Guidance on Renewable Energy - Practice Note 19


The Government has set a key goal to achieve zero carbon new homes by 2016 (Code for Sustainable Homes). In order to achieve this goal, more and more legislation will be coming into force to ensure that new developments consider sustainable construction principles through the whole life cycle of a development – the planning, construction, maintenance and eventually the demolition process. Developers who take early action and consider sustainable construction principles in new developments will be well prepared for legislation that will soon be coming into force to meet zero carbon targets.

As sustainable construction is such a rapidly growing area of the construction industry, this document focuses specifically on renewable energy solutions that can be adopted in new developments. Practical guidance on other sustainable construction principles for planners and developers can be found at An online sustainable construction checklist has been developed by West Midlands Regional Assembly and Advantage West Midlands to assess, to what extent, a development site proposal will deliver on the different aspects of sustainability, visit

Developers who install renewable energy solutions in a proposed development are more likely to gain a competitive edge in the market, not only in preparing themselves for future legislation but by offering potential customers the benefits of renewable energy. Benefits include cheaper fuel bills, increased security and reliability of energy supply, with the possibility of an income from selling excess energy produced back to the National Grid.

This practice note therefore provides guidance to developers on how to incorporate technology relating to renewable energy in the design of new developments.

Policy Context

There are now many factors encouraging developers to adopt more sustainable construction practices, and for these to be promoted more effectively through the planning system

  • The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced by the Government in April 2007, its ultimate aim is for all new homes to be zero-carbon by 2016; the generation of renewable energy will play a major role in achieving this target.  The Code is currently voluntary, except for Housing Associations; however, it is proposed that a mandatory rating against the Code will be required for all new homes from April 2008.
  • “Sustainable development is the core principle underpinning planning” (from the opening paragraph of the recently updated Planning Policy Statement 1).
  • The landfill tax, aggregates levy, climate change levy, stamp duty exemption for deprived areas, have all been introduced to provide economic incentives.
  • Forthcoming legislation including the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Updates to Part L of Building Regulations and the Implementation of the Sustainable and Secure Buildings Act will increase minimum standards relating to sustainable construction.
  • Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22) states that: Local authorities should consider energy issues before granting planning permission for all new developments. The decisions made in designing and developing the built environment now will have an impact upon the extent to which some of these technologies and design measures can be used in the future.