Heating & Cooling

“Low-carbon heating & cooling for non-domestic buildings in UK: drivers, challenges, and energy policies”

(Divya Deepankar, BSRIA, Ltd.)




“Low-carbon heating & cooling for non-domestic buildings in UK: drivers, challenges, and energy policies” (Divya Deepankar, BSRIA, Ltd.)

This presentation critically examines the drivers, issues and challenges related to adopting lowcar-bon heating and cooling systems in the non-domestic building sector in the UK. The potential impact of the energy related regulatory policies like ESOS(Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme), MEES (Minimum Energy EfficiencyStandards), and NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Build-ings) on employing low carbontechnologies is as-sessed, and based on the industry opinion, rec-ommendationsare provided on how to make these policies more effective.

“Heat alone is responsible for about one-third of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; hence in order to meet the carbon-emission reduction targets, it is essential to consider low carbon heating and cooling systems in buildings. In line with this, the UK government initiated a new policy development project focused on decar-bonisation of heating and cooling in non-domestic buildings which aims to achieve the target of zero-carbon emissions from heating and cooling in buildings by 2050. This presentation examines the drivers, issues and challenges related to adopting low carbon heating and cooling systems in the non-domestic building sector.


The potential impact of the energy related regulatory policies like ESOS (Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme), MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards), and NZEB (Nearly Zero Energy Buildings) on employing low carbon technologies is as-sessed, and recommendations are provided on how to make these policies more effective. In-formation has been gathered through literature search, research and consultation with BSRIA’s experts, surveys and discussions with industry experts on the uncertainties, potential issues, and evidence gaps. This study identified that although a number of studies, initiatives, policies and standards rele-vant to low carbon heating and cooling technol-ogies exist, there is a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of employing them in real pro-jects, both in terms of their environmental and financial benefits.


The study highlighted that the high initial cost of low-carbon technologies with difficulties in evaluation of their effectiveness are major deterrents to their use. Currently, there is little incentive for companies to consid-er low carbon heating and cooling technologies in their projects and the primary drivers for us-ing these technologies in the UK, are regulatory requirements of Part L, BREEAM (Building Re-search Establishment Environmental Assess-ment Methodology) credits and planning re-quirements. With regard to the NZEB, a clear definition for “Nearly” is needed to determine the level of am-bition for such buildings in terms of energy con-sumption and/or CO2 emissions, in order to set the principles and test such principles on refer-ence buildings. To make MEES more effective, guidance and case studies are needed to sup-port landlord’s decisions for improvement measures. There are a growing number of en-ergy-related policies like ESOS, Climate Reduc-tion Commitment (CRC), Climate Change Levy (CCL) and Mandatory GHG (Greenhouse Gas) reporting that can be more effective if combined to create one overarching scheme closely aligned with ESOS.


Divya Deepankar, BSRIA Ltd., United Kingdom 

Divya is a Civil Engineer from India and a fresh graduate with MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford. I am currently working as a Re-search Engineer in the Sustainable Construction Group at BSRIA Ltd., UK where I focus on the European Research Projects. This involves engaging with the partners to deliver the work package deliverables, report content writing, and engaging with dissemination activities.