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Consequential improvements to be included in revised Building Regs
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A consultation on changes to Building Regulations has today been announced by the Department of Communities and Local Government. The news that they will finally include a requirement on consequential improvements was welcomed by WWF.

Consequential improvements require those householders undertaking extensions to their property to upgrade the energy efficiency of the existing property to the same standard as the new extension, thereby reducing the carbon emissions from that property.

Zoe Leader, sustainable homes policy officer at WWF-UK, said: "We are delighted that upon the third time of trying, this requirement has actually made it into the consultation document. WWF has long argued for the need to include this simple yet effective measure to support energy efficiency uptake in the domestic sector and with the Green Deal imminent this is now even easier. "

"The need has never been greater for the UK to cut its carbon emissions and this will need a concerted effort across all Government departments. Today’s announcement sends a positive signal that Government is serious about the Green Deal and improving our housing stock across the piece and we hope to see more of this joined up policy approach in our move to a low carbon future in the UK."

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said changes to the country's building regulations would make new homes, shops and offices warmer and cheaper to run, support growth and take England a step closer to meeting its bold low carbon commitments.

The consultation published today, and developed together with the construction industry, will help reduce the regulatory cost for businesses, and pave the way for the introduction of zero-carbon homes from 2016, he claimed.

The proposals aim to promote the roll out of the Green Deal this Autumn, by stimulating demand, whilst helping to cut both carbon emissions and energy bills by promoting energy efficiency in buildings.

Stunnell said "Building Regulations aim to ensure that buildings are safe and sustainable whilst helping to secure future growth and employment by means of a robust and effective bedrock of regulation".

The government has previously announced that from 2016 all new homes in England will be built to zero carbon standards with new non-domestic buildings following in 2019, but there has been confusion as to what those standards actually entail.

The government has now set out expectations that non-domestic buildings deliver a 20 per cent improvement on emissions, a level which would probably require the installation of some form of onsite renewables.

Meanwhile, new homes could see 'absolute' energy, but not carbon, targets. The government's preferred option is 39kWh/m2/year for mid-terrace houses and apartments and 46kWh/m2/year for detached and semi-detached houses, which should result in an additional carbon saving of eight per cent on 2010 levels. Cuts as high as 26 per cent could be made if solar panels or other forms of renewable energy generation are added.

Homeowners may additionally benefit from an extension to the range of simple, electrical DIY jobs that can be carried out without the need for a building inspector, reducing costs for both consumers and installers and the burden on local authorities who inspect work.

The consultation opens today and responses can be provided up until 27 April 2012, other than the proposals related to the Green Deal where responses have been requested by 27 March 2012.

The government will consider the responses and aim for new building regulations to come into force in 2013, although some changes might be brought in earlier to support the Green Deal framework.

The proposed 2013 changes take the next step towards the 2016 zero carbon standard for homes by tightening the carbon dioxide targets for new buildings and introducing specific energy efficiency targets for new homes.

An 'Easier to Read' summary of the 2012 consultation on changes to building regulations can be found here: (PDF, 212kb).

Rating:  4 (3)  Add feedback ...

 Positive review of this story
2 Feb 2012, 3:06 AM 
Nice in theory
Would love to do this when we build our little conservatory at the back of our house, but we live in a Victorian end of terrace with solid walls and we have already done what we reasonably can to minimise our heat efficiency, such as replacement double glazed sashes, energy efficient boiler etc. Can't afford any more.
 Negative Review of this story
 peter  1 Feb 2012, 9:27 PM 
well hats just killed the home improvement industry
cost of extension - £30k
cost of improving rest of house - 50k
total cost of new extension - £80k

errr. no thanks.

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