UKCW London: 7-9 May | ExCeL
UKCW Birmingham: 1-3 October | NEC


Barratts Zero Carbon Z house

08 Aug 2022
Martin Wadsworth
Barratts New Z House Design features ThermaSkirt

The Challenge
Barratt Developments PLC are the UK’s largest house developer with around 18,000 completions per year. With ambitious Nett Zero targets for 2050, the UK cannot hope to meet its commitments without the housing market embracing new technology such as heat pumps, solar, and recycled materials wherever practicable.

To that end, Barratt Developments launched their ‘Z’ house in October 2021 to showcase their commitment to a Zero carbon future. Built using advanced modern methods of construction and packed with cutting edge technology, the home is the first to be built by a major housebuilder that goes far beyond the Future Homes Standard. Barratt’s stated aim is that all their new homes will be zero carbon by 2030.

With Air Source Heat Pumps the preferred heating strategy to gas boilers it became obvious that the emitters would need to be re-evaluated as standard size radiators would not provide adequate heating at the lower operating temperatures.

Underfloor heating would be one solution, as would oversized radiators but both of which present challenges in terms of safely installing buried pipes on a busy building site and having to reconsider room layouts and sizes to accommodate larger wall hung radiators.


The Solution

ThermaSkirt is an aluminium radiant panel, disguised as a skirting board profile. Available in a ‘wet’ central heating version as well as direct electric, when warm it uses infra-red to radiate heat into the occupied space.

As if forms part of the building fabric, and occupies the skirting board location, it takes up no valuable wall or floor space.

Being made from a highly efficient aluminium polymer and extending along one or more walls in the room, it distributes the heat more evenly and effectively than a point-source emitter.

In the Z house, the warm water from the ASHP flows through the integral pipes in the skirting profile and the ThermaSkirt heats up as quickly and responsively as a normal radiator.


As it’s ‘above ground’ the type of floor construction or final covering does not affect performance. The room temperature can be controlled by a simple mechanical control, similar in operation to a standard radiator valve, or back to a manifold like UFH.


The Result

Oliver Novakovic MSc is the Technical & Innovation Director at Barratt Developments and is familiar with the ThermaSkirt product since his time at the BRE.

“Discrete heat has been a valued partner on this project both in supporting the Z house project and integrating with the renewable technologies, but more importantly they have looked to understand the key challenges in using their technology and the role it plays in delivering both a zero carbon home and the future homes standard.”

Oliver Novakovic MSc Technical & Innovation Director, Barratts Developments PLC

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