A radical concept that harnesses the untapped energy from stationary electric vehicles while creating greener, healthier, more sustainable residential spaces is being explored by Stantec.
The sustainable design and engineering expert is working with net zero data analytics consultancy Field Dynamics, multi-utility network operator mua and EV smart charging tech business Indra in developing its transformative ‘Vehicle to Community’ (V2C) proposition, which Stantec says has the potential to reinvent street design across the UK.
The V2C concept has been developed in response to key challenges facing Britain including the current energy market crunch, the national journey towards a net zero economy, healthier living and the widespread growth of the electric vehicle (EV) sector.
V2C reimagines residential development car parking, creating a centralised, accessible community asset, rather than having traditional on-plot parking.
Stantec says this central, managed car park is more than 30% more efficient than conventional designs and would be able to utilise the normally unproductive energy stored in idle electric vehicles.
A development designed with V2C reduces the need for driveway construction, saving significant levels of embedded carbon.
With no need for vehicles to park on plots, streets would be reduced in size and made to be more natural, providing access only to pedestrians, cycles and service or emergency vehicles.
The proposition also offers a host of wider benefits to new communities and can be applied to existing ones.
As well as significantly cutting energy bills for homeowners through its own microgrid, the concept could substantially reduce ‘urban heat island’ effects by allowing for greater landscaping, more trees and pergola green roofs and reduced hard surfaces.
For developers, a V2C design would allow for more biodiversity net gain areas, and more surface water attenuation, freeing up space elsewhere on site for additional benefits like community solar PV, and potentially increasing plot count by 10-20%. The innovative energy system would measurably reduce grid demand as well as the need for new power infrastructure.
At the same time, there would be a greater opportunity to integrate sustainable mobility hubs including bike-share, car-share, and delivery lockers which are easily accessible.
With more open, greener spaces, and less vehicles on plots, resident wellbeing is enhanced and a more active lifestyle, encouraged.
It is thought that the scheme would also, in the long-term, promote shared mobility and low-carbon transport modes.
Jason Lewis, director, transport planning at Stantec, said: “We started this project through a desire to meet the market’s biggest challenges head on by bringing together colleagues from the development, EV charging and power industries.
“Together, we were able to explore new ways of using existing technologies in a smarter approach to allow communities to embrace nature while delivering opportunities to meet net zero and energy targets.
“We always seek to challenge outdated thinking and turn traditional urban design ethos on its head, while ensuring feasibility and deliverability to meet the needs of developers, their customers and stakeholders in an increasingly climate-conscious world.”