Tag Archives: Camden

Community Energy Share Offers are Go!

August 2016: Really great to see three share offers have recently gone live in London providing opportunities to invest around £200,000 in community energy projects across schools, university and church buildings.

  • Solar SOAS are seeking £40,000 for a solar installation  on the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Old Building. The project will install 114 solar panels – and the student union have already pledged £10,000 to the cost of the install. A list of useful FAQs can be seen here along with a video outlining the project. Solar SOAS state that “The solar panels are considered permitted development under Camden planning guidelines, therefore we do not need planning permission. As it is a listed building and in a conservation area, we do need listed building consent. Together with SOAS we have commissioned an extensive heritage impact report and submitted our application for listed building consent. We are awaiting the outcome of this but are confident we will get it.” The Heritage planning application is currently with Camden Council, some of the details of which can be seen here and here. Read more on the project on the Solar SOAS blog. The project succeeded in securing funding in May 2015 from the government’s Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF) which was, sadly, terminated as of last month. Further info on the project on the following story on Solar Power Portal.
  • Power Up North London’s project involves the installations of  solar panels at St. Anne’s Church, Highgate. PUNL are seeking to raise  £30,100 through a Community Share Offer to install 19kW. The project faced difficulties back in June when, as the Camden New Journal reported “a conservation officer at the Town Hall has queried the project on the grounds of the panels being visible and potential damage caused to historic fabric” which prompted “a letter-writing campaign to force Camden Council to give the scheme the go-ahead”. The planning application was subsequently approved by the council in July, as reported in the Ham & High. Full details of investment offer are available on their website.
  • South East London Community Energy (SELCE) have been working for over a year to develop a number of solar projects on schools in the area. Their share offer was officially launched at City Hall in July and, as their website states, the “offer was so popular that it was oversubscribed and had to close a few days before the official end date of August 4th 2016. We have now raised £120,000 of investment from the community to install solar panels on three sites in South East London. These are: Alderwood Primary School, Deansfield Primary School
    and Bannockburn Primary School.” This new project builds upon earlier successes – a £250,000 community share offer for a 184-panel solar array at Mulgrave Primary School in Woolwich.
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Smart Cities and the Built Environment

14 July 2016: Osborne Clark – the “smart cities law firm” – released a report last week examining how “how smart built environments leverage data, new technology and innovative and collaborative thinking to deliver services that benefit citizens”.

The report Smart cities in Europe: The future of the built environment includes a profile of the regeneration of Kings Cross: “Why is this redevelopment a good example of a smart built environment? For a start, the building utilises renewable energy. Solar
panels that generate around 10% of the
station’s energy requirements were installed
on the 2,500m² renovated train shed roof. A
combined heat and power (CHP) plant will
also provide locally generated power to new
businesses and homes on the site.”

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Heat metering: socio-technical challenges in district-heated social housing

April 2016: “The case of a district-heated council block in London is presented where the installation of individual heat meters was planned in 2010 but had to be suspended due to concerns about implications for occupant heating costs in light of the thermal performance of the building. It illustrates a technically and socially complex environment where fairness in allocating heating costs is an important concern” Research paper presented in academic journal Building Research and Information. Link here. Paper downloadable here.

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Inside the UK’s first passive house in Camden

31 March 2016: Evening Standard property section article and video on a new bespoke passive house development in Camden – which states the house has an annual energy bill of just £100. Passive house experts, BERE Architects led on the build of the home – and their website has further details of projects across London including a community centre in Islington (and here); Exmouth Market; Brent; and Newington Green.

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Camden Passivhaus Tower

January 2016: CIBSE Journal case study on on how “Camden’s Agar Grove estate is to become the UK’s biggest residential Passivhaus project.  Max Fordham’s Bertie Dixon describes the challenges of building an 18-storey tower to the standard, and explains why the council is committed to the low energy code

The redevelopment of the Agar Grove estate, in Camden, is not only expected to be the biggest residential Passivhaus development in the UK. It is also highly challenging for the designers involved.

As well as having an 18-storey Passivhaus residential tower on a tight inner-city site, the development is subject to environmental planning requirements that are not always compatible with Passivhaus principles. For example, heat networks might appear to be a prerequisite for large housing schemes in London, which means incorporating a network of heating pipes. The heat loss from the pipework introduces an increase in annual ‘primary energy demand’,I which is limited in the Passivhaus standard, so the project team had to work hard to come up with an ultra low-loss network design.” Read the full case study here.

Camden already has two other developments that meet the passivhaus standard – Loudoun Road and Alexandra Road,

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North London Heat and Power Project

December 2014: North London Waste Authority (NLWA) has launched its first phase of public consultation on the North London Heat and Power Project – a £450-500 million Energy Recovery Facility at the Edmonton EcoPark in the London Borough of Enfield. All details are set out on their new website: www.northlondonheatandpower.london.

