These sections are covered in other documents, so aren't on the Housing Standards Review radar. But the Code for Sustainable Homes is most definitely in the firing line, as are localised planning stipulations for extra energy efficiency.
When Part L 2013 goes live next April, the emission rate will be equivalent to a point between Code Levels 3 and 4, reducing the importance of the Ene 1 category in the CSH.
Elsewhere in the Code, Fabric Energy Efficiency Targets (ENE2) are moving into Part L, Energy Display Devices (ENE3) are now being rolled out by energy suppliers, and will soon be commonplace in our homes. Also, European requirements on the efficiency of white goods have overtaken section ENE5 of the Code, so this is no longer relevant.
The consultation doesn't however mention areas of the CSH such as ecology, construction site impacts and waste management, implying that the industry or separate regulation is now policing these areas. Many believe that this is not the case and are concerned that if the CSH goes, then performance in these areas will slip.
In effect, the consultation is suggesting the Code in its current form has served it’s purpose – to encourage innovation and awareness around sustainability. The Government now considers that regulation alone should be sufficient to ensure the energy efficiency of our new dwellings, and that additional standards are not required.
This also applies to Local Authority Planning conditions which stipulate that a certain percentage of a development’s energy consumption must come from renewable energy. Such conditions will be a thing of the past if the consultation goes ahead in it’s current form. This would certainly reduce paperwork and save time for developers, but will have big impacts on Local Plan, including the London Plan – currently the most stringent and demanding energy efficiency and renewable energy standard.
It’s also important to note that the phasing out of the CSH is unlikely to be immediate. The Consultation makes arrangements for any sites with existing CSH planning conditions or legal agreements (Section 106 or Housing Association contracts) to still be certified. So expect a gradual wind down of the CSH, with existing assessments still be completed.
So do you agree with these proposals are good news for building industry or will environmental standards suffer as a result? You have until October 22nd to have your say!