London commits to achieving Zero Carbon

London demonstrates commitment to Zero Carbon standard

  • 14 Sep 2016

The Zero Carbon standard, as outlined in the London Plan, is due to come into effect for all new residential developments in the city on 1st October 2016. Beverley Rosso, Senior Sustainability Consultant at Stroma Tech, finds out more

Whilst figures from the Office of National Statistics are beginning to show Brexit’s impact on Britain’s economy and employment levels, its effect on the country’s energy performance policy is yet to be seen.

Despite uncertainty, Zero Carbon incentives are urging the UK towards an improved standard of energy efficiency. The Climate Change Act of 2008, which stipulates that the UK’s net carbon amount for 2050 must be at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, is likely to remain unchanged.

London’s Zero Carbon commitments

Over the last ten years, various auditing and incentivised savings schemes have been introduced to encourage energy savings. Building Regulations Approved Document Part L has undergone a number of changes to ensure the reduction of CO2 emissions in Britain’s built environment. These developments have contributed towards the overarching 2050 goal.

Since 2010, London building developments have strived to reach ambitious CO2 targets. From 1st October this year, all major new-build residential developments must achieve ‘zero carbon’; the same will be expected of non-residential builds in 2019. Until then, they must achieve a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) defines the required zero carbon standard to achieving at least a 35% reduction in CO2 emissions below the 2013 Part L compliant baseline.

Residual regulated CO2 emissions to 100% are to then be off-set via a cash-in-lieu payment to the relevant Borough in order for them to secure delivery of CO2 savings elsewhere.

Carbon offset payments

The carbon offset payment is made to the Borough during the development and calculated from the quantity of CO2 (regulated tonnes) for a 30-year period.

The Housing SPG refers to an indicative rate of £60 per tonne for 30 years, payable to each Borough. Each London Borough is tasked with reviewing this figure and establishing their spending infrastructure. Based on research by individual councils, the rate currently varies from £46 per tonne to £104 per tonne: early investigations are critical to ensure an accurate cost estimate is known while developing the energy strategy.

The expectation remains that energy strategies will be developed in accordance with the established energy hierarchy: ‘be lean, be clean, be green.’ Fabric standards should be maximised, while ensuring necessary overheating mitigation measures and adequate daylighting levels are upheld.

Renewable technologies and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units should be used, but only when appropriate.

Any carbon savings associated with the offset fund should be spent on energy and retrofitting projects within the respective Borough, while being mindful of any conflict with the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulations.

The Borough must spend the funds on something that provides added value; a measure that would be unlikely to be funded through other means. These offsetting measures will be secured through S106 agreements and potentially pooled to provide quantifiable energy efficiency measures on a greater scale.

If limitations prevent certain developments from achieving on-site CO2 targets, all feasible measures must be incorporated; consultation with the Borough will be required when a shortfall is shown to exist.


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