The development proposal consists of:

  • an energy from waste plant – described here as an Energy Recovery Facility (ERF)-  generating 70MW of electricity using residual waste
  • “heat off-take” equipment within the ERF which will generate an initial heat supply through a connection to a separate heat network centre that will be located on the site.
  • This separate heat network centre is not part of the Project and will be developed by the London Borough of Enfield. The separate heat network will be designed to be capable of providing heat in the region of 30 MW which will provide benefit to north and east London;

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) arranges the disposal of waste collected by the seven London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest. The existing Energy from Waste plant at the EcoPark that has served north London for around 45 years and is coming to the end of its operational life.

A video on the current energy system in place can be seen here; a second video on new proposals can be seen here.

Plans for the heat offtake extend to connecting to the wider Lee Valley Heat Network – details for which were announced earlier this year and to which government funding was announced in October. The first phase of the Lee Valley Heat Network will focus on the £1.5 billion Meridian Water development.

The following three tenders for the Heat Network have been issued by Enfield in the past few weeks:

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North London ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit scheme launches

November 2014: A news report highlighting a new ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit Project which provides “homeowners in six North London boroughs access to upgrades that can help to significantly boost the sustainability of their properties…The year-long scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to make it simpler and more affordable for residents to install insulation that will help to reduce their energy costs.

Haringey Council’s website reveals that the project is one that was successfully awarded funding earlier this year under government’s Green Deal Communities Fund, details of which can be found in an earlier post here.  The project focuses on solid wall insulation and on Victorian and Edwardian terraces where simple, cheap energy upgrades can be difficult because of the design of the older buildings. Residents in Haringey, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest are eligible for the scheme, which is designed see more than three quarters of work carried out by local traders. The scheme is open to both owner occupiers and landlords (or tenants with landlord consent) from the boroughs and is available up to 31st March 2015.

Further information can be found on the Smart Homes pages on Camden’s website – and on Camden’s Green Deal page here.

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Focus on London’s Private Rented Sector and Energy Efficiency

August 2014: An important Early Day Motion (EDM) for London is currently doing the rounds in the House of Commons. EDM 95 ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Private Rented Homes‘ sets out:

  • the Private Rented Sector (PRS) has over five times more homes in EPC Bands F and G than the social housing sector
  • nearly half the PRS households living in Band F and G properties are in fuel poverty
  • the Energy Act 2011, placed a duty on the Government to introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for the PRS by April 2018
  • the EDM calls on the Government to ensure that the regulations are made clear and enforceable by specifying Band E as the minimum standard in all cases, and by keeping exemptions to an absolute minimum.

Suprisingly, only 4 London MPs have as yet signed the EDM:

  • Corbyn, Jeremy (Labour) Islington North
  • Jackson, Glenda (Labour) Hampstead and Kilburn
  • Love, Andrew (Labour) Edmonton
  • McDonnell, John (Labour) Hayes and Harlington

The Mayor’s recent consultation on a London Housing Strategy sets out how critical the PRS is to London and the challenges faced by Londoners living in rented accommodation. These include:

  • Rents are higher in the capital, with the median monthly rent for a private rented home at £1,300, compared with a national average of £595.20 Private sector tenants in London spend an average of 36% of their gross household income on rent.
  • the proportion of private renting households with children has increased sharply, from 19% to 29% between 2001 and 2011, indicating a growing reliance on this sector by families.
  • Retrofitting in the private rented sector has always been challenging, but the Mayor remains committed to seeing progress.

Together with the knowledge of the poorer levels of energy efficiency in rental properties, London clearly has much to do to help tackle energy costs and fuel poverty in the PRS.

The Mayor has introduced a ‘London Rental Standard‘ (updated in May 2014) setting out a voluntary set of minimum standards that the Mayor expects from landlords, managing agents and letting agents that operate in London’s private rented sector. Though London’s PRS faces particular stresses on energy, the Standard does not go above the national regulation requirements but simply points to the Energy Act’s defined minimum standard on energy efficiency:

  • Energy efficiency: landlords must work towards compliance with duties imposed upon them by the Energy Act 2011 especially related to requests for energy efficiency improvements by tenants and in relation to low ratings in energy performance.

And, in relation to this Energy Act 2011 duties, in July DECC issued a consultation on the of the introduction of the Private Rented Sector Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations setting out a series of questions around the scope and implementation of the regulations (with a deadline for responses of 2 September 2014). Minutes from a working group that lead to the development of the consultation can be viewed here.

London’s particular challenges are not picked up anywhere in the consultation document or impact assessment. Delivering energy efficiency to London’s PRS was however looked at in a National Energy Action (NEA) seminar earlier this year, which highlighted London’s added logistical, demographic and architectural challenges. Presentations from the event can be viewed here.

Much more information on the PRS is set out in the April 2014 ‘Housing In London‘ evidence base document.

