Target: Zero Energy / by David Mather

Back in March I read this article in the CIBSE Journal: The Road to Net Zero Emissions. After contacting the author I was pleasantly surprised by the scale of the response they had received. With my engineer hat, my CIBSE hat and even ‘my own hat’, I felt that this was an excellent opportunity for the industry to come together and discuss how London specific energy policy drives the design on many of our projects.

Engineers often feel that compliance with the energy targets in the London Plan, with their focus on carbon emissions and not energy consumption, have not always resulted in the greenest solution for every project. Take the carbon emissions factors for example, these remain static in the building regulations, however they are changing all the time as the national grid is de-carbonising due to increasing renewable installations, such as this 300MW off-shore wind farm which opened in 2010, and vast increases in PV systems connected to the grid.

In May an event to gather the interested parties was held at The Building Centre near Tottenham Court Road. The half day event was very successful. I couldn’t attend the event, but my colleague was able to attend and contribute to the discussions. The event a great number of ideas were formed and recorded.

Fast forward to 3rd July 2017 and a report: “Getting to Zero” has been launched at a well-attended event in central London. The report pulls together the main ideas from the event in May and sets out key actions moving forward. The main result is the formation of a group: the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI). This group aims to develop and communicate policy suggestions to move London from  a "Low Carbon" to "Zero Energy" energy strategy. There are four working groups to determine these recommendations. To get more information about LETI and to read the report please click here, or on the button below.

A quick snap for the launch event on 3/7/17

The launch event itself was very well attended with around a hundred people, representing an impressive cross-section of our Building Services Engineering industry: there were engineers focused on design, sustainability, policy, energy modelling and even clients such as developers and owner operators there. It should also be noted that the event attracted an audience which was very diverse, there was a good mixture of genders and ages – all with a common motive to reduce our energy use and impact on the environment by doing the best job we can do.

The event included short presentations from Clara Bagenal George and Ben Galuza of Elementa and also from each of the leaders of the four working groups. There were a lot of interesting points made regarding the relationship between regulation and design, how these can be pulling in opposite directions and the issues that can result from a culture of compliance with regulations being seen as the only requirement and not a minimum requirement, a ‘safety net’ approach. Of course any compliance above a minimum standard is typically reliant on addition funds from clients on projects.

Helping clients engage with building performance is the proposed theme for the CIBSE YEN run session at CIBSE’s Build2Perform Live Conference, further details on the session have yet to be announced but you can sign up to attend the conference here: www.build2perform.co.uk.

I feel that this initiative is exactly what London needs to bring together those people who work in Building Services Engineering to meet their clients needs whilst minimising the impact on the planet too.