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By Hywel Lloyd, Government Engagement Manager

Active Building Centre contributes to consultation on electric vehicle charge points

The Active Building Centre has contributed to the Department for Transport led consultation Electric vehicle charging in residential and non-residential buildings.

Our work is focused on the relationships between the design, technology and integration of building elements that optimise energy generated, managed and consumed on, in or near a building. We have a considerable interest in how electric vehicles are integrated into this.

Electric vehicle consultation

There is a growing presence of electric vehicles in the UK. This has led to increasing calls for a much greater presence of charge points. And some calls for charge points to be considered as a part of the development of new homes.

For this reason, this is a timely consultation to explore how best to incentivise charge points in the process of house buildings.

There is also the legal obligation to transpose the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) minimum requirements for residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces. This has also helped reach this point of future proofing the built environment with regulation.

Installing electric vehicle charge points

The Department for Transport’s initial proposed approach is not necessarily the best approach to this emerging area of infrastructure development.

Simply installing a charge point could miss the opportunities to integrate the functionalities of a charge point and associated electric vehicles with the building.  Such an approach would restrict innovation in how such installations and integrations could and should be implemented.

Integrating electric vehicle charge points

That innovation could support better electric vehicle and charge point deployment. It could help facilitate a wider deployment of Active measures in many buildings. Where the integration of energy capture, control, storage and use can be optimised to the benefit of the home owner, user and/or the local energy networks.

This would have benefits for prosumers and other building users, and for the way in which networks are developed and reinforced, or not.

We also have a concern that mandatory electric vehicle charge points for all buildings could risk repeating the issues of the (SMETS1) smart meter deployment. The first tranche of meters are now being found to be wanting.

Our preferred approach is for a standard to be introduced that would expect developers to ensure their new buildings could support and integrate electric vehicles (or other ultra low emission vehicles) and their energy needs with that of the new building.

Benefits of integrated technologies

Such an approach would ensure the appropriate infrastructure will be put in place for the particular building or development. Whilst allowing for innovation in the deployment and integration of different technological elements.

Integrated technologies could include building energy controls, energy capture and storage, as well as the necessary local gird connection and devices to ‘fuel’ or charge an associated vehicle.

Such an approach would provide a more robust and ultimately cost effective route to ultra low emission vehicles deployment and associated infrastructures.

Published October 2019