The latest version of The London Plan was published in March this year by the Greater London Authority. Among the various updates designed to shape the way the capital evolves, and improve life for both Londoners and visitors, were some key changes to energy efficiency requirements. 

The main changes to note relate to Policy SI 2 on minimising greenhouse emissions, which states that “major development should be net zero-carbon.” These new, more stringent rules require a more rigorous and well-evidenced approach to energy efficiency requirements – which means that a major development’s energy strategy needs to be given fuller consideration earlier in the planning process.

Energy efficiency requirements

Energy efficiency needs to be built into the scheme design right from the start, in order to meet these more exacting energy efficiency requirements. A minimum on-site reduction of at least 35% beyond Building Regulations is required for major developments, with residential developments achieving a 10% reduction on Building Regulations, and non-residential development achieving a 15% reduction, through energy efficiency measures alone – these are the sort of figures that can’t be achieved with measures that are a bolt-on afterthought.

It is also expected that developments maximise the on-site savings wherever possible. This is also key in terms of controlling scheme costs, as now all shortfalls to the zero-carbon target incur a cash-in-lieu contribution to the borough’s carbon offset fund, whereas previously this was only a requirement for residential developments. These offset payments can result in large bills racking up, so it makes budgetary sense to reduce this financial burden with appropriate design input at an early stage.

More carbon emission calculations

Another addition to the new London Plan – which increases the importance of an early, deeper assessment of a development’s energy efficiency measures – is that major development proposals are now required to calculate and minimise carbon emissions from any part of the development, including plant or equipment, not just those that are covered by Building Regulations. This, obviously, adds an extra administrative and design burden to large schemes.

Combine these amendments with the requirement for overheating assessments, and potentially Whole Life-Cycle Carbon Assessments for schemes referable to the Mayor, the production of detailed energy strategies is now even more complicated than ever. Early expert input is best. To find out more about how we can help you navigate the latest energy efficiency requirements within the Greater London area, while keeping control of costs, call us on 01206 266755 or email