Planning Portal

Draft PPS 18: Renewable Energy
Policy RE 2 Justification & Amplification: Passive Solar Design

4.36. Passive Solar Design (PSD) refers to the use of solar energy for the heating and cooling of buildings. Using this approach, the building itself or some part of it will take advantage of the natural energy in materials and air created by exposure to the sun. PSD needs to be considered at the design stage as it provides effectively a one-off opportunity to save energy during the lifetime of a building, generally at no cost. In modern housing up to 20–25% of heating and lighting energy can be saved by the application of PSD principles.
4.37. Optimising use of natural heat and light through PSD can displace energy which would otherwise have been generated from fossil fuel sources. Solar heated air and wind can also be used in natural ventilation or cooling systems. Planning decisions on site selection, road access arrangements, building orientation and spacing and landscape design can all influence the ability of new development to employ PSD techniques effectively. PSD can be used in conjunction with other efficiency measures including increasing insulation, double glazing, draught proofing, use of energy efficient appliances and fittings, efficient heating controls and condensing boilers.
4.38. The key to realising the benefits of PSD is one of scale. Individual exemplars will not make a substantial difference to CO2 reduction targets, but if a significant proportion of new public sector buildings, housing and office developments adopted the principles then worthwhile environmental benefits would be achieved.
4.39. The Department considers that Planning Control has an important role to play in encouraging the greater application of the principles of PSD, particularly amongst house builders, and in the design of public and commercial buildings.
4.40. This PPS specifically includes “passive solar” as a complementary measure to renewable energy technologies that should be taken into account in the assessment of development proposals.
4.41. Applying PSD principles will be particularly important at the master plan stage of major developments. Those responsible for preparing design concept statements and master plans should therefore consider PSD requirements alongside routine matters such as access and infrastructure. Equally it is considered that PSD principles can bring important benefits to the design of new dwellings in the countryside.
4.42 In assessing proposals account will be taken of the information and best practice guidance set out in Annex 2. Attention is also drawn to the Energy Savings Trust publication (GIR27) Passive Solar Estate Layout –General Information Report 27 (1997). This document can be accessed through the Energy Saving Trust’s website: Opens link in a new browser window
4.43. Applicants for those forms of development indicated in this policy will be required to demonstrate what consideration has been given to PSD in the design of their proposals. This will entail submission of a written report addressing this matter normally by a person competent to do so, for example an architect, building surveyor or energy consultant. The amount of information required will clearly vary according to the complexity of the scheme in question.
4.44. It should be noted that because PSD concerns the fundamental design of a building it cannot easily be dealt with by way of planning conditions.
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