GFI’s Property Linked Finance work recognised at the 2023 PACESetter Awards

by | Jun 22, 2023

The Green Finance Institute is delighted to announce that Emma Harvey-Smith has been recognised as a PACESetter at the PACENation Awards 2023 in New York, USA. Emma, who leads the GFI’s work on the built environment, has won this year’s award for Advocacy and Policy Innovation for leading the GFI’s work on Property Linked Finance (PLF).

The GFI has been pioneering a PACE ‘style’ solution – termed Property Linked Finance (PLF) – in collaboration with the finance and retrofit community, in what would be the first-of-its-kind solution for the UK market. The GFI’s work on PLF has been made possible by a number of generous funding partners including the Laudes Foundation, MCS Foundation, and Amalgamated Bank.

PLF is based on the Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE) solution that has been successfully deployed in the US. The US has benefited from almost $13 billion worth of investment in making over 325,000 buildings more energy efficient, creating 170,000 skilled jobs and generating $21.6 billion of economic impact according to PACENation.

Unlike a mortgage, the finance is linked to the property and not the individual. This means the homeowner only pays for the energy efficiency upgrades while they live in their home, and, at the point of sale the new buyer will become responsible for making small, regular payments while benefitting from having a warmer, more comfortable home that is cheaper to run.

The opportunity in the UK is vast. Research by the GFI revealed that almost nine in ten consumers (88%) consider energy efficiency to be important and almost two thirds of respondents (63%) stated they were likely or neutral to using PACE as a financing mechanism to enable them to make energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. PLF will help bridge the gap to unlock some of the £250 billion the Climate Change Committee estimates need to be invested to upgrade the UK’s homes by 2050.

Reflecting on the award win, Emma Harvey-Smith, Programme Director, said: “The finance sector has a huge role to play in the decarbonisation of the UK’s built environment. It’s essential that the sector continues to innovate and embrace the opportunities that green products present. Property Linked Finance was a key recommendation from our 2020 report and is a vital innovation poised to unlock billions of pounds of investment in retrofitting upgrades for the UK. This award serves as a testament to our ongoing efforts to bring the first ever Property Linked Finance solution to the UK, and we look forward to sharing further exciting announcements in the near future.”

Amol Mehra, Director of Industry Programmes, Laudes Foundation, said: “Decarbonising the built environment is critical for climate action as it makes up about 40% of total carbon emissions. To ensure this transition occurs at pace, we need to build accessible financial pathways for business and citizens alike. Laudes Foundation is proud to support the Green Finance Institute’s Property Linked Finance initiative as it develops new transition finance solutions for UK real estate.”

David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at net zero charity MCS Charitable Foundation said: “Congratulations to Emma and the team for this excellent and deserved award. MCS is delighted to play a key role as a funder supporting the work of GFI to develop property linked finance with a grant to catalyse change in the built environment, rapidly introduce PLF into the UK market and support our collective goal to mitigate climate change by accelerating adoption of renewable and low carbon technologies.”

“Consumers want and need to be able to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, and there is a clear gap in the market for attractive green home finance to fund the cost of improvements and unlock the ability of homeowners to tackle projects. Over half of consumers are unlikely to use traditional forms of finance to retrofit their home. Not currently available in the UK but proven in the US with over $13bn of investment, we are excited about the transformation this new financial solution will bring to the sector and our country.”

Jason Darby, CFO at Amalgamated Bank, said: “Amalgamated Bank is pleased to partner with the Green Finance Institute. Our two organizations share a common vision for a sustainable future and we are delighted the GFI’s received the PACESetter Award. We are inspired by the work of the GFI and look forward to supporting their continued success.”

Read our report on Property Linked Finance published last year here:

About the PACENation Summit 2023 awards: The Annual PACENation Summit is the leading event for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing professionals.