What Makes a Credible Energy Assessment?
An Energy Assessment sets out the whole energy strategy of a proposed development. It also specifies aspects like U-values, airtightness, and quantifies the carbon emission performance relative to a Building Regulations benchmark.
Typically, it is a requirement for a valid planning submission. However, as such, it is often seen as a tick in the box and therefore can receive less attention than it deserves.
And there are lots of small, non-engineering outfits available that can knock out these reports at a low cost.
But the Energy Assessment is an important document. Here’s 5 reasons why:
It Sets the Energy Strategy for the Entire Development
There are many options for energy supply and use and the Energy Assessment report sets the course for the resulting energy performance of the whole development.
A poorly conceived strategy ultimately means a poorly performing project. With energy monitoring and energy performance rising up the agenda, this a critical exercise to get right.
It Can be a Big Selling Opportunity for a Development
A good strategy can help a project secure planning permission. And a good Energy Assessment and Sustainability Statement report can help highlight and promote the positive aspects of a development and innovation.
For example, images can be created to help convey the whole strategy to the planners.
A Well Conceived Strategy Can Lead to Costs Savings
Demonstrating that a development meets the required CO2 emissions benchmark means entering a lot of data and ticking lots of boxes (SAP or SBEM).
But some options are more expensive than others in terms of raw capital costs, physical space requirements and the cost of upgrades required elsewhere to allow the strategy to work.
Some elements also contribute more than others. So it is important to examine the data for each project and choose wisely.
Creating Strategies That Work
We have remedied many poorly conceived energy strategies prepared by others as part of the planning process. It is usually because there are better ways to achieve the same or improved performance.
Sometimes it is simply that the strategy doesn’t work from an engineering point of view or that space or utility constraints weren’t considered.
All this means having to redo the Energy Assessment Report and going back to the planning authorities. This adds unnecessary time and cost.
Identifying and Capturing Value
There are subsidies and incentives available for a low carbon renewable energy option. These can provide saving on capital costs, energy bill savings and additional income streams.
Demand Side Response (DSR) can also provide a building with a substantial income. It’s also worth noting that research has shown that that green buildings are worth more.
A discounted cashflow (DCF) can accurately show the profitability of various low carbon and renewable energy options.
Here are five signs there is room for improvement in the way you deal with energy assessments:
- The report is prepared by a non-engineer or a junior
- There is no meeting about the energy strategy
- There is no “optioneering”
- There is no checking of the final strategy
- Costing or a cost consultant isn’t part of the exercise
The humble Energy Assessment deserves a little more TLC and it’s good to see that that The London Plan 2019 gives the Energy Assessment a big boost.
We try to give our Energy Strategy Reports a lot of attention and they are director-led in every case.