GLA proposes major shift for performance targets in London
15 May 2020
Flattening peaks, storing energy and smart automation… London talks of shifting planning policy up another gear
Next year, when new building regulations change in line with the Government’s Future Homes Standard policy, we will start to see a shift towards targeting the performance of buildings based on energy use, with the tried-and-tested Target Emission Rate playing second fiddle.
This won’t just mean designing new homes to use less energy – We will also need to consider how building’s can be smart with our supply.
Historically it’s been a challenge to store electricity on an industrial scale. Power stations need to predict how much energy we need, with surplus going to waste.
But moving away from large-scale power plants in favour of instant generation (turbines, PV) is helping improve efficiency of the grid, as are innovations in battery storage.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is proposing to update its New London Plan to encourage construction companies to do just that.
The New London Plan is currently under review and isn’t expected to go live later this year. Considerations for smart energy is one of several new measures which could be made mandatory on major schemes in the capital.
Under the proposed changes, the remit of the Energy Strategy document would be extended to include data such as estimates for peak energy demand, the amount of energy that can be stored on site, and how smart systems can be integrated to make use of our energy in ways that would ease peak pressure further.
The data collected would cover both electricity and heat energy.
To put it another way, design modelling will predict the amount energy a new development needs for heating, cooling, lighting, and general occupancy at peak times.
The peak demand can then be reduced by using onsite battery and thermal storage instead of reliance on the grid. If we assume an early evening electricity peak occurs, energy could be collected in batteries during the day, and released to reduce the amount pulled from the grid.
Similarly, thermal stores can be heated overnight using a cheaper energy tariff, so there is less demand on the grid to provide hot water for the early morning peak.
Another step developers can take is to introduce smart monitoring systems which can, for example, charge vehicles when demand is lower and tariffs are cheaper.
That said, the GLA do require proposals to be evaluated and encourages developers to adopt such measures where feasible.
But we can expect developers will be pushed into adopting smart energy systems in new developments in the coming years, as the UK continues to look for ways of meeting it’s zero carbon 2050 commitments.