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Sustainability: Key Elements for Planning Success

Sustainability is rapidly shaping the landscape of planning applications. For new projects seeking planning permission, sustainability is strongly linked to the success of the application.

Below we explore 7 common pitfalls in planning submissions, alongside 7 opportunities for a successful and sustainable outcome!

Risk areas to watch for planning submissions

1. Higher building standards

Updates to Part L, including the upcoming Future Homes Standard, demand higher and higher energy efficiency standards, challenging design approaches like glazing ratios. Electric vehicle charge regulations (Part S) are also surpassing local planning authorities' previous requirements.

2. New energy reporting requirements

Planning applications are more frequently required to provide additional information such as operational energy modelling together with reporting against Energy Use Intensity (EUI) benchmarks. Another example is the modelling of the cost of energy for occupants which includes fuel costs and others aspects such as overheads, maintenance and the cost of equipment replacement.

Tips for successful planning applications

3. Greater overheating standards

The new Part O raises the bar on overheating standards compared to the previous TM59 standards and brings in new aspects such as acoustic limits and window security that all need to be resolved before submission.

4. Whole Life Carbon and Circular Economy

Some local authorities now require Whole Life Carbon modelling and Circular Economy statements, requiring specific design team workshops and surveys such as pre-demolition and pre-redevelopment site audits.

5. Industry targets and Accreditations

Industry bodies, such as RIBA, UKGBC, BRE and LETI, are continuously evolving industry targets and accreditations, which are further shaping sustainability expectations

6. Evolving Net Zero standards

Net Zero is a moving target, as its definition continues to evolve, with more emphasis on zero carbon offsetting practices.

7. Utility connections, space planning and deliverability

Building services design is becoming more and more important at the preplanning stage in order to ensure the consented scheme is deliverable. Typical issues include ensuring adequate space planning, electrical utility connections and equipment acoustics.

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Opportunities for a successful planning application

There are also more and more opportunities to investigate and capture at the concept stage. Here are 7 aspects to consider during the preplanning design stage:

1. Improved performance through environmental design

Environmental design principles can help drive the development of the building form, the fenestration and its materiality in order to develop effective natural ventilation and daylight strategies as well as reduce carbon through passive heating and cooling.

2. Reduced CAPEX

Explore innovative and cost-efficient design solutions that reduce capital expenditure such as new electric heating systems which can also reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.

3. Minimise maintenance

Design for lower maintenance requirements, enhancing the project's long-term sustainability. Incorporating durable and low-maintenance materials, as well as sustainable building systems, can reduce ongoing operational costs and minimise disruptions.

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4. Lower energy bills and carbon through flexible energy use

Embrace flexible energy solutions such as smart building technologies, energy storage solutions, and renewable energy sources, resulting in reduced energy bills and a lower carbon footprint.

5. Zero energy bills working with energy suppliers

Collaborate with energy suppliers to explore opportunities to qualify for zero energy bills for building occupants.

6. Support health & wellbeing

Going beyond daylight, fresh air and minimising overheating to include important elements such as active design to encourage regular exercise, supporting circadian rhythm and vitamin D production through solar amenity as well as facilitating local food growing and supporting healthy social interactions and community.

7. Increase asset value

Leveraging a project's sustainable design aspects can add significant value in today’s market. Consumers and investors are increasingly concerned with sustainability making it a key differentiator that can attract potential buyers and drive demand.

At Integration, we are committed to maximizing sustainability and helping our clients achieve their environmental goals. Our CPD on "Successful planning applications & sustainability" explores these opportunities further. Reach out to us to learn how we can help elevate the sustainability impact of your next development!

Get in touch here.