New building standards to cut CO2

9th August 2013

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  • Ecodesign



Revised energy standards for new non-domestic buildings will reduce carbon emissions by 9% and reduce annual fuel bills for large businesses by more than £60,000

The planned changes to Part L of the Building Regulations, to come into force in April 2014, will also cut carbon from new build homes by 6%.

Announcing the revisions, which take account of the recast EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2010/31/EU), communities minister Don Foster said: “[The] measures mean businesses and householders will not only benefit from reduced energy bills but they will also know they are doing their bit to tackle climate change.”

The government estimates that 6.4 million tonnes of CO2 should be saved as a result of the changes, which include requirements for better fabric insulation and more efficient heating and lighting.

Although the building industry largely welcomed the changes, many were critical of the three-month delay in the announcement and the plan’s lack of ambition.

There can be no excuses for the length of time this has taken, but finally the industry has the clarity on Part L that it craves,” commented John Alker, director of policy and communications at the UK Green Building Council.

He pointed out, however, that the planned tightening of the standards, particularly for non-domestic buildings, were less than government’s previous “preferred options”.

Foster also confirmed that the government had no plans to alter the rules for existing buildings, a decision criticised by Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at RICS. “The massive issue of existing properties energy efficiency and embodied carbon remains unanswered. The government simply cannot afford to take its eye off the ball when it comes to carbon, given the overall climate targets we need to hit.”

Buildings account for about half of the UK’s carbon emissions.


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