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What are the different energy and sustainability requirements for planning in the UK?

26 Feb 2019

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What are the different energy and sustainability requirements for planning in the UK?

One of the challenges faced by Local Planning Authorities is the need to ensure new building projects are meeting the needs of local communities and providing an overall positive impact to the area. The National Planning Policy Framework gives them a blueprint to follow, but despite this we find planning conditions imposed on developers are a real postcode lottery.

When it comes to sustainability targets, it is often the city and urban local authorities who apply the tougher planning conditions. Therefore the requirements for planning vary across the country and will differ depending on whether you build smaller projects regionally, larger projects nationally or specifically in London.

 

Where are you building?

Choose where in the country you are building to show the Planning Stage services we offer and the type of projects we would expect them to apply to.


 

Regional Planning

Energist’s technical team works with councils across the country and offers a wide range of services that can help get some of those boxes ticked, reduce your in-tray and help you meet deadlines. On smaller housing and non-domestic development projects throughout the country we would expect the following services to be required:

  • BREEAM
  • Energy Statement
  • Sunlight Impact
  • Ecology

BREEAM

Large non-residential buildings are often required to reach a specific BREEAM level. This detailed analysis looks at the sustainability of building materials, the wellbeing of residents, energy efficiency and transport links.

This assessment runs from concept design through to final completion, and with the majority of credits awarded before any work begins on site it’s vitally important to bring a team of BREEAM experts into your team as early as possible.

 

Energy Statement

You may be required to reach more stringent energy or carbon emission targets on your new development than those imposed under standard building regulations.

Depending on your authority’s stance, they may expect this reduction to be met via renewable technology, district heating schemes, better building fabric or all three.

Some authorities may also request a carbon offset payment if your development is expected to fall short of their carbon dioxide targets.

Finding the perfect balance between renewables, insulation levels and cash-in-lieu payments is a fine art. Our team is well equipped to offer multiple solutions for you to take forward.

We will create a sample set of SAP or SBEM calculations to gauge the energy use of your site, and summarise the best solutions into a detailed Energy Stratement report for you.

 

Sunlight Impact

Your proposed development may considerably reduce the amount of sunlight available to existing buildings, causing them to be less pleasant to live in. If your planning department consider there to be a risk of sunlight impact to your neighbours, we can assess the potential impact for you.

This report includes a 3D simulation model of the proposed buildings, and any existing places they’re expected to cast a shadow on. Sunlight paths are superimposed on the model to assess the amount of direct sunlight hours lost on any given day.

 

Ecology

Many city councils are keen to promote urban green spaces, and can use new development as a way of improving habitats for wildlife. As such, you may be required to complete an ecology survey, either as part of your BREEAM requirement, or as a stand-alone condition. Our qualified ecologists can create a report showing the current natural habitat of your development, and how this is expected to be improved because of the work you intend to carry out.

 

 

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National Planning

Larger projects and those that appear nationally are more likely to require additional energy and sustainability assessments including:

  • BREEAM
  • Energy Statement
  • Overheating
  • Sunlight Impact
  • Ecology
  • Noise and Vibration

BREEAM

Large non-residential buildings are often required to reach a specific BREEAM level. This detailed analysis looks at the sustainability of building materials, the wellbeing of residents, energy efficiency and transport links.

This assessment runs from concept design through to final completion, and with the majority of credits awarded before any work begins on site it’s vitally important to bring a team of BREEAM experts into your team as early as possible.

 

Energy Statement

You may be required to reach more stringent energy or carbon emission targets on your new development than those imposed under standard building regulations.

Depending on your authority’s stance, they may expect this reduction to be met via renewable technology, district heating schemes, better building fabric or all three.

Some authorities may also request a carbon offset payment if your development is expected to fall short of their carbon dioxide targets.

Finding the perfect balance between renewables, insulation levels and cash-in-lieu payments is a fine art. Our team is well equipped to offer multiple solutions for you to take forward.

We will create a sample set of SAP or SBEM calculations to gauge the energy use of your site, and summarise the best solutions into a detailed Energy Strategy report for you.

 

Overheating

Following recent heatwaves, concerns over homes being unbearably hot has risen to the surface. This especially applies to heavily glazed, inner city apartment blocks. There are currently no mandatory requirements regarding overheating limits in building regulations, so planning departments are taking the lead where there is a genuine need.

You may be required to commission a thermal dynamic model of your building. This can predict internal temperatures, and pinpoint areas of the building at higher risk.

 

Sunlight Impact

On the flip side of this, your proposed development may considerably reduce the amount of sunlight available to existing buildings, causing them to be less pleasant to live in. If your planning department consider there to be a risk of sunlight impact to your neighbours, we can assess the potential impact for you.

