Case Study

Seaward Way


A scheme of 54 new zero carbon in operation homes, all with affordable rent for Somerset West & Taunton Council.

Due to start on site winter 2021, the project has ambitious energy performance targets, working towards the LETI definition of net zero. Low carbon technologies including PV panels, thermal storage with smart controllers and air source heat pumps will be installed with 100% of predicted total operational energy generated on site.

Key information

  • Client: Somerset West and Taunton Council
  • Developer: Somerset West and Taunton Council
  • Architects: Mitchells/APG Architecture
  • Contractor: Classic Builders (SW) Ltd
  • Location: Minehead, Somerset
  • Engineers/consultants: Hydrock/GCP/Expedite Engineers
  • Employers agents: Gates Consultants
  • Principal Designer: Gates Consultants
  • Clerk of Works: Gates Consultants
  • Project type: New-build
  • Number of homes: 54, ranging from 1-4 bed
  • Sector: Social Housing
  • Key dates: Pre-construction services agreement commences August 2021, Start on site Winter 2021, Completion Summer 2023

Key facts/highlights

  • Ambitious targets, using LETI definition of net zero
  • Zero operational carbon through the use of low carbon technologies
  • Monitoring data will be taken and analysed by University of Bath
  • High performance insulation and glazing
  • Air tightness <1 m³/h/m² @50Pa
  • Accessible units
  • All units are affordable rent

Energy performance

  • 100% of predicted total operational energy generated on site via solar PV
  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target: <35 kWh/m²/yr (LETI)
  • Space heating demand target: <15 kWh/m²/yr (Passivhaus)
  • U value targets:
    • Roof: <0.10 W/m²K
    • Ground floor: <0.10 W/m²K
    • Walls: <0.13 W/m²K
    • Windows: 0.80 W/m²K (triple glazing), g-value 0.50-0.60
  • Air tightness target: <1 m³/h/m² @50Pa
  • Performance gap mitigated with employment of energy and carbon consultant

Monitoring data will be collected by the main contractor, with the University of Bath (Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering) who will collect and analyse the data.

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

  • Embodied carbon target: <500kg CO²e/m² 
  • Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) required for all building elements
  • 30% if materials are reused
  • 50% of materials are reusable
  • Green Euro water labels for hot water outlets

The main contractor will undertake pre and post-construction review of the associated embodied carbon emissions related to the development through data gathering on-site. This will be verified by Hydrock, post-completion. 

EPD will be used to verify embodied carbon content of at least the substructure, frame and upper floor, post-construction. Where available for other building components, this will be also be incorporated into the post-construction embodied carbon assessment.

Materials and construction

  • Porotherm block system, a modern clay brick with virtually dry construction
  • Permarock Brick Slip System
  • Permarock render cladding system RAL 9002
  • Aluminium balcony frame with aluminium floor and perforated balustrade RAL 5025
  • Natural roof slate
  • UPVC fascia, guttering and rainwater hoods in black

EV charging

All houses will have EV charging points, with up to 8 communal charging points for apartment units.

Thermal comfort and resilience

CIBSE AM11, compliant Dynamic Thermal Modelling to assess overheating following CIBSE TM59, Design methodology for the assessment of overheating risk in homes.

Access to green space and amenities

  • Balconies or terraces for all flats
  • Gardens for each house
  • Communal space with play area, landscaped bunds and attenuation pond
  • The site is 50m from the bus stop
  • Amenities including hospital and town centre between 5 and 15 minutes walking distance
  • Cycleway connection from the site


3 units are designed to be wheelchair accessible.


Case Study

Connell Gardens


Wondrwall’s net-zero home solution aims to decarbonise houses to make sustainable, net zero homes and change the way that people use their energy.

Wondrwall and Keepmoat partnered to deliver a trial of the Connell Gardens Development as part of Manchester City Council’s regeneration plan for the Gorton area.

5 three-bedroom homes were built with improved fabric and incorporating the Wondrwall solutions with dual-aspect PV solar, hybrid inverter & battery storage, and home automation.

Gas based heating and hot water were specified to minimise risk to the tenants should there be a performance gap, however, the case study indicated that AI-powered, all-electric, net-zero homes using Wondrwall technology are achievable with minimal incremental build cost and low energy bills for the occupier.

Key information

  • Project team: Manchester City Council and Keepmoat
  • Location: West Gorton, Manchester
  • Project type: New build
  • Number of homes: 5
  • Sector: Affordable housing
  • Key dates: Completed February 2020

Key facts/highlights

  • Dual aspect solar PV, with hybrid inverter and battery
  • Light switches monitoring temperature, humidity, power, motion, luminosity and sound
  • Network of 100+ sensors to monitor habitual patterns
  • Plotting the optimal running of the home using machine learning and predictive modelling
  • Maximisation of renewable and off-peak energy.
  • Home automation, including lighting, heating, security, safety and entertainment
  • Home automation, including lighting, heating, security, safety and entertainment
  • Home automation controlled through Amazon Alexa and the Wondrwall app

Energy performance

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target- 2185 kWh/yr (31 kWh/m2/yr) 
  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): 32 kWh/m²/yr, below LETI net zero definition
  • EPC rating: A
  • Annual PV generation target – 2148 kWh/yr
  • Annual PV generation monitoring result – 2357 kWh/yr
  • Improved wall insulation at 0.24 W/m2K from Keepmoat standard building typology of 0.28 W/m2K
  • Annual energy cost reduction of £456 (88%)

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

The homes have an annual carbon reduction of 884kg (based on typical Keepmoat homes in the development). 

Materials and construction

The houses are a typical brick and block construction. The aim of the demonstrator project was to highlight the effectiveness of the Wondrwall system with significant reductions in carbon emissions and especially in the running costs for the tenants without having to make deep and costly changes to the design of the homes.

Access to green space and amenities

Each house has a private garden. 


Cllr Suzanne Richards, Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration at Manchester City Council

“To retrofit all our homes and ensure that our new build homes are going to be zero carbon by 2038. It means that we really have to start doing things right now. That’s why I’m really pleased to be at this development in West Gorton where they’re using smart technology to make the home low carbon and deal with some of the challenges that we’re going to be facing in the future so we can get homes down to zero carbon.”

Further information and images


Building for the future: the role of county councils in meeting housing need

As part of the CCN’s Building for the Future project, which aims to showcase innovative county councils and unitary authorities delivering high-quality homes and communities, this report demonstrates that there is an appetite among counties to help meet national housing need but that they are not supported by national policy.

The report finds that there is an often-severe need for affordable housing among county and unitary authorities, with house prices in these areas among the highest in the country and at least nine times average earnings.

The report charts the progress of five counties trying to address local housing needs either through partnerships or direct delivery, ultimately calling on government to recognise the potential of this as a movement and make policy reforms to unlock further delivery.

Author: Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), County Councils Network (CCN)

Publication date: June 2018