Modern Energy Partners: Concept Design

Creating a concept design to help decarbonise complex sites

Through creating and testing this approach within the MEP programme, resources including tools, templates and calculators were developed. These can be used as part of the concept design process or as stand-alone documents, to support consistency in the development of decarbonisation projects.

To access the resources, select the sections below.

The majority are accessible to the public sector and private section supply chain, so it is possible to ask the supply chain to reference these materials in their work.

Resources and Guides

Onboarding – presentations and guides

Where a site is first engaged in the decarbonisation planning process, agrees to participate, and provides some initial information.

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Information gathering – tools and examples

Covering the site survey and the analysis of energy data, plus developing some initial findings.

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Concept design – tools and examples

Supporting the optioneering of decarbonisation measures and providing basic calculators and models for consistency.

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Energy and Cost Modelling – tools and examples

Offering guidance on how to develop, model and write up solutions, linked to business case development.

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MEP – Concept Design FAQs

What is a decarbonisation plan and how does a concept design fit?


A decarbonisation plan can cover a site or multiple sites, but it should provide an explanation of how decarbonisation is going to be achieved. That could include governance, capacity and capability, delivery routes, and how implementation and delivery is going to be monitored.

A concept design for a site forms part of the decarbonisation plan and provides an indication of the technologies and interventions which, if implemented at the site, will offer the best value, most efficient pathway for decarbonising. It should take a whole systems approach and should capture assets being replaced at end of life and the sequencing needed. It is not possible to predict the future and therefore any concept should take into account a series of options which can be modelled and updated in the future.

How does better data fit with a concept design?


Having good data will improve the quality of a concept design. Real energy data gives a better understanding of a site’s energy use over time and provides better detail to inform design and therefore should be used if available.

Typically, sites may only have a single (or few) meters installed to monitor overall energy consumption for billing purposes. Ideally sub-metering would be installed (e.g. at building level) to give a more detailed understanding of energy consumption across a site.

MEP found that on many sites electricity meters were the priority metered energy vector. However, with a need to reduce carbon emissions to achieve Net Zero, data on fossil fuel use, heat consumption, hot water and cooling, have become more of a priority, and so consideration should also be given to capturing energy data for these elements.

However, if data is not available it should not stop or slow down the development of a plan. Within the concept design process, there are tools and templates to support assessing energy data, and useful calculators to provide initial estimations where data may be limited. It is, however, more important to have better data when moving into more detailed feasibility study and detailed design.

What does a decarbonisation pathway look like?


Within a concept design, plotting the relevant interventions in sequence over time with the end of life assets being taken into account gives a timeline or pathway of what should be done and when. This enables planning for the preparatory work such as business case writing, securing budgets and carrying out further feasibility studies, detailed design, procurement and implementation. An example is given below.

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What benefits does a concept design offer?


If an estate is made up of multiple sites or buildings, it is likely that efforts to decarbonise will be implemented on some sites/buildings before others. Developing a consistent concept design for each site and building will offer comparability across the portfolio. It will give an understanding of what must be done to deliver Net Zero and give a pathway to show how that will be met. This will support delivery planning and help in bidding for any funding.

Are there any other sources of guidance for public sector estate decarbonisation?


There are multiple sources of guidance, including the recently published Net Zero Estate Playbook published by Office for Government Property (OGP).

In addition, the Net Zero Trajectory Tool is a tool on the OGP Property Portal that provides an assessment of cost and routes to Net Zero for an organisational estate. OPG have also developed a suit of other tools which support the assessment of whole life assessment management which can be accessed on the OGP Property Portal.

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