“no energy bills for inhabitants of ‘world’s most sustainable residential tower'”

10 November 2016: Article reproduced below from the Evening Standard’s property section about a proposed new development, just outside of London, designed to deliver ‘no energy bills for inhabitants‘. London’s new planning rules for zero carbon homes, introduced on 1 October 2016, could provide the framework to deliver similar such developments in the capital.

The Beacon in Hemel Hempstead:no energy bills for inhabitants of ‘world’s most sustainable residential tower’

Zero-emission development uses solar panels and heat exchangers to provide free heating and hot water for life…

A revolutionary residential tower being built in Hemel Hempstead offers sustainable and affordable luxury living – without any energy bills.

Prices range from £218,000 for a starter home to £1 million for a penthouse in the 17-storey tower, which will have 272 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom balconied apartments and penthouses.

Touted as the “world’s most sustainable development” by Lumiere Developments, the eco-credentials of tower, which is due to be completed in 2018, are not only impressive but promise to offer buyers free energy for life.

Electricity will be generated by embedded solar panels at each floor level, making it the highest density solar farm in the world; hot water will be provided by ground source heat pumps and rainwater will be harvested for toilet flushing as well as irrigation of the UK’s tallest indoor arboretum, which will keep the internal air fresh.

The apartments are triple- or quadruple-glazed and hot water is provided by ground source heat pumps which extract heat from the basement of the building, while air source heat pumps extract heat from the atrium.

“Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do,” says Ambi Singh, commercial director of Lumiere Developments. “It’s not about climate change alone – it’s about human life. I don’t have to be a tree hugger, I don’t have to make the choice between luxury and sustainability.”

There will be an internal arboretum, café, bar, club lounge and cinema room, plus a gym for which membership is included within the annual management fee.

There’ll also be a communal roof sky garden, as well as electric car and electric bike hire schemes for residents.

The tower will be bordered by 400 acres of green belt land, and Hemel Hampstead station, with direct links to Euston within 24 minutes, is within walking distance .

Further information on the development’s sustainability plans are set out at thebeacondevelopment.co.uk

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TfL carbon fine

November 2016: The Environment Agency has released data of (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme civil penalties  – a list of organisations which have failed to comply with the Carbon Reduction Commitment and have subsequently been fined – where, interestingly TfL have been fined the maximum amount:

A TfL Audit and Assurance Committee paper from June 2015 reported that the CRC “scheme requires participants to measure and report on their energy consumption and to buy allowances from the Environment Agency for the amount of CO2 emissions associated with their energy consumption. London Underground had submitted the appropriate report by the July 2014 deadline but, by administrative oversight, had not taken the further step of ordering and purchasing the requisite allowances. London Underground remedied the matter and complied with the notice within the timescales required. To avoid a recurrence, London Underground’s administrative procedures have been reviewed and improved.

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A Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London

November 2016: The London Assembly Environment Committee will be holding an oral evidence session later this week – Thursday 10 November – on home energy efficiency progress in London, and the challenges faced by Londoners living in homes suffering from fuel poverty. An outline paper prepared for the Committee is available here – and the 10am session will be webcast on the following link. Evidence will be provided by National Energy Action, Friends of the Earth and the Energy Saving Trust.

The Mayor last month committed to preparing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London (see page 29 of following transcript of 19 October 2016 Question Time session):

2016/3848 – The Cold Homes Crisis 

Leonie Cooper AM In London there are as many as 348,000 fuel poor homes. There is also a clear pattern of increasing depth of fuel poverty in older households. Given these terrible statistics, what action will you take to protect pensioners this winter?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Thank you for taking this question, Dr Sahota. I am hugely concerned about the levels of fuel poverty in London and its increasing depth amongst older households, which is a national trend and is extremely worrying. I am committed to taking much more of a leadership role. I will look at ways to better target fuel poverty measures in London and produce a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for the capital.

My new Energy for Londoners programme will tackle fuel poverty on a number of fronts. I intend to set up a not-for-profit energy company to ensure fair and affordable bills for Londoners targeting those people who are currently paying above the odds for their energy bills. This includes households with prepay meters and those who have not switched energy supplier in the last couple of years. I will also reinvigorate and develop new homes, energy efficiency programmes and initiatives to both save carbon and cut bills. In addition, I will support the rollout of smart meters, ensuring that Londoners are supported in being able to use their meters to use energy more efficiently. While I am very concerned about the reduction in the Energy Company Obligation budget, I welcome the shift in its focus towards fuel poverty given the absence of any other national fuel poverty energy efficiency support programmes. Continue reading

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SOAS becomes first community energy university

November 2016: Congratulations to student group Solar SOAS who successfully achieved their crowd funding goal earlier this year raising £22,000 for their PV project, which has now successfully installed 114 solar panels on the roof of their university building.

Funds were raised from SOAS itself, the students’ union and individual donors, and Solar SOAS co-founder Hannah Short said that crowdfunding the project provided “a rare opportunity for interested stakeholders to become part of a climate solution”.

Solar SOAS are having a ‘solabration’ tomorrow evening at the Brunei Gallery to formally launch the project – full details of which are posted here.

