Enplanner, the online tool for local authority planning departments, developers and individuals wishing to work out how much carbon dioxide proposed developments will produce, was launched last week during the ecobuild exhibition in London.

The development of Enplanner is the result of collaboration between the Carbon Trust, Encraft – the engineering, technology consultancy and project development company – and Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire planning officers. The scheme aims to identify the carbon footprint and energy consumption of developments to show compliance with local planning policies.

Enplanner’s interactive toolkit allows planning applicants to enter details of their proposed development at any location in the UK.  Any size of development can be included, from a simple home extension right up to a whole housing or industrial estate.  The toolkit then automatically measures the development against that local authority’s relevant policies in this field. Planning applicants are then able to vary a number of factors to calculate how different renewable and low-carbon technologies might affect the overall CO2 output and energy consumption of a development, right down for example to the size, pitch and alignment of a roof holding solar PV modules.  This information is then used to produce an energy statement that can be submitted to planning officers, which would otherwise cost hundreds of pounds in consultancy fees.

Encraft MD Matthew Rhodes said, “The project to develop and release Enplanner has been the culmination of a longstanding ambition. At Encraft we’re determined to make new energy technologies simple and accessible for everyone, from planning applicants through to industry professionals.

“As most people know, we’ve been offering industry-standard online calculators for many years. The planning system is such a critical part of the construction process we were delighted to be asked to produce this tool for the Carbon Trust and have high hopes that it will quickly become the standard across all planning authorities in England and Wales.”

Simon Helmer, Buildings Advice Manager at the Carbon Trust said, “We believe Enplanner can have a significant impact on the success of policies that use the planning system to encourage carbon reduction. We have worked closely with our Local Authority partners in this development and the key has always been to make the process of compliance easy and intuitive, and this tool does that.”