Two London councils are introducing a system that will force developers to retrofit green power generating capacity onto their buildings if they fail to meet agreed sustainability targets

Both Barking and Dagenham and Merton councils are trialling a system that monitors the amount of renewable electricity produced by micro-renewables, including wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, or heat pumps on a development. The system then contacts council officers if the electricity generated falls below a certain level.

If a developer fails to meet its targets, it will either have to retrofit photovoltaic (PV) cells or forfeit a cash bond of the same value.

The monitoring system, called Energence, has been developed by Adrian Hewitt, the inventor of the so-called Merton Rule, which stipulated that 10% of energy for a development had to come from renewable sources on site.

Barking council has already asked Redrow Homes to retrofit PVs onto one building’s roof after a turbine fell short of its agreed target to provide 14% of the development’s energy. It provided just 4%. The council has now made fitting the monitoring system a condition of planning for a series of forthcoming applications.

Meanwhile, Merton council has made fitting the system a condition on developments of more than 10 homes or 1,000m2 and is looking at introducing enforcement after a testing period of two or three years.

Developers must pay for the system, which costs at least £450. Building understands that as many as five other councils are in discussions with Energence to trial the system.