In the first of a series of blogs, we meet the team behind Exeter City Living (ECL), starting with Managing Director Emma Osmundsen.

Focusing on core principles of social, financial and environmental responsibility, Emma is passionate about transforming the lives of others through innovative and sustainable building and development. 

Her professional focus is to deliver homes and buildings which enhance the wellbeing of their occupants, contributing towards the preservation of our planet and generating wealth for all. 

Emma’s background

Raised in Wales and with Norwegian roots, Emma has over twenty-five years of experience in the world of construction, having studied Building and Surveying at UWE Bristol and qualified as a Chartered Building Surveyor in 1993.

She has gone on to become one of the leading global voices in the development and delivery of low energy, healthy and climate resilient homes and buildings (including being a champion of high performance Passivhaus standards within building).

Emma’s Passivhaus journey started in 2008 when she headed up the development of the UK’s first multi-residential certified Passivhaus scheme for Exeter City Council. Since then, Emma has been responsible for delivering more than 100 Passivhaus homes across the city and, more recently, the start on site of two UK-first Passivhaus developments; an Extra-Care elderly housing village and Leisure Centre.

Emma, the professional

Describing her role at ECL, Emma comments, “I have the joy of leading a great team of passionate people who are operating at the cutting-edge of the development of Exeter as a city. We deliver zero carbon housing and climate-ready buildings, changing the face of the housing market here in Exeter.”

She continues, “We’re in an exciting moment of time right now, delivering a pipeline of housing developments across city which are affordable, environmentally sound and which meet the living needs of local residents. Over the next twenty years, 12,000 new homes will be built around Exeter and ECL are one of the key contributors to this aim. We want to be a catalyst for greater change within local development and construction, championing higher quality, low-carbon and healthier housing. ”

Emma, the person

Outside of work, Emma is heavily involved both locally and nationally as a Trustee for YMCA. She is a Church Warden at St David’s Church in Exeter and is a keen fan of the outdoors (citing white-water rafting, fly-fishing and mountaineering in the Cairngorms as some of her passions).

She is passionate about championing and supporting women in the world of property and construction and comments, “I don’t really think about my gender when it comes to work. I’m just myself and I focus on the task at hand. I want my track record and results to speak for themselves and I encourage other women working in the built environment to do the same.”

Notes on ECL

Wholly owned by Exeter City Council, ECL is a limited company and their operations feed into the overall ‘Livable Exeter’ vision of the City Council. Every penny of profit which they make will be reinvested into frontline public services – a ‘profit for purpose’ company.

Exeter City Council has been leading the way with its environmental property developments for over 10 years now. The approach has been quiet but consistent, starting small and growing in ambition but attracting global recognition, with Exeter now cited as one of the leading global sustainable developers providing advice and inspiration to North America, New Zealand, Canada, China and mainland Europe.

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