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THE MAYOR WILL EXPECT APPLICATIONS TO GENERATE AT LEAST 10 PER CENT OF THE SITE'S ENERGY NEEDS

TECHNICAL & PRACTICE / PART L

In London, the mayor, Ken Livingstone, has recently introduced new policy requirements for energy efficiency and renewable energy technology to be integrated into major London developments. The criteria are: to use less energy; to use renewable energy; and to supply energy efficiently 'The mayor will expect applications referable to him to generate at least 10 per cent of the site's energy needs (power and heat) from renewable energy on the site where feasible. Boroughs should develop appropriate planning policies to reflect this strategic policy.' (The mayor's energy strategy [proposal 13]. ) Whereas some building-integrated renewables, such as ground-sourced heating and cooling, can be safely left to the engineer, others, such as photovoltaic facades, rooftop solar-water heating and wind turbines, will impact on the architectural design and there may also be additional space requirements. A key issue is the potential delay in receiving planning permission and some boroughs are currently turning down applications where an adequate energy strategy has not been included.

Livingstone is in the lead but other planning authorities are not far behind, stimulated by the publication of PPS 22 (Planning Policy Statement 22 - Renewable Energy) which puts an obligation on all planning authorities to 'encourage [small-scale renewable energy] schemes through positively expressed policies in local development documents'.

Thus London is the testing and training ground for integrating renewables with energy efficiency in buildings, and architects, engineers and planners need to be brought up to speed.

As well as higher energy standards, renewable energy sources are likely to enter the new Building Regulations Part L in 2006, following the requirements of the European Union's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which requires options for renewable sources to be assessed in major developments.

Integrated renewables will contribute to achieving the new energy targets in Part L.

Energy-efficient buildings with renewable energy sources will have reduced fuel bills. Buildings with 'sustainable' credentials are becoming a requirement for corporate environmental reporting and the forthcoming Code for Sustainable Buildings being developed by the ODPM will focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy as essential components of sustainability.

The building industry should not feel it is being victimised.

Energy suppliers must achieve energy saving targets in domestic properties under the Energy Efficiency Commitment and must source an increasing proportion of the electricity that they sell from defined renewable sources under the Renewables Obligation.

The most commonly used renewable source in buildings is solar hot water, particularly in individual houses. Rooftop solar collectors can supply about 50 per cent of annual hot water demand (depending on how the system is used). The government has subsidised the installation of photovoltaic systems, which can supply electricity for building use or for export to the grid. Ground water can be used with heat pumps for space heating and also to provide cooling either directly or via a chiller in comfort-controlled buildings. Biomass boilers and stoves is another growth area.

Traditional wind generators are large, stand-alone systems but, increasingly, small building-mounted generators are coming onto the market applicable to individual houses, blocks of flats and non-domestic buildings.

Biofuels, such as diesel from rape seed oil and wood gasification, will in the future fuel renewable CHP systems, and hydrogen from offshore wind. Other sources may also come on stream but for now, the challenge is incorporating the proven renewable technologies in modern buildings so that they make a positive and reliable contribution to both the building and the environment.

Under these provisions, architects need to:

? understand energy-efficient and renewable-energy technology;

? explore their design options, and how they work in situ;

? consider the feasibility options early on in each project to achieve good design and avoid delays in planning approval;

? understand what the planners want; and - make sure that engineers can design in renewables successfully.

To provide technical information and to guide designers through the process of assessment and choice of renewables, Integrating renewable energy into new developments: Toolkit for planners, developers and consultants 1 was produced by London Renewables (now a part of the London Energy Partnership) and Faber Maunsell Sustainable Development Group. It contains explanations, benchmarks, calculation methods and typical scenarios.

But even if architects and engineers have a general understanding of energy efficiency, combined heat and power, community heating and the requirements and the impacts of renewable sources on and adjacent to buildings, do planners?

Will developers be asked to provide combined heat and power and community heating in unsuitable applications, or make a 10 per cent renewables contribution using unreasonable and untried sources? To help planners (in this instance, in London) to understand energy efficiency, CHP and other renewables in applications, 'Capacity Building on Sustainable Energy Planning Policy', a project funded by the DTI and the mayor, includes feedback on a new tool being developed to simplify communication on energy strategies and provide hands-on support as planners negotiate with architects, engineers and developers.

By meeting jointly with the planners and the developers, energy efficiency and renewable resources can be incorporated in planning applications which satisfy both parties, and which secure the most energy-efficient design and at least a 10 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.

The results will be presented for discussion at a seminar on 22 November. For more details email ben. smith@fabermaunsell. com Simon Burton is an associate director of Faber Maunsell's Sustainable Development Group

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