how to meet London Plan requirements with One Click LCA
Large-scale construction in London is about to undergo a whole-life-carbon revolution, as the new London Plan mandates Whole Life Carbon Assessments and Circular Economy Statements in a bid to meet net zero carbon commitments. For architects, designers and developers, this will mean a new way of approaching referable planning applications. Find out what the new London Plan means for you and how One Click LCA can help you meet its requirements.
The London Plan
With a vision of creating a net zero carbon city by 2050, the London Plan is the Spatial Development Strategy for the Greater London region, comprising the City of London and the 32 London boroughs. It’s written by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and published by the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Chapter 9 of the plan covers Sustainable Infrastructure (SI) with policies SI2 and SI7 being the key ones pertaining to planning process for major developments.
- Policy SI2: Minimising greenhouse gas emissions
This policy requires all ‘referable applications’ – any residential development of more than 150 units or commercial or more than 1,000m2 – to calculate the Whole Life Carbon (WLC) emissions of the project and demonstrate actions taken to reduce it.
- Policy SI7: Reducing Waste and supporting the Circular Economy
The new London Plan supports development proposals that apply circular economy principles and aim to be net zero-waste and requires a Circular Economy Statement to be submitted.
Policy SI2: Minimising greenhouse gas emissions
What is required?
The GLA defines WLC as including operational carbon (heating, lighting and appliances), as well as embodied carbon from manufacture, maintenance and end-of-life.
The GLA guidance on WLC assessments follows EN 15978 (the European standard for measuring building performance) and the 2017 RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Professional Statement: Whole life carbon assessment for the built environment (which has also been adopted by RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects).
It requires the WLC Assessment to be done in three stages:
- Pre-application: at this stage no LCA is needed, just a broad outline of the expected emissions.
- Planning submission: this is the most critical stage, as it can affect whether or not planning is approved. A WLC assessment is needed for each life cycle. Applicants also need to provide two WLC scenarios: one with current energy needs and one based on future energy predictions.
- Post-construction: this needs to be submitted within three months of project completion using actual as-built data.
How can One Click LCA help?
- Pre-application: provide early-stage options with One Click LCA Carbon Designer.
- Planning submission: One Click LCA Building LCA for the UK is based on the RICS guidance, so you can be confident that your LCA will comply with their standards. In addition, we will shortly release a GLA tool that will correspond closely to the GLA Excel spreadsheet, making it much easier to complete. We offer a Future Energy Scenarios (FES) database too, enabling you to provide both sets of emissions data, current and predicted. The FES calculation is currently somewhat simplified and doesn’t account for annual decarbonization. A complete implementation of the calculation method is expected to take place in 2021.One Click LCA’s eco-design capabilities help designers to see where measures such as using alternative materials (for example with improved insulation) can lower embodied carbon.
- Post-construction: With One Click LCA, assessment is easily done by using as-built data in the form of BIM, drawings, and real quantity data.
Policy SI7: Reducing Waste and supporting the Circular Economy
The GLA has recognised that half the waste material in London arises from the built environment. Policy SI 7 aims to move away from a linear construction process – where materials are extracted, used and then thrown away at end-of-life – to a more circular one – where materials are retained in use at their highest value for as long as possible and are then reused or recycled, leaving a minimum of residual waste.
What is required?
- Conserving resources, increasing resource efficiency and sourcing sustainably
- Designing to eliminate waste (and for ease of maintenance)
- Managing waste sustainably and at the highest value
How can One Click LCA help?
It offers mass-based assessment of building materials and helps you to calculate the amount of reused and recycled materials and determine end of life processes and the benefits to designing for adaptability and disassembly.
Bonus reason for choosing One Click LCA
One Click LCA has the GLA seal of approval: The GLA guidance requires that assessments should be carried out using a nationally recognised assessment methodology and One Click LCA is proud to be one of the tools approved by GLA. One Click LCA can support you on all stages of the submission from pre-application stage to post-construction.
In order to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees in line with the Paris Agreement, architects and designers need to look beyond operational energy and also address embodied carbon. Both the RICS Professional Statement and the London Plan put this at the heart of carbon reduction efforts and making the shift to a whole life carbon approach is easier with One Click LCA.