The firm’s global lead for sustainable innovation shares her passion for sustainability, industry-wide collaboration, vegetable soup and carpentry

Why did you choose a career in design and engineering?

Because I love buildings! I’m passionate about design and how things are made. The built environment is also just so fundamental to every aspect of our lives. When you design and construct a building, you are having such a big impact on the people who use it and the communities around it.

What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

I’m incredibly proud of and passionate about the research and work around life cycle thinking we are doing. I hope it will change the way teams approach projects and encourage us all to think in less siloed ways, to look at the bigger impact a building has on the environment. I have always tried to come at things in a more rounded way in my work. I trained as an architect (part III) as well as in engineering, so working in both fields has helped me to have a broader perspective.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

One of the biggest – but also one of the most exciting – challenges I have faced is trying to change the way building services engineers approach carbon to consider both the operational and embodied carbon implications of their designs. We are working with the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers on this.

Louise Hamot- official picture

Louise Hamot is the global lead for sustainable innovation at Introba

When people talk about more carbon-friendly MEP systems, they normally focus on making them more energy efficient. But that is only half the picture. Nobody has systematically tackled the embodied carbon side before, partly because it’s so complex and also a lot of the data that you need just didn’t exist in one place previously.

We have been building a dataset and creating a new standardised methodology from scratch to allow the industry to consider this aspect, and give clients the information they need to assess different systems. It’s a lot of work but we are now able to look at projects through a completely different lens.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I would love to see our industry pulling together to really make progress on decarbonising our built environment in a holistic way.

We have got to be more generous with our knowledge – in the challenges we are facing and how we are finding solutions, from meeting our climate targets to designing climate resilient buildings.

These problems cut across disciplines and no one organisation or sector is going to have all the answers on its own, so more transparency and collaboration is vital.

Most helpful advice you were given?

Don’t shy away from being a troublemaker. As long as it is not personal, a little disruption is so important to helping us challenge established thinking and keep pushing to be better.

What is your favourite building in the world?

An old ruin in the south Alps that my dad renovated when I was young. I spent all the summers of my childhood on its construction site and witnessed every part of it being built by his own hands, from the roof to the floors to the pieces of furniture – a pure creation.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Dare, be bold and don’t be afraid to ask questions – especially if you are a woman!

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

The construction teams who build the designs we create. They are the people who make our vision as designers and engineers happen. Having helped on construction sites myself, I have got a lot of respect for the people who are getting the physical job done.

What do you think your best quality is?

I am curious and always trying to learn. I am willing, too, in that I put my hand up and get stuck into things.

Do you have a life philosophy?

Life isn’t a dress rehearsal – make every minute count.

What’s a secret skill we don’t know you have?

I’m a carpenter and love creating pieces of furniture in my spare time.

What’s your most prized possession?

Paintings and sculptures made by my family – my dad, aunts and my grandparents are all artists so we are lucky to own some amazing pieces of art between us.

Early bird or night owl?

I’m an early bird, but I live with a night owl so we even each other out.

What’s your favourite food?

A simple but delicious staple: vegetable soup and cheese (I am French).

What would your superpower be?

The ability to press pause on the dangerous rate of climate change that we are seeing and make people understand the need for a new paradigm, where taking care of our environment becomes central to our lives – not something we need to do but want to do. I would like us to be able to pass on to future generations a healthy and sustainable world where they can thrive.

Louise Hamot is Introba’s global lead for sustainable innovation