SAP2012 was unveiled under a cloak of darkness and without fanfare at the start of June. Until Part L is confirmed and released in England and Wales (and the updated Section 6 in Scotland), the SAP methodology will not be used, so we've got a few months to understand what’s changed, and how that may impact next year’s building projects.
Over this series of blogs, we’ll look at SAP2012 in detail:
When the new SAP methodology goes live, there will be more heating types available for use in the assessment. This means that developments which are using the latest types of heating system will have more accurate EPC ratings.
Most heat pumps which are available in the UK have been tested by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to check efficiency when used in the home (rather than relying on factory tests). For those systems which haven’t been tested, or when product information isn't known, default efficiency should be used in the SAP assessment. That bit isn't new... but this is...
If the heat pump feeds into a wet system, and is not fitted by an MCS approved installer (Micro-generation Certification Scheme), then the assumed efficiency is made worse – in some cases the efficiency is nearly halved! At construction, the SAP assessor must be provided with the MCS certificate for the installation, otherwise the worse efficiency must be used to produce the EPC.
The reason for this adjustment is reassurance... if a heat pump is installed by somebody who is not adequately trained, field studies have shown the efficiency of the units tend to be much lower.
As heating is a key part of the SAP assessment, you want to make sure the efficiency used in SAP is as high as possible, so make sure your installer is MCS registered for SAP2012 assessments.
Another new inclusion to SAP – and this can be used in the current methodology also – is a solar thermal system which assists to heat a home, rather than providing hot water only.
This solar panels feed into a large thermal store which is shared by a heat pump. Together, the two devices provide enough heating for the dwelling. Up until now, the SAP assessment could only treat solar thermal panels as a way of providing free hot water to a house.
Air Source Hot Water
Under SAP2012, it will be possible to use an air source heat pump to provide the hot water for a dwelling only. Currently, SAP only allows heat pumps to provide hot water if they provide heat to the house also.
Retention Storage Heaters
Finally, a new type of advanced storage heater has been included into SAP which has functions such as timer, room thermostat and the ability to predict tomorrow’s heat demand so it only stores what it needs. Sounds like clever stuff, but as with any storage heater in SAP, it’s very unlikely to help you get L1A compliance!
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