London speeds its drive to low carbon buildings

An updated version of the draft London Plan was published and it includes a number of significant elements that will drive the city to drastically lower carbon emissions caused by buildings.

The updated draft highlights a number of key changes and additions to the previous draft and the current London Plan. Some of the most significant proposed changes point to a renewed effort to move quickly to zerocarbon buildings in London, and to remove all greenhouse gas emissions arising from the built environment.

For many engineers, one of the most important points being added to the new draft is a clear statement that the Mayor recognises that Building Regulations use ‘outdated carbon emission factors’ which are causing uncertainty (Section 9.2.5A). This is a point raised by a number of consulting engineers, and represents a significant change for anyone working on new buildings in London in the next few years. Guidance on the use of appropriate emissions factors will be set out in the Mayor’s Energy Planning Guidance.

Another proposal is the development of the energy hierarchy (Policy S12 A). Most MBS readers will now be familiar with the ‘Be lean, be clean and be green’ steps of this hierarchy which encourages efficiency and use of renewables. The new draft plan now adds ‘Be seen.’ This additional step focuses on the requirement to ‘monitor, verify and report on energy performance.”

In addition, the draft plan also includes a requirement to calculate and show ‘unregulated emissions’ (S12, DA). These include plant or equipment that is not covered by Building Regulations. The new draft plan also requires that development proposals that are referred to the Mayor should show ‘whole life cycle carbon emissions through a nationally-recognised Whole Life-Cycle Carbon Assessment and demonstrate actions taken to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions.”

A number of the changes proposed in the draft London Plan have been raised by the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI). This group of built environment professionals have been using their collective expertise to offer suggestions and proposals on the Plan, and a significant number have been adopted. The Draft London Plan is currently in the Examination in Public stage, with the Mayor expected to answer some questions raised by the examining committee by early September 2018.

MBStv recently interviewed engineers from LETI about how the group has worked together.  Also see our News Analysis 

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