Measures coming into force in April 2014 will require new homes and non-domestic buildings to include energy saving features such as better fabric insulation and more efficient heating and lighting. The changes are designed to cut fuel bills and carbon emissions, saving people and businesses money whilst helping tackle climate change and ensuring the government is on track to deliver the Budget commitment for Zero Carbon homes from 2016 and Zero Carbon non-domestic buildings by 2020.
The long awaited announcement on the toughened up measures for Part L of the Building Regulations will require a 6% cut in carbon emissions for homes, and a 9% cut for non-domestic buildings. Responding to consultation views with an appreciation of the burden on the construction industry, these targets are lower than those initially preferred by the Government. However, the new energy standards are still expected to cut annual fuel bills by £200 on a typical semi-detached house and over £60k on a large urban office, compared to build standards before 2010.
Over the long term the government expects to save 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide as a result of the new measures, with any short term increases in construction costs being heavily outweighed by an expected net saving of a £384 million for people and businesses over the average lifetime of the new features.
These targets will generally be able to be delivered without the contribution of renewables as services efficiency and fabric performance have been shown to be able to provide the necessary energy savings. Looking further ahead to Zero Carbon standards the government is expected to consult on ‘allowable solutions’ (a form of offsetting the energy use against a more practical alternative solution) for schemes unable to deliver the full Zero Carbon target within the site boundaries.
Please get in touch for advice on minimising the risk and cost of complying with the new regulations and/or taking advantage of the opportunities they present, we would be happy to share our professional expertise to assist you.