Development of Grade II listed building achieves EPC A in a UK first

New benchmark for period homes commended by Historic England

Development ‘challenges the myth’ that historic buildings can’t compete with new-build homes

The redevelopment of a former school in Exeter, known as St Margaret’s, has become the first property in the UK to secure an Energy Performance Certification (EPC) A for a set of historic buildings.

Sustainable Exeter-based developer, Grenadier, is transforming the Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings into new energy efficient homes and has secured the highest EPC rating for a Grade II building, making it the first of its kind in the UK to secure the certification.

The EPC A rating is more commonly achieved in new-build properties which can perform to the highest standard across several energy performance categories. Typically, it is challenging for historic buildings to achieve an EPC rating above a C, as they are renowned for beautiful, but inefficient, features such as sash windows and lack of insulation.

How the EPC A was achieved at St Margaret’s

To achieve the EPC A rating, the Grade II listed building at St Margaret’s had to satisfy rigorous efficiency criteria including: the amount of energy used per square metre, carbon dioxide emissions, efficiency of insulation and window permeability.

Grenadier, by using the latest advancements in building techniques and technology, has adapted the site to meet the highest modern living standards, without compromising the historic character of the property.

Solar panels have been added to the roofs to generate clean, renewable energy, and a communal ground source heat pump will supply energy efficient hot water and heating free of charge to residents.

In addition, new homeowners will have access to electric car changing points, encouraging the use of electric vehicles as a means of reducing air pollution in an ever-growing city.

Grenadier has significantly improved the insulation of the properties to the highest standard, with insulation being built around the solid red Heavitree stone – a stone that is particularly prevalent in old buildings in and around Exeter. The traditional sash windows are also being reengineered and fitted with draft-proof brushes which will enable residents to enjoy the ambient temperatures usually associated with new builds.

Internal fixtures have also been considered, with LED lights and smart home energy monitors to be installed so residents can track and reduce their energy usage.

“St Margaret’s is proof that period properties absolutely can compete with new builds. What we have achieved with the EPC A rating is challenging a myth that has long pervaded the property industry. We hope that by showing what can be done, we’ve set a new benchmark for other developers to follow and make a real difference to the way homes are built across the whole of the UK.”

Aiden Johnson-Hugill, Director of Grenadier

“Keeping buildings in use is one of the purest forms of recycling. We relish the opportunity to work with people who own or develop older buildings and want to adapt them to meet modern living standards in ways which don’t compromise historic character. That’s what we’ve been able to do at St Margaret’s Residences” says Simon Hickman, Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas.

As well as achieving the EPC A rating, St Margaret’s has also partnered with Exeter City Council to set the benchmark for residential recycling. The recycling facilities in the apartments directly correlate with the City’s recycling provision so sorting is kept to a minimum and the amount recycled versus going to landfill is increased.

The first 18 properties on the St Margaret’s site are expected to be complete by the end of March 2021, with the remaining 22 properties expected to be ready by November.

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*1, 2, 3 & 5 Newberry Lodge have all be awarded Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ‘A’ at St Margaret’s, February 2021.