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What is an Energy Statement?

27 Apr 2023 at 1:15 PM

What is an Energy Statement?

If you are involved with any significant planning application, there is a good chance you will need to provide an energy statement.

Planning policies across the UK will often include sustainability targets. Developers and design teams must demonstrate how they will meet these with an energy statement. Energy Statements demonstrate how improved energy performance will be achieved. This is over and above that required by the building regulations.

Applicants must show consideration of fabric performance, renewable technologies and efficient and clean building services.

Energy Statements & The London Plan

We spend a lot of time writing energy statements and many of these are for London schemes. The London boroughs and corporations have set the bar very high through the adoption of the London Plan.

What is an Energy Statement?

The London Plan is the overall strategic plan for Greater London. It sets out a fully integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of the capital to 2031. You can find out more in our post here

The current version of the plan requires a significant reduction in CO2 emissions over and above the building regulations 2013, with major residential schemes achieving zero carbon.

Performance is measured and demonstrated by figures using familiar assessment methods like SAP Calculations or SBEM Calculations.

Schemes may also need to achieve minimum performance against the Home Quality Mark or BREEAM, depending on the proposed usage.

Energy Statements are not just a London thing

The recent introduction of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) has had wide ranging effects. Local authorities are now obligated to encourage development, if sustainable.

They are also free to set their own measures. Generally councils will set an extra CO2 reduction target of somewhere between 10-40%, and possibly require other standards to be met, like BREEAM.

Some authorities will set other objectives in addition to energy performance. For instance Bristol City Council requires all planning applications to include water reporting within a broader sustainability statement. Applicants must demonstrate how any surface water or flood risks are being mitigated.

Water Neutrality Statements are now required for some authorities facing serious water stress, like Horsham District Council. These also need to be included within the planning submission.

Energy Statements – What You NeedWhat is an Energy Statement?

If you are required to produce an Energy Statement, this will need to be submitted with your planning application. This should sit alongside your Design and Access Statement and other usual documents. Typically we would look to include:

  • Main content of Sustainability / Energy Statement
  • BREEAM Pre-Assessments if required
  • Part L calculations as evidence (SAP or SBEM)
  • Whole Life Carbon Assessment if required (London referable schemes)

Developers and design teams are used to providing SAP Calculations for residential schemes to show building regs compliance. When writing an energy statement your consultant will be using SAP software to model the proposed buildings and demonstrate not only that baseline performance, but also how an improvement will be made.

If the scheme is in London, we will need to demonstrate how the design achieves net zero carbon emissions onsite, and / or the payment of carbon offset fees.

The energy performance will also inform the number of energy credits achieved under any BREEAM Assessment.

The London PlanFeasibility Study

The Energy Statement will need to outline in detail the proposed energy strategy including fabric performance, energy efficiency measures and how energy will be supplied via clean building services.

Importantly the statement must provide a full feasibility study of any proposed renewable technologies and how the scheme might make use of existing heat and power networks, or provide new hubs for future networks.

Start Early

As with any development, we can only repeat our usual mantra – “start early”. We are often drafted in at the last moment (usually a few days before a deadline!) to produce an energy strategy. This is a recipe for a bad experience on all sides.

Energy Statement

Get advice from your council early in the design stage – most planning officers will happily sit down at a pre-app meeting and then produce a letter detailing their requirements, outlining what you should be delivering with your planning application.

Even if you do not have pre application advice, any good assessor or consultant will be able to explore your local planning requirements and find out exactly what they need, ideally prior to pricing the work.

We would recommend reading our London Plan guidance for more detail on the implications for carbon payments on London schemes.

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