The Scottish Government has this week announced that Section 6 – the part of Building Regs which deals with energy efficiency – is going to be revised; with the Target Emission Rate being reduced by around 21% for new houses... jumping to a 43% cut for new commercial units.
Scotland’s emission rates are already the toughest in the UK. To put this into perspective, in August Westminster announced just a 6% reduction on the current emission rates for the English domestic sector, while Wales announced an 8% cut compared to current figures.
What's the go live date?
But, while changes to England and Wales are coming into force this coming April, the changes to Section 6 won’t go live until October 2015.
Full details about changes to Section 6 haven’t been fully released yet, but it’s expected that limiting U-Values will also be reduced as part of these amendments.
So what does this mean in reality? Well the use of low carbon and renewable technology is going to become far more commonplace. Insulation levels across the construction of a building will need to be significantly improved, and the use of air testing to prove the quality of a building is likely to become a very popular tool for lowering the overall emission rate.
Things are going to get far trickier in the commercial sector – creating buildings which use as little energy as possible will be paramount. Installing LED lighting and large photovoltaic panels are also likely to become a common site.
And this isn't the only big announcement on Scottish Building Regs this week... from October 1st, all new dwellings need to meet water efficiency targets in order to comply with Section 3.
Water efficiency targets have been mandatory in England and Wales since 2010. New dwellings need to be designed to use less than 125 litres of mains water per person per day.
The target in Scotland is calculated differently. Rather than working to an overall target, individual fittings must now be installed which do not exceed a certain flow rate.
For example, basin taps must not exceed six litres of water a minute, and toilet flushes must be no higher than 4.5 litres (or an average of 4.5 litres for a dual flush).
Both the new water efficiency target and the impending change to the Target Emission Rate match the details which are currently required for a home to be classified as meeting the Silver Level as outlined in Section 7. This is a set of additional Building Regs which require extra levels to be met on items such as energy, water use, adaptability and fabric efficiencies.
It’s a similar but more basic version of the Code for Sustainable Homes scheme which is currently used in England and Wales.
We’ll keep you updated as more information is released on future changes to Section 6.