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Upcoming Changes to Part L - Renewables PV

For those of you who build houses on a regular basis, you’ll be all too familiar with the idea that renewable and low carbon technologies are finding their way into standard specifications for houses.

All kinds of energy saving devices from photovoltaic (PV) panels to flue gas heat recovery systems are becoming less of a futuristic concept for developers, and more the norm in the standard specification notes.

This is because Target Emission Rates for new houses are getting tighter. The last time the figure was lowered was in 2010, and with the Government planning to get us building to a zero carbon standard in just three years’ time, it’s clear that we’re due another reduction in emission targets for new homes.

The lower the emission rate, the more likely the renewables....

The lower the emission rate gets, the harder it will become for builders to ignore the idea of renewable additions... it’s already very difficult to show compliance without considering some form of low or renewable device.

In fact, often it can be seen as more cost effective to install something like a small solar thermal array instead of ploughing extra cost into additional insulation levels and improved heating controls.

There are several consultation documents circulating at the moment, full of discussions on how the Target Emission Rate is going to be reduced even further when the next update is implemented, which could be as early as this October.

Will PV panels be included as standard?

There is nothing to say that renewable technology is becoming compulsory, but if the Welsh consultation notes are anything to go by, the new Target Emission Rate will have PV panels included as standard.

This doesn’t mean the installation of PV will be mandatory, but if you don’t opt in, you’ll need to balance the SAP by making big improvements elsewhere.

If this consultation is passed as it stands, the new target SAP will have a minimum of 0.02 kWp of PV per m2 added in – in other words, a typical 90sqm house would need about 12 sqm of PV to break even on the SAP.

This addition of PV to the Target Emission Rate would apply to all newly built dwellings unless a biomass heating system is installed. That means new homes with heat pumps in place of gas boilers would still be targeted with PV panels.

The details of new Target Emission Rates for England and Scotland haven’t been released yet.  Look out for further blogs as more information becomes available - even better, why not subscribe to our feeds?  

Jon Ponting

Author: Jon Ponting

This article was published by Jon Ponting on 16.01.2013.