Introducing the industry’s freshest talent working in sustainable construction …

Since the beginning of the year, Building has been on the hunt for the most talented young people working in sustainable construction. In order to identify the top 50 profiled over the following pages we contacted more than 70 senior industry figures to ask for their nominations.

Our criteria were simple: we were looking for individuals under 40 from across the industry who are making waves in sustainability. This year’s 50 rising stars are therefore all examples of emerging talents that have been recognised by those at the very top of the industry. Have your colleagues made the grade? Let us know what you think of our top fifty green stars - contact with your thoughts.

Here are our stars from J to L,

Click here to see our stars from A to D

Click here to see our stars from D to J

Click here to see our stars from M to S

Click here to see our stars from S to V

John Alker, 33

Director of policy and communications, UKGBC

Alker has been with UK-GBC since its launch in 2007 when it had 30 members and four staff. The campaign group now has 400 members and a team of about 20. He is responsible
for setting the UK-GBC’s policy strategy, as well as its external positioning, which includes government relations.

Jon Lovell, 35

Global practice leader, Sustainable Real Estate, Deloitte

Lovell is responsible for the international delivery of Deloitte’s sustainability services, heading up a team of 150 advisers. He is currently working with the Asia Society and Urban Land Institute on the Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative.

Judith Sykes, 37

Director, Useful Simple Projects

Sykes’ role involves advising major organisations on sustainability strategy and environmental design. She is currently developing the sustainability strategy for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, as well as the 2014 World Cup, also in Brazil.

Julia Plaskett, 34


Source: Tom Campbell

Group sustainability executive, Crest Nicholson

How and why did you end up working in sustainability?
I was at Crest in the IT department. When there was a lull in my workload I went and had a chat with the HR department and said that I had time on my hands. I hooked up with the then sustainability manager who explained the concept of sustainable development to me. I then went on to study with the Open University and the University of Bath and more recently with Henley Business School. Crest sponsored me through all of that.

What does your current role involve?
We do a lot work with other organisations such as universities to identify opportunities on how we can deliver sustainable buildings more creatively. We’re now doing a lot of long-term monitoring: how people interact with their home once they’ve moved in.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I hope to be very much in sustainability and the built environment. I hope to still be leading a team at Crest or doing something similar in another organisation in the industry.

Julie Hirigoyen, 39

Head of sustainability, Jones Lang LaSalle

A co-founder of consultancy Upstream Sustainability Strategies, which was acquired by Jones Lang LaSalle in 2007, Hirigoyen is responsible both for advising external clients on sustainability issues and embedding sound sustainability practice within all aspects of Jones Lang LaSalle’s business. She is currently the chair of the British Property Federation’s sustainability committee.

Kirsten Henson, 34

Founder, KLH Sustainability

Henson has provided sustainability advice on several high profile projects, most notably the London 2012 Olympic Games. She is also a technical adviser to the United Nations Environment Programme and has lectured at numerous universities.

Kristian Steele, 38


Source: Tom Campbell

Senior consultant, Arup

Steele works with a variety of organisations to produce commercially applicable research. He is currently building a database of carbon benchmarks for buildings, working with campaign body Wrap, developing a carbon route map for the UK built environment with the Green Construction Board and looking at the energy performance gap in buildings and how that might be closed, again with the Green Construction Board.

How and why did you end up working in sustainability?
The foundations were set when I was at university. I did a Masters in civil engineering and the content of the course touched on sustainability but not any sort of detail. It was something that I was aware of because of my broader interests in the environment. I grew up in New Zealand and have always liked the outdoors. I did a doctorate in environmental technology and that provided the academic basis for my career in sustainability and construction.

What does your current role involve?
I’ve tended to focus on the carbon agenda in a big way - it’s the defining environmental challenge of our time - and I think it’s starting to have credibility across the industry. I do a lot of work on materials and embedded carbon, which is a big area. My work at the moment includes building a database of carbon benchmarks for buildings working with [campaign body] WRAP, developing a carbon route map for the UK built environment with the Green Construction Board and looking at the energy performance gap in buildings and how that might be closed, again with the Green Construction Board.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I’d like to be continuing what I do and pushing into new areas, developing the agenda. I’d like to take the issue of carbon and climate change and apply it to completely new areas.

Lee Fordham, 38

Associate, Architype

Fordham is currently working on a Passivhaus school project in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, having completed two other Passivhaus primaries in the city in the last two years.

Luke Gallagher, 28

Green futures manager, Gentoo

Gallagher works for Gentoo’s Green Commercial division, which looks at commercial opportunities generated by government green initiatives. The idea is to create sustainable income streams that can then support the registered social landlords’ wider work. Gallagher says that he expects Gentoo to become a registered Green Deal provider imminently.

Lydia Booth, 29


Source: Tom Campbell

Environmental Project Manager, Argent

Booth is responsible for sustainability on Argent’s huge King’s Cross Central project in London. She works with contractors to make sure that they are in line with the developer’s targets and liaises with stakeholders in the project such as potential tenants and local authorities.

How and why did you end up working in sustainability?
I got into sustainability by accident. When I moved to London I joined a hockey club and met someone who worked for Jones Lang LaSalle’s sustainability team. I was introduced to the team
there and started in sustainability consulting. Through working there for nearly five years I was introduced to Argent and made the transition to a new role.

What does your current role involve?
I pull together all of the successes that are happening on the King’s Cross site at the moment. We’re achieving BREEAM “outstanding” on most of the buildings that we’re putting up. I work with the contractors to make sure that they’re in line with all our targets. It involves a lot of communication and a lot of liaison with external stakeholders as well.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
I would like to have delivered a really great project on King’s Cross that’s fully rejuvenated the area, and hope that the buildings there are operating as we say they will be and that we’re helping the occupiers with that.


Ecobuild stars