09 March 2021

ZEBCat Pilot Scheme

  • Whole House Retrofit Decarbonisation 

Client: Exeter City Council

Region: Devon

Value: £1.3M

Contract terms: JCT Design & Build

Contract length: 74 weeks

Site features and challenges: Occupied buildings


Works took place across three locations: Chestnut Avenue, Exeter; Pound Close, Burrington; and Fernicombe Road, Paignton. The Exeter properties are managed by Exeter City Council; the Burrington properties by North Devon Homes; and the Paignton properties by Sanctuary Housing. Chestnut Avenue is in a suburb to the south-east of Exeter city centre, surrounded by occupied residential premises. Pound Close is in a rural location with occupied homes on three sides and farmland to the south-west. Fernicombe Road is in a residential suburb, surrounded by occupied homes.

The scheme involved Zero Energy Building Category (ZEBCat) works to 16 properties at three locations, comprising Energiesprong retrofit decarbonisation works. Each project involved decarbonizing properties; 2 in North Devon, 6 in Exeter, and 8 in Paignton to achieve the removal of carbon emitting fuels for the purpose of heating and hot-water and to regenerate the properties.

Enabling works comprised:

  • Energy Efficiency Measures;
  • Designs & Surveys;
  • Energy Efficiency Measures;
  • Asbestos Surveys;
  • Ecology Surveys;
  • Ground Penetrating Surveys;
  • Scaffold Surveys & Design;
  • Mauer Rain screen surveys & design;
  • Structural Engineer Surveys;
  • Underfloor Q-Bot surveys where required;
  • Topographical surveys;
  • Geophysical surveys;
  • Ecological surveys;
  • Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) Surveys
  • Cavity surveys;
  • Resident surveys.

Mi-space completed reroofing including structural repairs; fitted new windows and doors; installed GSHPs; fitted inset roof Photovoltaic arrays; installed MVHR Mechanical ventilation heat recovery; and installed energy pods and battery stores. The team removed gas connections to the properties, installed new fascias and soffits and fitted new rainwater goods. Insulation works comprised installation of loft, underfloor cavity extraction and insulated and render plinth works.

Mi-space demolished coal stores and canopies, constructing GRP over-door canopies with energy efficient lighting, and installed Mauer rainscreen cladding. Finally, the team completed air tests and Structural Engineer inspections; and arranged for Building Control inspections and Energy Performance Services inspections.

The performance parameters of the project included a provision of a consistent internal temperature of 18 degree Celsius, thermal comfort and a daily availability of hot water.

Initial client feedback is that the homes are not as largely different to use as they anticipated. The fabric-first approach of the ZEBCat concept means that the building’s heating losses are so minimal that the heating system rarely has to activate, therefore meaning that the resident has to interact less with the controls are the property. 

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