This report includes a 3D simulation model of the proposed buildings, and any existing places they’re expected to cast a shadow on. Sunlight paths are superimposed on the model to assess the amount of direct sunlight hours lost on any given day.

 

Ecology

Many city councils are keen to promote urban green spaces, and can use new development as a way of improving habitats for wildlife. As such, you may be required to complete an ecology survey, either as part of your BREEAM requirement, or as a stand-alone condition. Our qualified ecologists can create a report showing the current natural habitat of your development, and how this is expected to be improved because of the work you intend to carry out.

 

Noise and Vibration

When building in urban areas, or close to railway lines or industrial estates, there can be concerns regarding how background noise and vibrations could impact the lives of future occupants. We can investigate the noise levels produced by existing surroundings, and report back with recommendations on how your development could be adapted to take this into account.

 

With planning departments pushing tighter requirements onto developers, it’s critical that you have a team of reliable and trustworthy specialists on hand to help. Contact us to see how we can help you meet the planning conditions on your next project.

 

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London Planning

London leads the way when it comes to strict planning conditions. The 440 page London Plan is at the disposal of all its boroughs and covers topics as wide ranging as dealing with building waste to introducing a city-wide heat network.

Local authorities refer larger building projects directly to the Greater London Authority (GLA), where even more detailed planning conditions are set out. The following energy and sustainability assessments will likely be required:

  • BREEAM
  • Energy Strategy
  • Overheating
  • Sunlight Impact
  • Ecology
  • Noise and Vibration

 

BREEAM

Large non-residential buildings are often required to reach a specific BREEAM level. This detailed analysis looks at the sustainability of building materials, the wellbeing of residents, energy efficiency and transport links.

This assessment runs from concept design through to final completion, and with the majority of credits awarded before any work begins on site it’s vitally important to bring a team of BREEAM experts into your team as early as possible.

 

Energy Strategy

Depending on the size of your development, you may be required to offset at least 35% of the total expected carbon emissions through fabric improvements and onsite technology, or even pay into a carbon offset levy to effectively achieve a zero carbon construction site.

Finding the perfect balance between renewables, insulation levels and cash-in-lieu payments is a fine art. Our team is well equipped to offer multiple solutions for you to take forward.

We will create a sample set of SAP or SBEM calculations to gauge the energy use of your site, and summarise the best solutions into a detailed Energy Strategy report for you.

 

SAP 10

Even though the Government’s new SAP methodology is still in draft form, GLA referred schemes should now use SAP10 emission factors as part of the Energy Strategy. This significantly improves the performance of electric fed systems, but reduces the impact of installing PV or CHP systems.

This highly-specialised calculation can be completed by our in-house team and – as before – we can look at different options to help you find the best approach to achieving compliance.

 

Overheating

Following recent heatwaves, concerns over homes being unbearably hot has risen to the surface. This especially applies to heavily glazed, inner city apartment blocks. There are currently no mandatory requirements regarding overheating limits in building regulations, so planning departments are taking the lead where there is a genuine need.

In London, this means you may be required to commission a thermal dynamic model of your building. This can predict internal temperatures, and pinpoint areas of the building at higher risk. The London Plan’s Cooling Hierarchy guides developers through the best ways of reducing heat risk without introducing energy heavy cooling systems.

 

Sunlight Impact

On the flip side of this, your proposed development may considerably reduce the amount of sunlight available to existing buildings, causing them to be less pleasant to live in. If your planning department consider there to be a risk of sunlight impact to your neighbours, we can assess the potential impact for you.

This report includes a 3D simulation model of the proposed buildings, and any existing places they’re expected to cast a shadow on. Sunlight paths are superimposed on the model to assess the amount of direct sunlight hours lost on any given day.

 

Ecology

The London Plan is keen to promote green spaces and ensure the capital increases the amount of native species and habitats over the coming years. To do this, you may be required to complete an ecology survey, either as part of your BREEAM requirement, or as a stand-alone condition.

Our qualified ecologists can create a report showing the current natural habitat of your development, and how this is expected to be improved because of the work you intend to carry out.

 

Noise and Vibration

When building in urban areas, or close to railway lines or industrial estates, there can be concerns regarding how background noise and vibrations could impact the lives of future occupants. We can investigate the noise levels produced by existing surroundings, and report back with recommendations on how your development could be adapted to take this into account.

 

Energist’s technical team offers a wide range of services in the sustainability sector that can help get some of those boxes ticked, reducing your in-tray and helping you meet deadlines.

 

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Author

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

Email

Jon Ponting

Energy And Sustainability Specialist

jonp@energistuk.co.uk