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We've started work on our first ever net zero Ultrapanel home

We've started work constructing the first Ultrapanel house in the UK as part of a game-changing set of net zero homes.


We're the first developer in the country to use the precision-engineered, interlocking panels to construct a full home at Tulach in Wigan, Greater Manchester. It’s part of an innovative project to trial new housebuilding methods and get vital intel on the future of operationally net zero homes.


Today, carbon neutral homes are generally out of reach for most home-buyers, with limited choice on the market. Northstone are aiming to create a design-led, net zero home accessible to more buyers … demonstrating how an innovative breed of new builds could help address climate change and slash energy bills for residents.


The Northsone-Ultrapanel home will not only be built to be thermally efficient, it will be packed with sustainable systems. When complete, it’ll boast triple glazing; solar PV panels; 6.5kw battery storage; mechanical ventilation; and an integrated heat pump cylinder.


Elsewhere, the home will also use heat recovery systems and rainwater harvesting to further boost its sustainability credentials. Currently in construction, it’s due to be finished this summer.


Richard O’Brien, Design Director at Northstone, said:


“The UK is at a critical moment when it comes to homebuilding. Whilst we desperately need to reduce the carbon emissions from the UK’s homes on the journey to net zero, people are also seeing their energy bills rocket. We’re aiming to build a home that is operationally net zero and self-sustaining, reducing energy bills to near zero.


“Our home in Wigan will look like its energy-efficient neighbours from the outside. But look under the hood and you’ll find really innovative building methods and extensive systems to both generate energy and conserve usage.


“In the coming years, the pressure for housebuilders to step up and deliver net zero homes is only going to grow. We’re making swift progress to rise to that challenge and, for us, this will be an in-depth learning exercise on which we’ll base our future decisions. We’re proud to be pushing the boundaries and partnering with forward-looking suppliers like Ultrapanel.”


From the kerbside, the 3-bed property will look like Northstone’s other design-led properties at the 267-home community, developed on the site of the former Pemberton colliery.

Once complete, the energy performance will be closely monitored, providing essential learnings that will enable both Northstone and the wider industry make crucial decisions on the rollout of building methods and net zero technologies.


It comes as developers face a looming challenge to reduce carbon emissions from their homes by over 75% as part of the Government’s Future Homes Standards by 2025. Northstone’s Wigan home will far exceed the requirement.


A major part of the home’s performance will be down to the use of Ultrapanel’s patented panel system as the main construction method. The precision, thin-profile panels cut down construction time; allow more space for insulation whilst maintaining interior floorspace; and reduce air leakage for better heat management.


Northstone has been working with the supplier for some time in preparation for construction of the first full Ultrapanel home.


John Hough, Managing Director at Ultrapanel, said:


“Our partnership with Northstone is significant in that they like us at Ultrapanel are forward thinking and innovative. Northstones desire to create energy efficient homes with a fabric first approach aligns well with the Ultrapanel technology.


“The patented technology in our panels allows them to be used in multiple applications such as roofs, walls and floor structures and can flex to thermal and fire performance levels designed by our clients. The solution supplied at the Wigan site achieves an external envelope u-value of 0.09 W/m²K supplying exceptional thermal performance.


“Ultrapanel are working on National accreditations for our system and are extremely excited with the direction the current and future partnership with Northstone is going and the evolution of the Ultrapanel HAUS.”


Ultrapanel Building Technologies, part of the Ultraframe group of companies, prime focus is around new innovative building systems for the retrofit and the newbuild sectors. As an offsite manufacturer of MMC solutions Ultrapanel believes they will play a significant role in housing transformation and delivery in the future.