Legal & General Capital (L&GC), the alternative asset platform for the group is set to deliver its first operationally net-zero carbon development with a residential accommodation for the over 65s.
Developed in partnership with Inspired Villages, it is thought to the be UK’s first net zero retirement community and is part of the group’s wider pledge to make all residential accommodation operationally net-zero by 2030.
The new community will address environmental challenges, benefit society and support inclusive economic growth to build a better future, the group said. It highlighted in the UK there is currently a lack of age-appropriate housing across the UK, with only 7,000 being built each year.
Named Millfield Green, the net-zero community is located in Caddington, central Bedfordshire, and will bring forward 200 specialist age-appropriate homes over four phases, with a Gross Development Value of £120m. It will use renewable energy generation through on-site photovoltaics, EV-charging, improved building fabric and insultation, Mechanical Heat Vent Recovery units and ground-source heat pumps through Kensa Group; a business Legal & General took a significant stake in last year.
It will also feature wellness facilities, including a swimming pool, fitness studio and gym, and services such as restaurants and cafés to ensure quality of life; L&GC said studies have shown that living in a retirement community leads to a 46% decrease in the number of planned GP visits and residents experience a 31% decrease in planned hospital admissions.
The net-zero approach will also have a positive long-term impact on running costs for future residents, the group said, who often struggle to pay energy bills in winter.
John Bromley, head of clean energy at L&GC, said: “This news represents Legal & General’s first steps towards enabling all new homes to be operationally net carbon neutral within a decade, reducing the emission of many tonnes of greenhouse gasses, whilst saving customers money and meeting the needs of investors who increasingly focus on sustainable solutions.
“Being able to bring together our housing platform and our clean energy investments, through the deployment of Kensa’s high efficiency ground-source heat pumps, demonstrates how L&G is taking a holistic approach to Building Back Better from early-stage capital investment, through to construction and operation.”
Jamie Bunce, CEO of Inspired Villages, commented: “We are delighted to be starting on site on this major new scheme and bringing forward the UK’s first net-zero carbon retirement community.
“There is a need to provide a greater support to our older people within society and Covid has shown us that ensuring the health and wellbeing of our older people, whilst supporting our NHS and social care services, is paramount. Our retirement community model focuses on holistic wellness, encouraging this in older people by providing suitable, safe, secure and stimulating environments, helping them live good, healthy, independent lives for longer. Environmental considerations are the next stage of this evolution.”
Last year, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak dedicated a £3bn green investment package to create jobs and decarbonise parts of the economy in a Covid-19 recovery plan, part of which included a £2bn Green Homes Grant under which “homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for vouchers to make their homes more energy efficient and create local jobs”.