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Smart Air Pollution Monitoring to be introduced in London

6 November 2016: The Evening Standard reports that electronic signs at bus stops and Tube stations will warn Londoners of dangerous air pollution levels. The signs will feature at all 270 Tube stations,and with  2,500 signs at bus stops and 140 “dot matrix” signs on the capital’s busiest roads. Read the full report here.

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‘Living wall’ could reduce air pollution by a fifth

November 2016: “A pioneering “living wall” created at a Grade-I listed Mayfairdevelopment could reduce local air pollution by 20 per cent, it was claimed today. The 80sq m wall has been planted with grass, flowers and strawberries and installed on scaffolding at the St Mark’s building in North Audley Street. Developer Grosvenor and engineering firm Arup devised the wall, which they claim could help to cut harmful emissions and spruce up streets undergoing major construction projects.”

Full Evening Standard article here. See earlier post on GLA ‘Green Capital’ study here.

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A natural capital account for London

November 2016: The Mayor is to “undertake a natural capital account for London parks and green spaces. Natural capital accounting is a methodology developed by the Natural Capital Committee on behalf of the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to establish an accounting framework which values some of the intangible benefits of the natural environment.

“The National Trust has trialled a natural capital accounting framework for the parks network in Sheffield. The London natural capital account will take this framework and test its applicability to a city region.”

The approval form goes on to say that the “outputs will be used to help reveal the economic value of London’s parks and green spaces; a necessary step in order to help develop the business case for green infrastructure as recommended by the London Infrastructure Plan and the Green Infrastructure Task Force report.

The full GLA approval document can be accessed here (or directly downloadable here).

The Green Infrastructure Task Force report can be downloaded here  and some further background to the Taskforce is available an earlier post here.

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Environmental Design at the Tate Modern

November 2016: The latest issue of the CIBSE Journal includes a case study on the significant design measures integrated into the new Tate Modern Switch House extension:

“The Tate wanted the environmental design of the Switch House extension to London’s Tate Modern gallery to be as cutting-edge as the art installations it showcases…Max Fordham’s scheme does not disappoint. It uses ground water pumped from river gravel below the site, desiccant dehumidification and even waste heat from electrical transformers to create the ideal environmental conditions for the Tate’s priceless works of art, while ensuring millions of visitors are comfortable.” Read the full case study here.

Tate Modern’s energy programme was supported by the London Energy Efficiency Fund – see earlier post here – and last year, a solar PV array was also added to the building.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

October 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

whether an annual planning and energy assessment report will be published; higher energy costs for Londoners due to the Hinkley go-aheadsolar action plan consultation; supporting community energy projects through the Zero Carbon Homes policy; Energy for Londoners budget; the number of zero carbon homes projected to be in place in 2025 in the London Energy Scenarios report; the Mayor’s support for the Energy Bill Revolution campaign; the use of biomass in large scale centralised coal generating plant which supply power to London; the proposed increase in business rates on solar PV installations; supporting the Zero Carbon Homes policy in future revisions to the London Plan; supporting boroughs in the implementation of the Zero Carbon Homes policy; the range of options open to developers to meet the Zero Carbon Homes target; how forthcoming revisions to the London Plan will support the Zero Carbon Homes policy; the Energy Gardens programme and LPG conversion of London cabs.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Havering Council could switch to solar energy with panels in Upminster and Harold Hill

7 October 2016: Following on from an earlier post about Havering’s Solar Parks initiative – comes further news on the borough’s ambitions, with a press notice that Havering seeks to become London’s first solar powered Council. In addition to plans to build two solar parks, which could have the potential of generating £1m annual income, the councils is exploring the potential for residents to directly invest in a sustainable future for the borough through a solar financial investment fund. Further information on the following Romford Reader article and Havering Council’s website here.

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Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change

Managing London CC6 October 2016: Number of interesting recommendations made in thinktank, Future of London’s new report on climate change adaptation. The report – Managing London’s Exposure to Climate Change – was launched at an event held at Arup’s offices yesterday morning.

The GLA’s lead officer on climate change adaptation presented at the event and stated that a revision to the existing London Climate Change Adaptation Stragegy was currently underway – and would be issued for consultation in Spring 2017.

Notes from a workshop ‘Funding Climate Change Resilience’ that fed into the report’s findings can be found here.

Tweets from the launch event can be seen on the hashtag #FoLClimateRisk

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‘London disposal authority calls for food waste ban’

5 October 2016: Let’s Recycle report on North London Waste Authority’s submission to the EFRA Select Committee inquiry into Food Waste in England with the NLWA stating that a: “ ban on commercial and industrial food waste to landfill would have the benefit of diverting industrial food wastes from disposal, including the quantity of food waste from small restaurants and shops, thus making food waste collections potentially more viable for these premises and potentially further stimulating the market for anaerobic digestion.”

The response goes on:

“However, it may have the unintended consequence of encouraging retailers to sell more short-life food to householders to avoid sending the food to relatively expensive AD and composting outlets; which would have to be guarded against.”

The NLWA response echoes recommendations made by the London Assembly Environment Committee in their Bag it or bin it?: Managing London’s domestic food waste

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