Case study: evidence base for council’s Sustainable Construction Policy

The Blewburton Partnership has completed a substantial piece of consultancy work for Wycombe District Council, providing an evidence base to inform the development of its planning policy aimed at encouraging sustainable construction and the deployment of renewable and low carbon technologies.The study involved testing a policy regime requiring a contribution to energy demand that comes from on-site renewable and low carbon technologies for case studies based on actual developments, which were provided by the council. The case studies were a mix of residential and commercial developments spread around the district. In each case a contribution of 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% was tested and BBP identified whether it was practicably feasible to deliver the various requirement thresholds, which technologies were appropriate and which would be the most viable from the developer’s perspective.

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Many local authorities have a policy that requires a percentage reduction in carbonto be achieved through the use of renewable and low carbon technologies rather than a percentage contribution to meeting energy demand. Wycombe District Council was keen to understand the implications of replacing its energy based policy with one expressed in terms of carbon.

In order to address this, BBP used the case studies to investigate the impact of the Council amending its policy to one based on carbon savings. The study found that a policy expressed in terms of carbon is more consistent with other national and regional policies, and regulatory instruments currently in place; and for those planned for the future, such as changes to the Code for Sustainable Homes and Part L of the Building Regulations. However, the higher percentage carbon reduction requirements were felt to be more difficult to achieve for developers than the higher percentage contribution to energy demand.

BBP also examined the potential for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) to contribute to improving the energy efficiency of a number of selected major developments in the area, and investigated how CHP might help developers to achieve the required ratings in the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The Blewburton Partnership has undertaken a number of studies of this nature and fully understands the complexities and issues involved. Should your organisation require this type of service, please contact us on 01491 825337 or info@blewburtonpartners.com.

Posted in Case studies