Knauf Insulation has welcomed the release of the Approved Documents for Part L of the Building Regulations but warns that there is still much to be done along the road to zero carbon homes
Published last week by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Approved Documents give guidance on achieving the tightened energy efficiency standards that will come into force in April 2014 – six months later than expected.
The changes place a stronger focus on improving the thermal efficiency of the building fabric but the standards are considerably lower than the levels proposed in the 2011 consultation, which suggested an eight per cent improvement on the 2010 regulations for new homes and 20 per cent for non-domestic properties. Instead, the 2014 changes will require a six per cent improvement for new homes, while the figure for non-domestic properties has been cut to just nine per cent.
John Sinfield, Managing Director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, commented: “Of course we are extremely supportive of the move towards a ‘fabric first’ approach, but the changes could go much further. The road to zero carbon homes by 2016 has been plagued by delays and legislative indecision. Indeed, as the transitional provisions for the regulatory changes mean many homes will continue to be built to previous standards for quite some time, perhaps the real question should be whether we will see any zero carbon homes before 2020?
“Taken in conjunction with the poor performance of the Green Deal, the ‘greenest government ever’ seems to be in danger of missing its carbon reduction targets completely. If there is to be any chance of avoiding this, decisive action needs to be taken to improve the efficiency of ALL the UK’s housing stock, both new build and refurbishment. This can be achieved by the swift introduction of significant demand drivers, such as linking Stamp Duty to energy efficiency performance, in order to drive schemes such as ECO and the Green Deal forwards.”