The portrait by photographer Rankin of John Carrigan (Rankin/PA)
A Northern Ireland man is to be one of the faces of a new “Everyday Climate Hero” campaign showcased at Cop26 in Glasgow for his efforts in building low-energy homes.
John Carrigan, who works for Fraser Millar Homes in Belfast will be featured in the campaign which will also be displayed on billboards throughout the UK.
He is one of 10 people who has had their picture taken by celebrity photographer Rankin as part of the campaign aimed at highlighting their efforts to combat the climate crisis.
The billboards will feature Mr Carrigan, as well as a former coal miner, a farmer, scientists and teachers, community volunteers, a factory worker and a waitress.
I researched and found that the best way to control fuel bills is to build low-energy housing
Mr Carrigan has been recognised for adopting a different approach to building homes.
He said: “I noticed that my own fuel bills were rising depending on the fluctuating price of oil or gas.
“I was lucky I could afford it, but what about those who couldn’t?
“I researched and found that the best way to control fuel bills is to build low-energy housing, the gold standard of which is Passivhaus.
“Homes in the UK are a significant source of energy demand and greenhouse gas. The Passivahaus standard reduces both.
“That means very low heating bills, more stable indoor temperatures, and improved indoor air quality for people.
“I took the idea to the company owners who were immediately convinced and agreed to adopt Passivhaus standards for a new development.
“The result is a pioneering, £70 million flagship project, which will be the largest Passivhaus housing development in the whole of the UK and Ireland.
“The Lancaster Park development, which spans 26 acres, brings the future of housebuilding into the current day, and will see the build of 219 low-energy and near-zero carbon homes created in Belfast.”
He added: “When you make it possible for people to live where they don’t have these huge raises and swings in fuel prices – and therefore fuel property – you end up designing a house which is very low energy.
“If you tell somebody that they’ve got to give up everything that they enjoy because of the planet, I think you’ll struggle to make them give it up.
“The whole concept is to not need to heat it very much, because the heat stays there.”
Through imagery, I wanted to highlight the extraordinary change being made by these ordinary people within their local communities and to the environment
The series of images will be unveiled at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and on more than 1,000 billboards throughout the UK.
Photographer Rankin said: “The Everyday Climate Heroes all have thought-provoking stories to tell.
“Through imagery, I wanted to highlight the extraordinary change being made by these ordinary people within their local communities and to the environment.
“This project takes the spotlight away from the world leaders and places it on the people that make up our nation, we all have a part to play in tackling the climate crisis. And now is that time.”
The campaign has been organised in partnership with the Futerra Solutions Union, a non-profit organisation.