Inspired Villages leads the IRC Sector with its ESG commitments, revealing plans to build 25 Net Zero developments Inspired Villages leads the IRC Sector with its ESG commitments, revealing plans to build 25 Net Zero developments

Inspired Villages leads the IRC Sector with its ESG commitments, revealing plans to build 25 Net Zero developments

  • Inspired Villages pledges to be Net Zero* by 2030, leading the UK and global IRC sector
  • Next month it will open the UK’s first Net Zero Carbon (regulated energy) retirement community, forming the blueprint for a further 25 Net Zero Villages 
  • The biological age of residents reduced by 8.8 years through wellbeing programmes

Inspired Villages, the leading UK later living developer and operator, launches its latest annual Impact Report detailing outputs in 2022 and its ambitious future commitments, as it strives to be completely Net Zero* by 2030.

With an evident climate crisis at hand and spiralling average temperatures, coupled with an ageing population that will see the number of people over 65 in the UK increase from 11.2 million today to almost 18 million by 2040, our social and economic mission is extremely powerful. Inspired Villages has set its own industry standard for social impact and wellbeing outputs, as well as environmental commitments, going the extra mile and leading the sector. 

Within the report its impact vision is outlined as creating a thriving, greener, healthier and better-connected society. It plans to do this by becoming a climate positive business and creating measurable social impact.

The business has made a pledge to be Net Zero and is due to open the UK’s first Net Zero Carbon (regulated energy) development, Millfield Green in Bedfordshire next month. The development will form the blueprint for a further 25 sustainable communities, through its joint venture with Legal & General Capital and NatWest Group Pension Fund.  Forming its ninth village, at Millfield Green 100% of the homes have been optimised using ground source heat pumps, solar panels, clean energy, electric car charging as well as using high-quality insulation, ventilation and high-performance triple-glazed windows, resulting in only using clean, REGO backed energy and becoming fossil fuel free. 

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The business has also comprehensively appraised its eight existing villages to identify areas where energy consumption can be driven down and emissions can be reduced, while ensuring stability for residents in terms of energy efficiency. The company found that 4,412kg of carbon has been saved by installing new car charging points. It is now exploring further changes to reduce power requirements in other areas, as well as installing solar panels and battery storage.

Beyond this, Inspired Villages is also considering the effects of the climate on the portfolio, considering resilience to overheating, drought, storm events and high winds within the builds and retrofits. By 2030 Inspired Villages will be ‘nature positive’ which means restoring and enabling species and ecosystems to regenerate, rather than observing their decline.

As well as Inspired Villages’ trailblazing environmental credentials, the later living community operator is creating true, measurable impact when it comes to collectively improving the lives and health of those over 65 especially as the UK experiences a mass ageing population. 

Through its tailored fitness and wellbeing programming and facilities, Inspired Villages has been successful in reducing their residents biological age by an average of 8.8 years. This in turn, has a deeper impact on over 65s in surrounding communities and by reducing pressure and costs on the NHS through reduced fewer GP visits and faster discharge from hospital. Inspired Villages is showing its commitment, outside of bricks and mortar, to helping retain independence and health, setting the business apart from other IRC operators in the UK.

Although so much of Inspired’s model focuses on holistic wellbeing of its residents and ensuring they are socially connected, the company went one step further in 2020 by launching Inspired Friendships. This programme connects residents and over 65s in the local area, using a range events and activities to reduce loneliness across wider communities. In 2022 alone, the Inspired Friendships team made 500 phone calls, held four days out, 12 walks, 6 garden parties, carried out 25 home visits and so much more. The report includes stories of those benefiting from the programme and the team are exploring ways to increase its impact. Beyond physical connection, Inspired’s teams also support residents with one-to-one tech training to ensure they are further connected to their families and communities, tackling isolation and ensuring older generations are not left behind by rapid advancements in technology.

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Jamie Bunce, Chief Executive Officer for Inspired Villages said: “Outlining our vision, goals and commitments within our Impact Report is an important step to holding ourselves accountable whilst driving change and setting a new standard in terms of sustainability for IRCs. 

“Our vision to become a climate positive business sees a range of commitments, including our villages being Net Zero Carbon in unregulated energy by 2030, as well as our scope 1 & 2 business emissions. We are making strides towards this with our ninth village, Millfield Green in Bedfordshire, which will open in October as our first Net Zero Carbon regulated scheme. This year we have also started the process of benchmarking our business scope 1 & 2 footprint, which will give us strategic direction for target setting in this area as we head into 2023. 

“Socially, our purpose revolves around people living the best years of their life, this includes ageing better and we have demonstrated the effectiveness of this across our communities, with hugely positive and impactful outcomes. The kind of early intervention and proactive approach to wellbeing that we promote within our village setting is great for residents and their families. But its impact is so much greater with benefits to the NHS and social care provision for older people, driving a reduction in GP, nurse and hospital visits and better health outcomes. This is the kind of transformative social impact the Integrated Retirement Community sector is uniquely placed to deliver and one I’m proud we’re leading on at Inspired.” 

James Willcox, Head of Sustainability at Inspired Villages, commented: “The planet is beginning to feel the effects of human impact on our climate. As a developer and operator of Integrated Retirement Communities for a potentially vulnerable age group, this is a threat to which we must respond seriously. 

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“Our 2022-23 Impact Report begins the process of demonstrating our progress with transparency, outlining our achievements from the past 12 months and identifying where we will need to focus for the future. Key takeaways include a commitment that all new villages will be Net Zero Carbon (regulated energy) and our aspiration is for this pledge to include unregulated energy from 2025. We have also adopted a fabric first approach to our specification to ensure we first reduce overall energy demand before looking at means of renewable energy generation. 

​​”We want our residents to experience the best years of their lives in an Inspired Village, but we also recognise that we have a wider responsibility to play our part in developing local economies addressing place-based needs. As we grow from eight villages to 34, and beyond, we are pushing the boundaries of the sector further and faster in the direction of carbon positivity and measurable social impact.”

For more information on Inspired Villages or any themes from the 22/23 Impact Report, please contact [email protected].

*Inspired Villages has pledged to be Net Zero by 2030, in its scope 1 and 2 businesses operations.