Zeal tops out net zero hotel in Exeter

by: Mark Caswell | April 16, 2024

UK: Zeal Hotels has carried out the traditional topping out ceremony for its forthcoming net zero carbon hotel in Exeter.

Plans for the 142-room property were first announced in 2022, and Zeal signed an exclusivity agreement with IHG last year, before announcing that the hotel would be known as voco Zeal Exeter Science Park.

Net zero hotel unveils branding as voco Zeal Exeter Science Park

The property achieved BREEAM Outstanding rating at the design stage, with a certification score of 89.2 per cent, and IHG is referring to it as the group’s “first lifecycle net zero carbon hotel”.

The hotel is currently being built next to junction 29 of the M5 close to Exeter airport, and is scheduled to be completed in December, with an official opening in January next year.

The property is being constructed with half the embodied carbon of a standard hotel, with Zeal working with RED Construction South West to reduce rather than offset emissions.

Sustainable features of the hotel will include photo voltaic roof and wall panels which will generate 100 per cent of the property’s electricity consumption, as well as EV charging points and all produce being sourced locally or grown on site.

Zeal Hotels says it will be accountable for not only the hotel’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions, but also its Scope 3 emissions from the property’s construction and operation supply chain.

For our Focus On feature looking at Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and how hotels can manage them, click here.

Topping out ceremony for the voco Zeal Exeter Science Park

Commenting on the news Tim Wheeldon, managing director, Zeal Hotels, said: “We are thrilled to have reached this milestone on the road towards completing our first net zero carbon hotel and it is a testament to the dedication of the team at Red Construction South West that we have arrived at this point ahead of schedule.

“We are also tracking ahead of future sustainable goals, having achieved the 2030 sustainability target for carbon emissions during construction and are forecast to hit the 2050 target for energy use during operation. Both are huge goals and in part, are due to the fact the hotel will be generating more solar energy than it will actually use.

“Our journey towards this point dates back more than a decade, when we realised that we needed to take action to try address and reduce the hotel sector’s role in climate change. We hope to inspire others by proving that affordable hotels can also be responsible.”

The hotel will be managed by Valor Hospitality – see below for our Q&A with the group’s energy manager Lee Pickersgill.

Q&A: Lee Pickersgill, energy manager, Valor Hospitality

Image supplied by New Dog PR.