Senior living is going green: how the care sector is championing carbon-neutral practices

Research carried out in October last year revealed that more than a third of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainability. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that we’re seeing more and more of our borrowers in the senior living and care sector making investments to reduce their carbon footprints, and develop new sustainable care homes and retirement villages.

The ‘Sustainable health and social care: connecting environmental and financial performance’ report, published by The King’s Fund in 2012, highlighted the need for more sustainability in the healthcare sector. A decade on, sustainability is now one of the top items on many care business’ agenda, with several operators having come to market providing ultra-sustainable, net-zero alternatives to traditional senior living and elderly care. This focus on sustainability is being mirrored in consumers who are increasingly taking sustainability into account when making purchasing decisions. Relatives and close friends of potential future residents of care homes and retirement villages often have an important say on which homes to place their loved ones with, so going green could yield positive revenue gains for many in the sector.

How can I make my care business greener?

There are various ways that senior living and elderly care operators can become more environmentally friendly in their operations:

  • It could be worth exploring renewable energy options such as installing solar panels, wind or geothermal heating (if along a coastal area) to provide electricity and heating
  • Homes lose 10-20% of their heat through windows and external doors, so installing double-glazed windows, high thermal performance doors, cavity wall insulation, etc.
  • Electric vehicle charging in the parking area, so those who own an electric vehicle or are visiting in one, can charge up their car while there
  • Using energy-efficient light bulbs and installing motion-sensor lighting to optimize electricity usage
  • Recycling
  • Encouraging residents to re-use their towels
  • Many of the above also have the added benefit of helping to reduce energy and electricity costs – a subject that is particularly pertinent right now given the energy crisis we’re experiencing.

However, making these investments requires funding and that’s where OakNorth Bank comes in – we provide business loans of £250,000 up to tens of millions of pounds and have worked with a number of businesses in the care space such as Park Lane Healthcare who we provided with £20.2M to develop a new high-spec sustainable care village in East Yorkshire. We’re also supporting the FORE and Amicala in their £300M JV to develop ultra-sustainable extra care later living communities.

If you’re a senior living or care home owner, operator, or investor looking for capital to invest in sustainability or pursue other growth plans, please do get in touch with our team and we’ll see if we can help.

By Steve Wilson, Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank

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