Part L proposals could make buildings less energy efficient

 Part L, Building Regulations, LETI, architects, energy efficiency

Proposed changes to building regulations will make buildings less energy efficient, according to groups of engineers and architects.

The government consultation into Parts L and F that concluded in February includes a proposal to remove the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard used to assess the overall performance of the building in favour of a calculation based on the reduced amount of carbon in grid electricity. In theory, this would mean a building that failed to meet the current regulations would now pass.

The Architects Climate Action Network has written to housing minister Robert Jenrick condemning the proposed changes as “completely inadequate in the context of the climate and ecological emergency as declared by this government”.

The group said the changes would “act as a barrier to the UK meeting its carbon emissions targets” and said the FEES should be upgraded, not scrapped. Further, the reliance on carbon factors would disguise poor design standards.

Local authorities may also have their current powers to set their own energy efficiency standards removed under the proposals.

The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) has also voiced its concern over some of the proposals in Part L and the Future Homes Consultation.

Its statement is that: “The proposals for Part L 2020 are likely to result in a step backwards, in a climate where we need a huge leap forward.”

The group, which represents a network of over 1,000 built environment professionals is working to put the UK on the path to a ‘zero carbon future.’ Elementa Consulting’s Clara Bagenal George has been at the forefront of establishing LETI.

One of the main concerns the group has with the proposed changes to Part L is that it does not point to a change in calculation methodology - or point to one in the future. It states: “The Part L existing method was not intended as a tool to achieve zero carbon and should not be used as such.”

Reflecting the views of ACAN, LETI says that ‘a home in 2020 could be less insulated than a home under the 2013 Building Regulations. The use of an energy efficient heating system has the ability to mask fabric performance.” LETI also agrees strongly that the FEES should remain in place - with notional fabric U-values and airtightness further improved.

LETI believes that by 2030 all new buildings should operate at annual net zero carbon emissions.

Picture credit: Shutterstock/ Dade72

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