Energy Assessment Guidance from the GLA

The benchmark guidance document on the format and contents of planning application energy assessments has been updated by the Greater London Authority (GLA). The March 2016 Energy Planning Guidance has been replaced by the Energy Assessment Guidance, October 2018, however the purpose of the document has not changed. It explains how to prepare energy assessments in accordance with the requirements of London Plan Policy 5.2 to accompany a strategic planning application.

All developments must still show how they have met the need to be ‘lean’, ‘clean’ and ‘green’, however there is greater emphasis on how compliance is demonstrated.

Use of the guidance is not limited to GLA referable planning applications. The format and content may be amended to suit any specific Borough Council requirements and used as the basis for energy assessments for planning authorities across the country.

A summary of the new guidance is given below.

  • Use of the revised SAP 10 carbon emissions factors is required from January 2019, although not currently incorporated into Part L of the Building Regulations. Applicable to both domestic and commercial developments, the revised factors reflect the decarbonisation of the grid, and their impact will be significant, reducing the carbon emissions from onsite electricity generating technologies such as solar PV; thus a larger quantity of PV will be required to meet a given carbon emission reduction.
  • In the change of use of an existing building, the base line carbon emissions will be established by modelling the building in its proposed format.
  • The ‘be lean’ guidance now refers to the draft London Plan targets for developments to achieve a minimum percentage reduction from passive and energy efficiency measures beyond the Building Regulations requirements, with10% improvement for domestic and 15% for other development types.
  • The total energy demand of the regulated energy, such as space heating, lighting, hot water etc, must be stated in the assessment.
  • The need to undertake dynamic overheating modelling has been confirmed for all developments. If active cooling is proposed, plant details such as type and efficiency must be included in the submission.
  • The emphasis on the heating infrastructure to ‘be clean’ has been changed away from the presumption that a CHP will be provided, but the need to provide site wide heat networks and the ability to connect to local district heat works remain. The site wide heat network energy centre may include suitable low carbon and/or renewable heating plant.  The phasing of a project and the emerging future regulations need to be considered along with emissions from the proposed heating plant and the impact on the surrounding air quality.
  • The need for renewable energy to ‘be green’ and the monitoring requirements are broadly similar to the existing guidance.
  • The need to minimise the NOx and PM10 emissions from heating plant is emphasised by the inclusion of Appendix 6.