Industry expresses its concerns about new Part L

Part L, Building Regulations

The long-delayed update to Part L of the Building Regulations, which will be implemented in April 2014, is widely regarded as failing to sustain the pace needed to achieve long-term reductions in carbon emissions from buildings. The new Part L requires just a 9% reduction in carbon targets for non-domestic buildings compared with the 2010 regulations and 6% for domestic buildings. Both figures are lower than those consulted on.

With so much work in the planning pipeline, many projects designed to the old regulations will continue to be built for some time yet.

The Renewable Energy Association believes the minimal increases in carbon targets will do little to stimulate renewable technologies. Head of policy Paul Thompson said, ‘This is a failure of ambition which seriously undermines the Government’s intention to fully implement zero-carbon standards in 2016. As new build is excluded from the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (except self-build), industry was counting on strong carbon target in the Building Regulations to incentivise new-build green heating.

‘This is a real missed opportunity, as it is often much cheaper to install renewable technologies during construction rather than retrofit.’

Commenting on the small reduction in carbon targets, the Heat Pump Association observes, ‘The next step will have to be massive to get the declared target of full carbon neutrality in the domestic sector by 2016 and in non-domestic by 2019. This is delaying the pain, risks reducing the learning curve and will put great strain on technology and training in a short period of time, during the final “sprint”.’

The new regulations introduce target fabric energy efficiency rates for new dwelling, which is seen by CIBSE’s Homes for the Future Group as ‘probably the most important change, as it will affect the optimum building form and drive specifications towards a more passive approach’.

The CIBSE statement also comments, ‘The new consultation on “allowable” solutions is also welcome as it provides an opportunity for the industry to review and influence how carbon off-set measures might be implemented.’

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