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2014: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:

Mayoral involvement with the Local Government Climate Roadmap; organisations operating at the London Sustainable Industries Park; potential for the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) to invest in low carbon London projects; whether Energy Performance Certificate or Green Deal assessments will be provided for homes that go through the RE:NEW programme; monitoring high energy consuming buildings in London; reductions in forecasted projections of CO2 savings in Mayor’s energy supply programme; Transport for London’s (TfL) Energy Strategy; the Mayor’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy suppliers; visit by Mayor’s energy advisor to Camden’s biomethane refuelling station; correspondence with DCLG on the Mayor being able to set London specific energy efficiency targets in planning rules for new development; meetings with DECC over encouraging the use of solar PV on GLA land and building; new district heating network using heat from Greenwich Power Station; the low take up of ECO energy efficiency programme in London; connecting Whitehall District Heating Scheme to Pimlico District Heating Undertaking;  the Mayor’s response to a recent London Solar Energy report by Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones; future TfL electricity costs; whether the Mayor responded to the Government’s recent solar PV consultation; concerns over government changes to the ECO as raised by the Mayor; funding for the next round of the RE:NEW programme; energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector; monies received by the Green Bus Fund; work being undertaken to assess the economic impact to London as a result of climate change; attendance at the World Mayors Summit of Climate Change; planning offset funds; contract awarded for management of the RE:NEW programme; and if the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group has considered solar PV.

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40 ESCO deals signed through RE:FIT programme

June 2014: A response by the Mayor to a question this month provides details that, of the 125 public sector organisations working with the RE:FIT programme, 40 have so far signed energy service deals through the GLA’s RE:FIT procurement framework.  Local authorities signed up to RE:FIT include Harrow, Ealing, Sutton, Enfield, Merton and Camden. A full list of the 40 organisation is provided here (though, confusingly, a few organisations are mentioned more than once – so not it’s not clear if the list is less than 40 – or these organisations have signed more than one deal with an ESCO partner…?).

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Euston Road Energy Centre and District Heating Network

July 2013: After several years building the case, it is hugely positive to see that Camden have now released a tender for a £5.7m  decentralised energy network along Euston Road. The tender document sets out that:

“The London Borough of Camden has identified a cluster of four communally heated estates in Somers Town, Kings Cross, London NW1 which are in close proximity to the Francis Crick Institute, a new major biomedical research facility due to be completed in 2015/16. The aggregated volume of heat and electrical demands for the estates and Francis Crick Institute has been assessed by Arup on behalf of the Decentralised Energy for London programme and is considered to provide an excellent opportunity for a phased decentralised energy network. Full planning consent for a centralised energy centre has been secured and full Cabinet approval has been secured from the London Borough of Camden to procure the project.”

The tender information goes on: “The scheme will be commissioned and delivered in the following phases:

  • Phase 1 – would see a heat only district heating project design, built, operated and maintained for the four estates via a district heating network connected to a central energy centre for which full planning permission has been granted.
  • Phase 2 – Once the Francis Crick Institute (“the Crick”) establishes a sufficient electrical demand (envisaged 2016) and an agreement is reached, Camden Council may commission the installation, operation and maintenance of a c.1MWe CHP unit (indicative size only) at the Phase 1 Energy Centre with a direct electrical connection to the Crick. Upon Phase 2 commission, the CHP system shall then also be the primary source of heat supply to the district heating network installed in Phase 1.
  • Phase 3 – Camden Council intends to extend the network to connect to Council regeneration planned for the wider Somers Town area over the next 4-5 years. This phase will not be procured within this exercise. However, the design and build under Phase 1 will include the expansion capacity to support future district heating demands.

The proposed heat route can be seen on the planning application for the CHP here. An open day will be held for bidders on Monday, 5 August 2013.

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Camden Energy Updates

July 2013: Camden’s Environment Scrutiny Committee met recently where a detailed environment report for the borough was presented. The Green Action for Change annual review provides a pretty exhaustive account of the range of programmes being taken forward in the borough, including the following energy-related actions:

  • Pilot enhanced retrofitting planning guidance for conservation areas adopted for Dartmouth Park and Holly Lodge. Format for new borough wide energy efficiency planning guidance for conservation areas agreed.
  • Euston Road/Somers Town CHP scheme now procurement ready
  • Gospel Oak Heat Network – which uses waste heat from the Royal Free Hospital’s CHP system to heat several Camden housing estates – was connected to 1,427 dwellings, saving an estimated 37,761 lifetime tCO2.
  • Energy masterplan completed for Bloomsbury area, with detailed assessment of British Museum link to university and Great Ormond Street to Tybalds estate
  • Euston Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) energy masterplan funding secured with completion pending HS2 judicial review.

On the Green Deal and energy efficiency retrofits, the report outlines that: Continue reading…

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