The latest IPCC report (Oct18) makes it clear that it is now urgent that we reduce carbon emissions, stating that we have 12 years to stop climate change. LETI, along with World GBC, Architecture 2030 and others believe that all new buildings need to achieve net zero in operation by 2030. At first glance this might feel like a long way off. However, when you take into consideration that projects are often completed and occupied up to 5 years after they are designed, this brings that target closer. By 2025 100% of the buildings that we design need to be able to achieve net zero in operation. As an industry we need to be certain that we can deliver this, not just for pioneer projects, but for all projects.
Currently the industry is not even sure how to define zero carbon and what this means for our projects. Should the target depend on location, height, building typologies? Does it include embodied carbon or unregulated loads? Although leaps and bounds are being made in the data disclosure movement, industry still does not make the connection between performance in use, and what is deemed to be a sustainable building design. In order to understand how far we have to go, we need to get to grips with how our buildings are performing.
LETI believes that by 2020 we need to have a developed a definition for what we mean by ‘operating at net zero’, with defined measurable targets and a design approach. This will give 5 years to sense check, refine and validate the approach as well as time for market uptake - so that we can be sure that by 2025 all the buildings that we design operate at net zero. To that end LETI aims to develop a comprehensive roadmap during 2019. This will aim to set out the approach, targets and benchmarks that developments in the UK need to achieve to reach Net Zero in operation. This means that by 2020 the developers, consultants and policy officers in London (and the UK) will have a reference point as to what defines what their developments should achieve to ensure our climate change targets are met.
In order to avert disastrous irreversible climate change, we only have 1 year to develop our first pass at a technical guidance roadmap for achieving operational net zero buildings. This is by no means a small task and we will need the continued support of the industry both in London and the UK to be able to achieve this. The roadmap therefore includes six LETI working groups focusing on the specific areas. In order for this roadmap to be robust we need as many people from industry to get involved in LETI.
Net Zero Carbon: Feeding into the UKGBC-led work on a definition for Net Zero Carbon, while collaborating with the GLA on a policy roadmap to achieve Net Zero Carbon new buildings by 2030 and existing buildings by 2050 – LETI will develop tools to make Net Zero Carbon more tangible, coherent and achievable for the industry. We will confront issues such as cost and feasibility. Setting out what Net Zero Carbon buildings could look like by working up examples for typical London typologies. Developing a technical tool for designing and delivering Net Zero Carbon buildings, using the LETI declaration as a starting point.
Embodied Carbon and Whole Life Carbon: Working with UK and international bodies such as UK Green Building Council, World Green Building Council /WGBC, World business council for sustainable development, Climate KIC and CIFF to provide guidance relevant to planners and built environment professionals on conducting embodied carbon assessments. Including where to source data on embodied carbon in materials and building services and where to draw the boundaries of an embodied or lifecycle carbon assessment. Raising awareness of embodied carbon among politicians, the GLA, building professionals and building occupiers and owners.
Calculation Methodologies - Building Regulations - Part L: Developing recommendations on the role of energy modelling in the design process, both for compliance and performance modelling. The group will put together detailed recommendations for the energy assessment methodology for Part L of the Building Regulations and explore questions such as how effective is an approach based on the notional building? Should we replace it with simpler targets per building type (as in Passivhaus), or a more comprehensive set of elemental limits for fabric and systems? or have several routes available to project teams, depending on the scale and complexity of the project?
Be Seen- Data Disclosure: Providing recommendations on the in-use energy and contextual data that should be reported, providing advice on the practicalities of setting up metering, monitoring and reporting systems and demonstrating some of the uses of the data and the opportunities it brings.
The Future of Heating: Developing clear guidance for industry on this area of rapid change. The UK electricity grid is becoming increasingly clean due to renewable uptake, however due to fluctuation in carbon factors between high and low demand periods create challenges in developing low carbon and low-cost heating and hot water systems. This group will explore; if there should there be a refocus on reducing heat demand instead of supply efficiency, how close are we to good enough building fabric for individual or clusters of buildings to run on their internally generated heat gains.
Demand Response and Energy Storage (DRES): Establishing how being flexible about ‘when’ building and occupants use energy can reduce carbon emissions. The focus will be developing guidance on how DRES can reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, how local authorities can assess whether a building has been designed to maximise energy-use flexibility, how DRES in a development could reduce or delay the need for grid upgrades (which have a carbon cost) and impact the wider national electrical infrastructure so more renewables can be included on the network reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
LETI Declaration: In order to meet the LETI goals, it is crucial that industry leads by example and builds upon the changes in the draft London Plan to be able to deliver operational net zero carbon buildings. LETI has developed the LETI Declaration tool to help us achieve this, with a strong focus on nudging design teams to think about how their design proposals would perform in operation. The focus is now to refine, develop and test the LETI Declaration to disclose energy data at design stage and compare this with measured in-use performance data, by developing functionality to link to post-occupancy monitoring data.