Zeal Hotels has acquired the site for its 142-room net zero carbon hotel, with construction due to begin in July at Exeter Science Park.

Zeal Hotels has signed an Exclusivity Agreement with IHG Hotels & Resorts for the hotel, which will be managed by Valor Hospitality.

CGI Zeal Hotel ESP

The upscale lifestyle property, which is due to open in Q4 next year, is aiming for a minimum BREEAM rating of Excellent, with a target of Outstanding. Solar panels will ensure that the hotel will generate all the energy it requires.

Tim Wheeldon, managing director, Zeal Hotels, said: “The final pieces of our plan to create the first net zero carbon branded hotel are coming together and we are thrilled to be starting work on this innovative and highly sustainable project.”

L:R Graham Sturge (RED Construction Group), Dr Sally Basker (ESP), Tony Clark (Zeal Hotels), Tim Wheeldon (Zeal Hotels), cllr Sara Randall Johnson (DCC), Simon Lousada (Lousada Plc) and Melanie Sealey (DCC)

Exeter Science Park is located close to junction 29 of the M5, providing a base for a number of science, technology and engineering companies. The hotel is expected to welcome guests using Exeter Science Park, Exeter Business Park and Exeter Airport, as well as guests travelling to Devon and Cornwall, all of whom will be able to use the hotel’s EV charging points.

Locally-sourced food and beverage will be a focal point of the hotel operation. The property will also feature a meeting room and gym.

“Hospitality has been lagging behind other industries in its commitment to net zero carbon and we are looking forward to welcoming guests to join us on our journey. A fundamental requirement in the design of our new hotel is that it can be replicated and we are now seeking additional development opportunities in strategic locations throughout the UK,” added Wheeldon.

Dr Sally Basker, chief executive, Exeter Science Park Limited, said: “It's very exciting to see work begin on Zeal's innovative, 'mindfully modern’ highly-sustainable, low-carbon hotel that will complement Exeter Science Park's existing net zero carbon buildings.

“This collaboration launches the next phase of growth at Exeter Science Park and we anticipate there will be great synergy for both organisations, with Zeal bringing many benefits to our businesses, which will be reciprocated through the Science Park providing facilities, such as meeting spaces, for Zeal Hotel residents.”

Sally added: “We're delighted to build on existing success to deliver an innovative, low-carbon destination that supports the development of a vibrant, STEMM community delivering extraordinary growth for our south-west region.”

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Recovery and Skills, said: “It's excellent news that Exeter Science Park has been chosen as the home for this pioneering development and it matches our net zero carbon ambitions in Devon. The vision of the Science Park has always been to encourage innovation and sustainability, and that's exactly what this exciting project provides.”