National Design Guide

1 October 2019

The National Design Guide sets out the characteristics of well-designed places and demonstrates what good design means in practice.

The Government has launched its National Design Guide with the hope of inspiring and encouraging good design across the planning processes for buildings and spaces:

11.  The focus of the design guide is on good design in the planning system, so it is primarily for:

  • local authority planning officers, who prepare local planning policy and guidance and assess the quality of planning applications
  • councillors, who make planning decisions
  • applicants and their design teams, who prepare applications for planning permission
  • people in local communities and their representatives.
National Design Guide

Follow the energy hierarchy

Those in the know will be pleased to see that the Government Guide recommends following the energy hierarchy and states that:

138.  Well-designed places and buildings follow the energy hierarchy, starting with:

  • reducing the need for energy
  • energy efficiency (see below)
  • maximising the potential for energy supply from decentralised, low carbon and renewable energy sources, including community-led initiatives
  • and then, efficiently using fossil fuels from clean technologies.

139.  They maximise the contributions of natural resources such as sun, ground and wind, and include passive measures for light, temperature, ventilation and heat.

140.  They make use of renewable energy infrastructures, such as photovoltaic arrays, ground source heat pumps and district heating systems, to reduce demand for non sustainable energy sources. IT advances and app-based solutions allow users of well-designed places and homes to take ownership or management of these systems in order to use them most efficiently.

141.  Good developments minimise the cost of running buildings and are easy and affordable for occupants to use and manage.

Government advice to use ground source heat pumps

It is good to see that Government advice on good design from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recommends the use of PV arrays, ground source heat pumps and district heating to reduce combustion and emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.


See Renewable Heating          See Renewable Cooling