New Building Regulations will deprive householders of fuel bill savings
04 June 2014 Immediate Release
Industry expressed dismay at today’s decision, announced in the Queen’s speech, to further water down previous intentions for energy requirements of new homes from 2016.
Today’s announcement has confirmed a significant scaling back of the original intention that all new homes built from 2016 onwards would be “zero carbon”. Instead the Government has now confirmed that only a 44% reduction in CO2 emissions will be required, and that this will only apply to 70% of new homes built.
Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said:
“This latest announcement leaves the zero carbon homes policy in tatters. It only applies to 70% of the market, and it seems the Government is content to settle in 2016 at a level of ambition the previous Government set out to achieve by 2013.
“At times when household energy bills are right at the top of consumer concerns, this policy will mean higher energy bills are locked in for decades to come, and create a need for a future generation to retrofit those homes if we are ever to decarbonise the housing stock permanently.
“This Government has consistently restated its commitment to zero carbon homes by 2016. The Government’s own figures do not stack up, do not follow their own guidelines, and use incorrect industry data. Ministers are being wholly disingenuous with the public in claiming that today’s announcement gets anywhere close to fulfilling that commitment. More seriously, this marks another nail in the coffin of investor confidence for the energy-related parts of the construction industry’s supply chain”
Notes to editors
- The Sustainable Energy Association is a member based industry body offering innovative policy solutions that link up building-level technologies and the wider energy system to achieve a low carbon, secure energy future for the UK, benefits for UK consumers, and commercial growth for businesses working in the sector. See more at: http://sustainableenergyassociation.com
- In 2007 Government introduced a policy for all new homes to be constructed to meet a zero carbon standard from 2016. The Zero Carbon Buildings policy forms part of the Government’s wider strategy to achieving the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) target mandating an 80% reduction in CO2 from the 1990 levels, used as a baseline to 2050.
- The policy, requires all new homes from 2016 to mitigate, through various measures, all the carbon emissions produced on-site as a result of the regulated energy use. This includes energy used to provide space heating and cooling, hot water and fixed lighting, as outlined in Part L1A of the Building Regulations. Emissions resulting from cooking and ‘plug-in’ appliances such as computers and televisions are not being addressed as part of this policy.
- The policy was expected to be implemented through progressive tightening of the Building Regulation (Part L). In 2013 Government announced that Building Regulations 2013 would require a 6% improvement in new homes on 2010 carbon compliance standards (instead of 26% improvement – halfway point to ZCH in 2016).
- The 2016 legislation will not apply to housing built in small developments (those less than 50 homes) and companies will be allowed to buy exemptions through ‘Allowable Solutions’. For developers that choose not to go ‘zero-carbon’ they can instead build a home with emissions 44% lower than 2006 levels and make up the remainder by contributing to ‘green schemes’ at a cost of £38-£90 per tonne of carbon saved. Ultimately this backtracks on the Government’s original promise of all homes being required to meet zero carbon standards by 2016.
- Small developments make up c.30% of the house building market; as a result of this legislation only two thirds of all new homes will be required to meet the zero carbon targets in 2016. This has a significant impact not only on industry supply chains which have been gearing up to deliver on this target but also on new build home owners who will be faced with higher fuel bills as a result.
- Furthermore, the 44% reduction on 2006 standards is actually the same as the ‘halfway’ to zero carbon approach given as an option on the Building Regulations 2013 consultation. So of the third of homes built to the ‘zero carbon’ standard – this will actually only be half the standard originally proposed with the remainder being made up through Allowable Solutions. Clarity is required on what Allowable Solutions will look like and how they will contribute to carbon savings in the built environment.
- The Sustainable Energy Association is part of a campaign group including ACE, CHPA, STA, REA, WWF and BEAMA to oppose changes to parts of the Planning & Energy Act 2008 which will remove the ability for Local Authorities to specify higher energy efficiency standards than Building Regulations in new build. In addition, the group argues that calculations made in the Part L impact assessment relied on incorrect assumptions and out of date data. As a result, a £21 million net benefit to the economy was ignored as was the impact on household bills. For more information see our Green Energy Broadsheet, Homes fit for the future publication and press release on the Planning & Energy Act changes.