
My advice would be to speak to as many people in the field as you can. When I was first looking for a role in the field, everyone I spoke to was more than happy to help and full of brilliant advice about things to look into.
What is your favorite thing about working for Powerday?
The people at Powerday have been amazing, they made me feel welcome since my first day and everyone looks out for each other. I have made good friends whilst working here and look forward to coming into work each day.
We were pleased to have awarded this contract to Powerday. They have delivered their services efficiently and reliably, achieved high recycling rates and 100% recovery, meeting our requirements throughout the project. They have been easy to deal with, reasonable and fair. We have been particularly impressed with their account management and waste reporting capabilities
Dave France, Project Director, Ecoworld Ballymore