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London authorities will consider “active cooling” in zero carbon plan

Capital’s strategy to achieve zero carbon buildings will set clear restrictions on types of cooling units approved for use

A new environmental strategy for London that seeks to realise aims of having only zero carbon buildings in the capital by 2050 will require “active cooling systems” to meet specific energy and gas standards if they are to be part of the plan.

Shirley Rodriguez, London’s deputy mayor for environment and energy, made the claims at the BESA National conference yesterday (October 19) during a presentation on the role of building service functions to help the capital curb carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has outlined draft plans to curb the capital’s carbon emissions with a focus that will mandate an overhaul of cooling and heating systems across the city to try and ensure zero carbon buildings over the next three decades.

A strategy document is now open for wider public consultation until November 17 in order to try and put together clear goals for better ensuring London can be ran on 100 per cent green energy by 2050.

Ms Rodriguez announced that a ‘cooling hierarchy’ will form part of the final London environmental strategy, with clear aims to tackle overheating in both new builds and older properties that may require retrofitting of cooling and heating systems.

“We want to utilise building design to reduce heat generation and the amount of heat entering a building, followed by passive and mechanical ventilation to provide cooling,” she said.

A pilot programme was also underway as part of the cooling hierarchy work to look at retrofitting current homes to zero energy standards, Ms Rodriguez said.

“Our cooling hierarchy does not rule out active cooling systems, but where they are used, they should be designed to make the best use of energy. They should also look to reduce their impact on climate and carbon emissions, such as phasing out their use of HFCs or by switching to natural refrigerants instead,” she said.

Ms Rodriguez also expressed interest in focusing on using heat rejected by active cooling systems in heat networks as part of efforts to curb emissions for overhauling temperature control.

“We are keen to hear your views on how we can work together on this,” she added.

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