Sero: Net zero homes

Sero are a mission driven organisation with the goal of building truly sustainable and net zero homes, construction, energy, lifestyles and financing.

They aim is to create a community of homes that can intelligently support the wider energy system and comfort-as-a-service offerings that cover heat, power and transport for consumers. 

Energy Systems Catapult worked with Sero via the Energy Launchpad to help overcome the barriers to innovative consumer service offerings, by drawing on unique capabilities in consumer insight, business model innovation, digital energy systems and platforms.

The Catapult also support Sero in preparing for investment in order to secure the funding required to scale the business and build a pathway to a decarbonised community.

Sero Energy Innovation

Founded in 2017, Sero sit at the intersection of buildings and energy and have developed a range of services and toolkits to help developers and property owners design, build and run  zero-carbon building, optimising the performance of the properties and providing ongoing services to homeowners and tenants to ensure homes are comfortable and cheap to run.

Sero’s innovative Whole Home Survey tool and Pathway to Zero retrofit assessment model will dramatically improve the quality and speed of home surveys and provide costed specifications of the retrofit measures required to reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.

By building well designed homes with their own renewable generation and intelligent control to optimise energy usage, Sero can reduce the strain on the grid and local infrastructure. This flexibility to the grid will create value for energy networks but doing so in a way that suits the needs and requirements of the occupier.

The Challenge

Innovation is crucial to transforming the UK energy system to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Many innovators face systemic barriers preventing products, services and business models getting to market at scale.

Cardiff-based Sero are at the cutting edge of developing consumer led service propositions and as a result are pushing the boundaries of established market structures and regulations.

Energy Systems Catapult along with Places for People enlisted Sero as a technology partner as part of a publicly funded research project looking at how digital tools and the use of Digital Twin technology can help unlock large scale retrofit projects for social housing. Aside from delivering and financing retrofit solutions at scale to bring the housing stock to net zero, the aim is to demonstrate the social returns on investment, such as better education outcomes and lower healthcare costs, and create new green jobs.

Figure 1: Sero-co-founders Andy Sutton and James Williams

Figure 1: Sero-co-founders Andy Sutton and James Williams

The Solution

Energy Systems Catapult is home to the Energy Launchpad that draws on Catapult capabilities and assets, along with those of our partners. The Energy Launchpad provides innovators with tailored incubation and acceleration support to selected SMEs to help address systemic barriers, de-risk innovation, help businesses scale and secure investment.

Energy Launchpad’s Accelerator programme provides scale-up support for selected high-impact potential SMEs. Support includes those areas outlined in incubation but in more depth, as well as help to access demonstration environments such as our Living Lab, engagement with potential corporate clients and investors, and links to international opportunities.

Energy Launchpad – Accelerator

Energy Launchpad provided Sero with a tailored package, including:

  • Business Model Innovation: Stress-test and validate Sero’s current business model to understand the opportunities for creating value through the Sero Energy platform.
  • Investor Readiness: Advising and supporting Sero to prepare an investor pack, identify target investors and curate introductions.
  • Using Story-as-a-Strategy: to create a compelling narrative for Sero to use in attracting customers, investors, partners and employees.
  • Digital Fitness and Product Strategy Assessment: Delivering a comprehensive review of digital and data processes and providing recommendations for accelerating and improving the product delivery.
  • Markets, Policy and Regulations: Explore the implications of Sero’s new service model on their business, helping to shape innovative new consumer service agreements.
  • Consumer Insight: Testing home buyers’ attitudes to Smart Homes and ‘comfort-as-a-service’ value propositions to help housebuilders and others in the supply chain understand the value and opportunity these bring.
Figure 2: Sero CEO and co-founder James Williams tweeting

Figure 2: Sero CEO and co-founder James Williams tweeting

The Impact

  • Energy Systems Catapult’s work with Sero secured a funded research project in partnership with Places for People on the value of digital tools for Social Housing providers which will have a massive impact on creating zero-carbon communities.
  • Building a strong narrative and investor pitch deck to ensure funding is secured to scale the business.
  • Accelerating the adoption of Sero’s consumer led service propositions.
  • Understanding the opportunity and value created through demand side flexibility and potential commercial models.
  • The project also presented opportunities for collaboration and research with a range of other innovators.

Update: 11 January 2022

Legal & General Capital and Hodge has announced that they were investing £5.5million into Sero Technologies.

With over 10,000 new build and existing homes within its identified pipeline, Sero has forged strong relationships within the housing sector, creating tailored net-zero energy retrofit plans for homes, assuring them using building passports and managing them using its smart home energy management system, ‘The BEE’ (Building Energy Engine) and comfort based service model.

Sero has initially focused on working with social housing providers facing major challenges around regulation and funding, as they look to meet net-zero targets. Legal & General and Hodge’s investment will support Sero in its next stage of growth, as well as its aims to support the delivery net zero financial products with institutional partners.

Energy Launchpad helped Sero with investment readiness, including advice and support to prepare an investor pack, identification of target investors and curated introductions.

Next Steps

Read the Case Study

Sero - Optimising homes for Comfort-as-a-Service energy

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