As part of our series celebrating Green Careers Week, we spoke to Helayna Jenkins, a former engineer who is now working in the public sector as Principal Loneliness Champion at the London Borough of Bromley. Helayna is also a Go Construct STEM Ambassador. She has a wealth of experience on which to reflect on the sustainable building project that mattered the most to her. 


Can you share your favourite green construction project that you’ve worked on, and explain what was involved?

Helayna: “The favourite ‘Green Project’ I have been part of is the London Power Tunnels 2 infrastructure project. This was London’s biggest tunnelling project, which started in 2020 and is due for completion in 2027. The £1b project saw contractors Hochteif and Murphy work together in a joint venture, tunnelling below the City of London connecting National Grid stations from Wimbledon to Crayford to help improve the electricity supply for the residents of South London.  

When completed the tunnel’s length will be 32.5km at a depth of between 10-63 metres. This project will help upgrade the National Grid for millions of people living in the South East of the UK and will continue to support green energy sources across the UK. The cables are being laid deep below ground so that maintenance work can be less disruptive to traffic, residents and businesses.”


How has the approach to sustainability in construction evolved?

Helayna: “I believe sustainability is an area which construction has always thought about naturally, but it has certainly come to the forefront in the past few decades. The smallest initiatives can have the biggest impact – such as separating skip waste into their respective categories, recycling old PPE to make new garments and only ordering what is needed on a project is crucial to lowering our carbon footprint.”


Which green construction trends do you predict will gain traction in the coming years?

Helayna: “I think there will be a lot of change around the use of recycled fabrics, materials and compounds which can then go on to make new smart, innovative and economical products to help reduce the impact on the earth’s natural resources. There will be changes in the make-up of traditional materials like concrete. Continued collaboration with universities and laboratories to help understand the chemical components and make new projects is essential to maintain a balance on our planet. 

Feeling inspired? Discover more about sustainability in construction and green construction careers today…

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