In this blog, you’ll learn:

What is an Energy Statement for Planning?

Not to be confused with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), the Energy Statement plays a key role in the planning process, ensuring that new developments adhere to sustainable building practices and contribute to the reduction of the overall environmental impact. As regulations evolve to emphasise sustainability, the Energy Statement becomes an essential tool for architects, builders, and developers aiming to achieve planning permissions and align their projects with environmental goals.

An energy statement is a forward-looking document specific to the planning stage of a development. It details:

When planning a new construction project, be it a housing complex or a commercial venue, it’s often necessary to include an Energy Statement with the initial planning documents. These are submitted to the Local Planning Authority (LPA), such as the City of Bristol LPA. Known also as Energy Strategy Reports, these documents must outline the project’s approach to meeting local energy efficiency benchmarks which vary from one jurisdiction to another. Therefore it’s crucial to investigate the specific Carbon Emission Reduction Targets and Renewable Energy Goals established by your LPA.

Typically, LPAs will expect developments to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions or energy consumption by 10%, 15%, or 19% beyond what is mandated by the national Building Regulations. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is an exception, having introduced more stringent regulations in October 2016 that exceed these common thresholds.

Do I Need One?

If you’re involved in any of the following, you likely need an energy statement, yes:

Common Reasons for Needing an Energy Statement

To Secure Planning Permission

Energy Statements are often a prerequisite for obtaining planning permission from local authorities. They demonstrate how a proposed development will meet specific energy efficiency and sustainability criteria set by local planning policies, thereby increasing the likelihood of project approval.

To Demonstrate Regulatory Compliance

With stringent building regulations in place to reduce carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency, an Energy Statement serves as evidence that a project complies with national standards such as the Building Regulations Part L (Conservation of Fuel & Power) in the UK. It details how the development will meet or exceed these regulatory requirements.

To Achieve Sustainability Goals

For developers, architects, and planners aiming to create environmentally friendly and sustainable projects, Energy Statements provide a framework for integrating sustainable design principles from the outset. They outline strategies for reducing carbon footprints, utilising renewable energy sources, and minimising environmental impact, aligning the project with broader sustainability objectives.

To Qualify for Green Building Certifications

Energy Statements can play a crucial role in achieving certifications under green building standards such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). These certifications are increasingly sought after for their ability to enhance a building’s marketability, value, and appeal to environmentally conscious tenants or buyers.

To Enhance a Building’s Energy Efficiency 

An Energy Statement identifies opportunities to improve a building’s energy performance, from the design phase through to construction and operation. It offers a detailed analysis of energy use and recommends measures to increase efficiency, such as better insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, and the use of energy-efficient lighting, ultimately leading to lower operational costs and a reduced environmental impact.

What’s Included in an Energy Statement for Planning?

An Energy Statement typically encompasses a detailed analysis and proposals aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability within a project. 

The main content often includes:

  1. Energy Use Analysis: This section provides a baseline assessment of the projected energy consumption of the building or development. It involves calculating the anticipated demand for heating, cooling, lighting, and other operational energy uses based on the building’s design and intended use.
  2. Carbon Emissions: A crucial component of the statement, this part quantifies the expected carbon emissions associated with the building’s energy consumption. It often includes both direct emissions (from on-site energy generation) and indirect emissions (from off-site energy production sources).
  3. Renewable Energy Potential: An assessment of the site’s capacity for integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, or biomass heating systems, is provided. This includes a feasibility study considering the site’s geographical and environmental characteristics.
  4. Energy Efficiency Measures: This segment outlines specific strategies and technologies to reduce energy consumption and enhance the building’s overall energy performance. Recommendations might include high-efficiency HVAC systems, enhanced insulation, energy-efficient lighting, and smart building controls.
  5. Sustainability & Low-Carbon Technologies: Beyond conventional energy-saving measures, this part explores the potential application of innovative low-carbon technologies and sustainable building practices. This could encompass water recycling systems, green roofs, and the use of sustainable materials.
  6. Lifecycle Analysis: Some Energy Statements may also include a lifecycle carbon analysis, evaluating the environmental impact of the building from construction through to demolition, highlighting areas for potential reduction in carbon footprint over the building’s lifespan.

Each section is supported by technical data, calculations, and rationale to provide a comprehensive overview of the project’s energy profile and its strategies for minimising environmental impact while complying with local and national regulations.

Considerations When Preparing an Energy Statement for Planning

Producing an Energy Statement involves a complex interplay of technical analysis, regulatory knowledge, and strategic planning. This is why it is highly recommended to use experienced professionals – especially considering its importance in planning. Here are some of the benefits of an experienced professional:

1) Data Collection & Accuracy

One of the primary hurdles of preparing an energy statement is gathering accurate and comprehensive data on the proposed development’s design, materials, and operational characteristics. This data forms the foundation for all subsequent analyses and recommendations. However, obtaining precise information in the early stages of design can be challenging, especially for innovative or unconventional projects.

2) Alignment with Local Regulations

An energy statement for planning must not only comply with national Building Regulations but also align with the specific energy and carbon reduction targets set by local planning authorities. These local targets can vary significantly, adding a layer of complexity to the preparation of an Energy Statement.

3) Balancing Cost vs. Performance

Striking an optimal balance between the upfront costs of energy efficiency measures and long-term savings or benefits can be challenging, particularly in a competitive market environment where initial costs are a significant consideration.

What’s Next?

An energy statement is a vital tool for achieving planning permission and constructing sustainable buildings. By incorporating energy efficiency measures from the start, you can create a project that benefits both the environment and your bottom line.

Our team are on hand to help you navigate the process – we offer a free consultation to discuss your projects specific needs and guide you through the energy statement for planning process. Contact us today to take the first step towards a sustainable and planning-approved building.

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