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Zero carbon target for new residential developments

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has implemented a new approach to new residential development standards for low carbon homes. The policy wording states:

“‘Zero carbon’ homes are homes forming part of major development applications where the residential element of the application achieves at least a 35 per cent reduction in regulated carbon dioxide emissions (beyond Part L 2013) on-site. The remaining regulated carbon dioxide emissions, to 100 per cent, are to be off-set through a cash in lieu contribution to the relevant borough to be ring fenced to secure delivery of carbon dioxide savings elsewhere.”

What does this mean?

·        From 1 October 2016 – GLA have implemented zero carbon target on all new major residential developments.

·        Effected developments will have to meet the zero carbon target by reducing energy/co2 emissions via an efficient design to the maximum technically possible, any remaining co2 emissions (calculated in tonnes) will have to be offset by a one off payment of £1800/tonne (amount may vary, borough dependent).

·        The offset payment may, in general, work out cheaper than essentially investing in renewables such as Photovoltaic (PV) to meet the target.

What does this mean for the project team?

Clients, project managers, architects and MEP consultants need to be involved and work together from the early stages of the project to initiate workable, cost effective and efficient design solutions to maximise the reductions in energy/co2 emissions of the proposed development.

The energy/co2 emissions (Part L) calculations need to be carried out at an early stage and the results need to form part of the Energy Statement.

Opportunities for a sustainable design can be highlighted and targeted at an early stage, such as improving the façade thermal performances including the consideration of triple glazing, centralised energy centre, such as CHP/boiler option, targeting/specifying efficient HVAC, PV, Solar Hot Water panels etc.

Despite the efficient design approach, this still may not lead to a true zero carbon development, this could be due to technical issues or it is not cost effectively achievable.

The residual tonnes of co2 emissions remaining shall be offset by the fixed payment. However, this may be, in some cases, cheaper than investing further into implementing renewables technologies etc. into the design.

What energylab can do to help?

As experienced low carbon consultants, we can effectively liaise with the client, project managers, architects and cost consultants at an early stage to advise on workable and cost effective design solutions.

We have already carried out a successful Energy Statement assessment for a new residential development to demonstrate how the design has the potential to meet the zero carbon targets – so we know how difficult it is!

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