London Plan Energy Statements: Everything you Need to Know

What is the London Plan?

The London Plan is the statutory spatial development strategy for the Greater London area in the United Kingdom that is written by the Mayor of London and published by the Greater London Authority, the latest version was released in March 2015.

If you are building inside any one of the 33 London Borough Council areas, you will soon be getting familiar with the London Plan and its requirements for an Energy Statement on all major developments. London boroughs will set out their own local plans and policies, but they will generally follow the London Plan structure, so despite some localised changes, we know what the general requirements will be.

Major developments are defined as either:

  • Dwellings – where 10 or more are to be constructed (or if the number is not given, area is more than 0.5 hectares)
  • For all other uses – where the floor area is 1,000 metres squared or more (or the site is 1 hectare or more)
London Plan Borough Council Areas
Barking and DagenhamBarnetBexley
City of LondonCroydonEaling
Hammersmith and FulhamHaringeyHarrow
IslingtonKensington and ChelseaKingston upon Thames
NewhamRedbridgeRichmond upon Thames
SouthwarkSuttonTower Hamlets
Waltham ForestWandsworthWestminster

Energy Hierarchy

London Plan Reports Policy 5.2 Minimising Carbon Dioxide EmissionsPolicy 5.2 of the London Plan states that major developments must demonstrate a reduction in carbon emissions by at least 35% over the Building Regulations.

To do this major developments are asked to apply the Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green energy hierarchy set out within an Energy Statement. Although each Borough Council may ask for other information alongside this, all London Energy Statements follow the guidelines of the Greater London Authority.

SAP / SBEM Part L Emissions Target

Using SAP Calculations for dwellings or SBEM dynamic simulation modelling for commercial developments, our first step in producing an Energy Statement is to determine the Part L baseline emission figures. These are the maximum carbon emissions permitted under Part L of the Building Regulations.

The carbon dioxide emissions for next three stages of the energy hierarchy have to be calculated individually to show the improvements each stage of the hierarchy will have. Then overall the buildings actual calculated carbon emissions have to be a 40% improvement over the 2010 Building Regulations Notional Building (this equates to a 35% improvement over the 2013 Building Regulations Notional Building).

The three stages of the energy hierarchy are:

Be Lean

Looking to promote a ‘fabric first’ approach to reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment, the Greater London Authority asks for buildings to use less energy by improving U-values, air permeability or through thermal mass. This is the first step to consider before the efficient delivery of power/heat or renewables are considered.

Be Clean

The Be Clean stage means that any energy supplied to the development should be as efficient as possible through either high COP heat pumps, high efficiency boilers or CHP (combined heat and power) systems.

To help determine whether the development could also benefit from either a nearby district heating circuit or a naturally occurring heat source, all of the London Boroughs have over the course of several years been producing or commissioning heat map studies. You can find out more about the London Heat Map here.

Be Green

After the development energy demand has be reduced (Be Lean) and any energy used is supplied efficiency (Be Clean), the final stage is to consider the use of renewable energy technologies.

Not unlike our Low and Zero Carbon Technology Reports we have carried out for various developments throughout the country, the London Plan Energy Statement must consider the feasibility of a number of different renewable technologies before justifying their inclusion or exclusion with the final report.

Cooling Hierarchy

London Plan Reports Policy 5.9 Overheating and CoolingAs well as satisfying the energy hierarchy set out in the London Plan, major developments also need to comply with the cooling hierarchy, set out in Policy 5.9 Overheating and Cooling. The London Plan cooling hierarchy seeks to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect by:

  1. Minimising internal heat generation through efficient design.
  2. Reduce the amount of heat entering a building in the summer through orientation, shading, insulation and green roofs.
  3. Manage the heat within the building through exposed internal mass and high ceilings.
  4. Passive ventilation.
  5. Mechanical Ventilation
  6. Where mechanical cooling is still required, ensure that it is the most efficient type.

We can use the same Dynamic Simulation Thermal Model of your building used to calculate its carbon emissions to also investigate the effect each stage of the cooling hierarchy will have on the overheating and cooling loads of the development.

Recent Updates to the London Plan

In early April we discovered that the central government put in place a ban on any energy reduction requirements over 19%. However the Mayor for London Office has decided to continue their policy of requiring a total reduction of 35% over the current Building Regulations standards.

The way the Mayor for London circumnavigates the central government ban is by stating that the 19% cap is only applicable to the energy demand (Be Lean Stage) on new major developments. Therefore any savings to energy demand through the use of better insulation, high efficient glazing or air tightness should be capped at a maximum of 19%. The other 16% required to pass the London Plan will need to be met through either efficient plant equipment (Be Clean Stage) or through renewable technologies (Be Green Stage).

So although the central government had seemed to put an end to the 35% target in favour of a lower 19% one, it appears as though nothing has changed. Therefore all major developments within a London Borough Council area will still need to show that they will meet the 35% reduction in carbon emissions over the current Building Regulations.

How to Satisfy the London Plan

To satisfy your development’s borough council and meet the London Plan requirements we would recommend that as a minimum you have a sustainability / energy statement carried out on your proposed development.

Each of our energy statements at Ecodraw will provide a descriptive overview of the proposed energy strategy, a dynamic thermal model of your development and the initial baseline Building Regulations carbon emissions determined. We can then work alongside your architects and engineers to ensure that maximum energy savings are made at each stage of the energy hierarchy. On completion of the project we can then issue the final ‘As Built’ SBEM BRUKL document to Building Control and produce an Energy Performance Certificate.

As well as an energy statement, certain London Borough Councils may also ask for further requirements such as BREEAM or Code for Sustainable Homes assessments be carried out, which we would also be happy to help with.

Energy Statements Outside of London

Many local councils are now following London’s lead on carbon friendly development by applying their own carbon targets and energy statement requirements. In fact the recent introduction of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) now means that local councils are duty-bound to encourage sustainable, eco-friendly development.

In general many Councils are setting their own targets that need to be met over the current Building Regulations standards. For example a Council may ask for an extra carbon reduction of 10% or 20%, not quite as high as what is seen in London, but still a great step in producing carbon friendly developments.

Some extra requirements that councils may also ask for is for major developments to undergo a BRREAM assessment and meet certain BREEAM grades such as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’.

Get us Involved Early

As with most of our Building Regulation and Energy Simulation services, the earlier you can get us involved in your developments design, the better it will be for all parties involved.

Appointing us early gives us time to talk to your borough councils planning departments / offices, allowing us to determine exactly what targets and requirements you will be expected to meet.

We can then formulate the best strategy for your development to meet the London Plan target reduction of 35% as well as any additional planning requirements.

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