Housing sector

L&G invests to reduce emissions in the residential housing sector

Legal & General Capital (Legal & General) and Hodge announce their £5.5 million investment in Sero Technologies (“Sero”), an energy technology and services company supporting the transition to net zero in the energy sector. residential accommodation.

Sero has developed cutting-edge digital tools and expertise to design and deliver cost-effective, low-carbon solutions for new builds and existing homes.

Sero works with homeowners, mortgage lenders, home builders and more, to chart a path to net zero for their homes, providing the opportunity for continuous optimization to ensure a good outcome for clients.

Heating and hot water in UK homes accounts for 25% of total energy use and 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions. To reach the UK’s legal net zero target by 2050, almost every house in the country will need to be upgraded or retrofitted with a combination of improved energy efficiency and low-carbon heating.

Refurbishment represents a significant market opportunity in the UK alone, with the average home emitting nearly 6 tonnes of carbon a year, 23 million homes using (carbon-intensive) town gas for heating, 2 million households heated by electricity (high running costs) and the remaining 2 million using oil or other fossil fuel systems (carbon consumption and high running costs).

Net zero planning should also be considered at the building design stage, with early planning having a major impact on long-term emissions.

With over 10,000 new builds and existing homes in its identified pipeline, Sero has forged strong relationships in the housing industry, creating bespoke net-zero energy renovation plans for homes, guaranteeing them the building passports and managing them using its smart home energy management system, ‘The BEE’ (Building Energy Engine) and comfort-based service model. Sero initially focused on working with social housing providers facing major regulatory and funding challenges as they seek to achieve net zero goals. The investment from Legal & General and Hodge will support Sero in its next stage of growth, as well as its goals of supporting the delivery of net zero financial products with institutional partners.

Legal & General invests its capital in infrastructure, businesses and clean energy technologies to help accelerate progress towards a low-cost, low-carbon economy – working with local authorities, government and major industry players to create solutions at scale. Sero forms the latest part of its growing portfolio, which includes, among others, offshore wind, onshore wind, solar photovoltaic, electric vehicle charging and geothermal heat pumps. As one of the UK’s largest homebuilders by volume, with a commitment to delivering net zero [operational] emissions from 2030 across its residential portfolio, there are significant opportunities for Sero to work with Legal & General’s existing housing assets and businesses.

Hodge, which is 79% owned by the Hodge Foundation, specializes in mortgages, commercial finance and savings. Since its inception over 50 years ago, Hodge has sought new ways to help customers get the most for their money. It also ensures that business success equates to a positive impact on society. It is the second major investment in less than a year for Cardiff-based Hodge as the bank seeks to grow its investment portfolio in line with its philosophy of using banking for good.

Sero is a natural fit for Hodge as he not only seeks to ensure he continues to play his part in improving society, but supports and invests in businesses that are closely aligned with that goal. Hodge already specializes in homeowner and business financing and there are significant opportunities for Sero and Hodge to work together to provide solutions that support its clients.

John Bromley, Head of Clean Energy at Legal & General Capital, said:Housing is a major contributor to carbon emissions, requiring some of the toughest and most immediate overhauls of any industry. We are therefore delighted to invest in a company that will play a major role in putting UK housing on a path to net zero, while creating significant job creation in the clean energy sector and supporting SMEs. British. As an investor in the energy transition, we aim to support the rise of innovative companies capable of providing the solutions needed to reduce emissions across the economy, and Sero represents another ideal partner for us. in this domain. We look forward to working with the Sero team to grow their innovative business and to use their expertise on our own housing platform. “

David Landen, CEO of Hodge, said: “I am delighted to be able to announce Hodge’s investment in Sero. Our homes are one of the biggest contributors to UK carbon emissions and all new and existing homes will need to evolve to enable us to reach our 2050 net zero carbon target. Sero transparently guides people through the understanding of their own path to net zero and supports them in the steps necessary to achieve this goal.

“As well as both being proud Welsh businesses, our organizations share a common goal: to improve lives and society. We can build a strong partnership to help all customers in this critical part of the UK’s carbon transition. This investment is part of our strategy to invest in exciting technology companies that match both our business and our purpose.

James Williams, Chairman and CEO of Sero, said: “The challenge of upgrading the existing housing stock increases as the urgency to solve the climate emergency grows even greater. Improving the energy efficiency of our homes can bring long-term economic benefits and comfort to residents, as well as reduced carbon emissions. This investment is therefore an important step for Sero as we grow and bring new products to market to help the UK in its delivery of net zero.

“We have strived to find investors who share our vision, and this has been evident from the start for the Legal & General and Hodge teams. We look forward to working together now to create strategic opportunities for the business, in particular by expanding our presence in new and emerging sectors, such as working with banks and building societies to support the development of finance products. green.

Later this spring, Sero will launch its Building Passport, an industry-leading digital app that allows homeowners to better understand their home’s carbon footprint, how they can make it more energy efficient, and track the home’s progress on its way to net zero. This follows last year’s recommendations from the Coalition for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (CEEB) for the development of a standardized framework for building renovation plans in the UK, to enable building owners to access digital information to help them know how they are renovating their home.

This also aligns with the UK Government’s planned move towards improving the energy performance of homes through lenders, building societies and banks being able to use the Building Passport to inform the use of building products. green financing. Sero’s Capture app will be used to record data to better understand each individual home. This data will then be used to create the building’s digital passport, which will show the current state of the building as well as a clear and achievable route to net zero for each home.