Case study

Low carbon building design toolkit for planners and architects

Carbon Mixer North East softwareCarbon Mixer North East software

In response to recent changes in UK planning regulations, Narec Distributed Energy, part of the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre, launched the Microrenewables Toolkit.

Outline & objectives

The Toolkit is designed to advise developers and planners within local authorities on the optimum low carbon solutions to be used for sustainable building design and build as well as ensuring developers have a full understanding of current legislation and relevant renewable energy policy requirements.


The Microrenewables Toolkit is made up of two parts; Sustainability Guidance for North East Buildings document and the Carbon Mixer® North East v2.0 software.

The Sustainability Guidance for North East Buildings document which was originally produced in 2007 by Narec in conjunction with CP Energy and Building Research Establishment (BRE) explains the policy requirements, and gives a full understanding of the current legislation relevant to North East England revised in 2010. It also provides guidance on the suitability of technologies in different situations, enabling users to make informed decisions about renewable energy installations.

The Carbon Mixer® North East v2.0, a software package, developed in association with Bobby Gilbert & Associates, shows the financial, energy, and carbon benefits of installing a range of microrenewable and low carbon technologies across a range of building types and ensures sustainability of new developments can be quickly assessed and compared on the same system.  This tool which has been developed to offer a common language will enable users to quickly assess the energy credentials of developments using a consistent methodology, assist in the planning process when faced with high levels of legislation and encourage discussions between architects, planners and developers.

It is hoped that the Microrenewables Toolkit will assist planners with regard to sustainability, and ensure the North East becomes an exemplar low carbon economy.

Narec Distributed Energy is currently engaged in a number of strategic partnerships with local authorities to inform their energy master planning requirements and help deliver regeneration in accordance with the climate change and political agenda. The Microrenewables Toolkit builds on Narec Distributed Energy’s ongoing work with these authorities.

Further information

The Toolkit, funded by the Association of North East Councils and One North East is available free of charge to all local authorities within North East England and other selected not-for-profit organisations. For further information email or visit to download the documents.

Low Carbon Building Design Toolkit for Planners and Architects case study pdf