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Profits-with-Purpose for Innerspace Homes

6 October 2020
Reading Time: 3 mins

Innerspace Homes is the most recent business to join UKBCSD.  Tony Dicarlo, Co-founder and Managing Director outlines the company ethos and commitment to embedding the SDGs.

“We spend more of our lives at home than any other place. So, if we’re serious about improving the health and wellbeing of people and our planet, there can hardly be a more important place to start.

Innovative thinking, a sustainable ethos and a passion for creating great homes defines our delivery of ‘Better homes for people and our planet’.

Innerspace Homes is a purpose driven business leveraging modular factory processes, green technology, sustainable materials and better design to tackle social and environmental issues in the built environment. We believe in building greener, healthier and more beautiful homes that are economical to run, all set-in sustainable places to help accelerate the transition to decarbonising housing.  We also understand owning a home is about investing in family, saving for the future and putting down roots in a community, which is why we promote Discounted Market Sale homes on our developments.

Alongside the Paris Agreement, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were adopted by all United Nations Member States as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Our commitment to the SDGs sees both social and environmental impact embedded deep into our business as a default, specifically:

No 3.        Good health and wellbeing - Ensuring healthy lives and promotion of wellbeing in all our built environments

No 7.        Affordable and clean energy - Ensuring access to affordable and less fossil fuel intensive energy sources for our homes

No 9.        Industry, innovation and infrastructure - Fostering innovation by using the factory build processes to directly reduce construction waste

No 13.      Climate action - Accelerating the transition to low/zero Carbon business operations and projects to directly improve the impacts of climate change.

We are a profits-with-purpose business, and as such our articles of incorporation direct us to assess profits AND our wider social and environmental impact.

Measurement is key.  We systematically collect and analyse myriad data to understand and implement improvements with every development to achieve continuous improvements on our social impact and environmental benefits.

Our use of offsite modular construction means our homes and place start from a higher sustainability baseline from the outset. Some of the benefits, when compared to traditional construction include;

  • 80% less waste
  • as much as 97% of any waste recycled, and
  • 10% saving over 30 years when measuring whole life costs.

Our homes currently far exceed the proposed 2025 Future Homes Standard, meaning our homes are reducing the strain on carbon emissions and people’s wallets and contributing to SDG’s today.

We benchmark and measure any site-based benefits from MMC compared to traditional construction as well as measuring, learning, iterating and reducing operational use and whole life (embodied) carbon. However, whilst zero carbon in operational use is straight forward, measuring and reducing whole life carbon to zero or near zero levels is a longer, more complex journey when not simply offsetting.

Our homes and places can improve wellbeing too. We use social value toolkits to provide robust social impact values as we carry out detailed social return on investment-based analyses on our projects AND generate a holistic overview of the value created by our portfolio.

The climate crisis demands we find a new approach to how we design, procure and build. By improving our sense of place, our health and wellbeing and measuring this success, we can begin to move away from traditional crude commercial returns to adopting more holistic returns metrics based on profits alongside impact.

By measuring, learning, iterating and improving, we will demonstrate the efficacy of our approach through  Impact-Weighted accounts which will allow for a qualitative ‘race to the top’, rather than continue the sector’s current cost driven ‘race to the bottom’. Now, more than ever as we enter a period of almost unprecedented house building to address the housing crisis, all stakeholders must be willing and able to measure and improve on the full cost they are having on people and our planet.