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Zeal celebrates topping out for Net Zero Carbon Hotel

April 16, 2024

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Zeal Hotels held a topping-out ceremony for voco Zeal Exeter Science Park.

The four-star, 142-bedroom hotel, constructed with half the embodied carbon of a standard hotel, will generate 100 per cent of electricity consumed via the photo voltaic roof and wall panels, positioning it firmly in line with the 2050 Paris Agreement requirements and exceeding 2030 targets.

The building, which achieved the BREEAM Outstanding rating at the design stage, is currently on schedule in week 39 of a 75-week construction programme.

As a fully sustainable operation, produce will be sourced locally or grown on site, stimulate economic growth through job creation and investment and attract the environmentally conscious to the city.

voco Zeal Exeter Science Park remains on schedule to complete in December this year, with official opening planned for January 2025.   

Drone Footage Credit: Red Air Media

Zeal Hotels is working with RED Construction South West, part of RED Construction Group, on the project, focusing on reducing emissions rather than offsetting to create an industry-leading sustainable hotel brand without compromising on guest experience and comfort levels.

As part of Zeal Hotels’ full life cycle approach, the group will be accountable not only for Scope 1 and 2 emissions but Scope 3 construction and operation supply chains’ emissions.

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.”

Photo Credit: GRW Photography

Simon Lousada, property developer and investor in voco Zeal Exeter Science Park said: “Today marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards sustainable hospitality. The decision to build our net zero hotel reflects our commitment to combating climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. By harnessing renewable energy sources, implementing energy-efficient designs, and utilising cutting-edge technology, we aim to create a space that not only provides comfort and luxury but also prioritises environmental responsibility.

“This project represents more than just a building; it symbolises our dedication to sustainable development and responsible tourism. We recognise the importance of preserving our planet for future generations, and this hotel will serve as a beacon of sustainability in our community.”

Derek Quinn, Managing Director of RED Construction South West, part of RED Construction Group, commented: “We are thrilled to have celebrated the topping out of Zeal’s first-ever net zero carbon hotel, a pioneering development that is paving the way in the hospitality industry. It is a milestone project for RED South West, working within the prestigious Exeter Science Park, and we look forward to completing the Zeal Hotel as part of such a brilliant team.”

Photo Credit: GRW Photography

Dr Sally Basker, Chief Executive of Exeter Science Park Ltd, said: “We are delighted with the progress made to date on the new voco Zeal Exeter Science Park, and the reaching of this significant milestone ahead of schedule in the construction programme is a huge achievement. It has been very exciting to see this groundbreaking project develop over the last few months.

“We are proud to be the location for the first Zeal/IHG net zero carbon hotel which is compatible with Exeter Science Park’s own net-zero ambitions. There are huge potential synergies between the hotel and Exeter Science Park and we anticipate these will benefit Exeter Science Park’s businesses, the hotel’s residents, and the wider Devon community.”

Drone Footage Credit: Red Air Media

Zeal has an exclusive agreement with IHG for the hotel, which will trade as the voco Zeal Exeter Science Park and will be IHG’s first net zero carbon hotel. The hotel, located adjacent to J29 of the M5 Motorway and less than a mile away from Exeter Airport, will be managed by Valor Hospitality.

Net Zero Zeal Hotel Topping Out Ceremony