St Margaret’s Residences is set to become a sustainable development of 40 luxury homes in St Leonards, Exeter. It is being turned from a Grade II listed former school into a beacon for energy independent buildings in Exeter and the UK. The school was closed down in 2013 because it was deemed “financially unviable” to run.

This demonstrator project aims to show how it is possible to integrate technologies for increasing energy efficiency into listed buildings while preserving the features that make them historic.

Sustainable property developer Grenadier Estates is undertaking the project. Grenadier is based in Oxygen House with Exeter City Futures and is aligned with our goal of making Exeter’s buildings energy independent.

Exeter City Futures is proud to work alongside Grenadier Estates, helping to facilitate the energy independence of our historic buildings. This is a great example of Exeter City Futures partnering to deliver impact on our energy independence goal.

Energy Independent Buildings

One problem Exeter faces in making its buildings energy independent is that a significant amount of its building stock is pre-1920s. This presents a challenge for getting planning approval when bringing old properties, especially listed ones like St Margaret’s, up from an EPC E/F rating to an A rating.

St Margarets Grenadiers

Grenadier’s ambition for St Margaret’s is to achieve an EPC A rating combined with PassivHaus EnerPHit standards to deliver extremely high levels of performance and energy efficiency. It wants to do this while protecting and preserving the features that make its buildings Grade II and II* listed.

Passivhaus is a voluntary standard for reducing energy consumption and is often a challenge to achieve in older buildings. When refurbished using Passivhaus components buildings can be certified to the EnerPHit standard to demonstrate quality assurance and verify achievement to specific energy values.

Tesla Tiles

One key feature of a Passivhaus building is solar power. While it’s previously been difficult to get approval for solar panels new innovations make it possible to discreetly integrate solar power into a building and maintain its historic appearance.

Tesla’s rooftop solar tiles have been recently announced and look like a regular tile, but capture solar power without the need for unattractive roof installations. In addition to the power they generate they’re also more durable than regular roof tiles.

Original planning permission for the derelict St Margaret’s site was agreed in 2014, and revised plans are currently being discussed. Grenadier hopes to secure planning for the final aspects of the design, including the integration of Tesla’s solar tiles, early in 2017.