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Part L: Target Emission Rate

24 Oct 2019

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In this series of articles, we aim to answer some of your questions about the upcoming changes to Approved Documents L and F, SAP methodology and the Future Homes Standard.

Current proposals suggest these regulations will be coming into force in England from October 2020. Contact us with your own questions about the regulation changes, or to discuss our training seminars and workshops.

 

What is the Target Emission Rate?

This is the standard approach used in the UK to cap energy efficiency levels in new buildings.

The Target Emission Rate is a pre-set building specification. Developers need to make sure their preferred specification doesn’t produce higher level of carbon emissions than the target. If it does, they won’t achieve compliance with building regulations.

Under current proposals, AD L 2020 will introduce a new notional specification with tougher standards than previous versions. Depending on the outcome of the public consultation this could add up to a 31% reduction. To put this into context, the previous AD L in 2013 introduced just a 6% reduction in emissions. A 31% jump is a big step which people throughout the industry won’t be able to ignore.

But it may not be as scary as it sounds as changes within the SAP methodology may help…

The most notable change is how environmentally friendly electricity has become. When AD L was last updated the UK was still reliant on coal with only a small part of overall demand met by wind and solar farms.

In the last six years the UK has seen a staggering shift away from fossil fuels. In 2018 more than half our electricity came from renewables and nuclear.

This means electricity is now a greener fuel than gas, having the knock-on effect that electric heating systems of any kind will perform better than gas boilers.

But, before you purchase a room full of panel heaters, read our other articles on Household Affordability and Target Primary Energy as these new targets aren’t going to make life easy for builders who want to take this path.

Another proposed change to the Target Emission Rate is the removal of the ‘fuel factor’ allowance. This currently relaxes the TER for homes which can’t connect to gas (it was designed to help rural dwellings achieve compliance by giving dispensation for using oil or electric heating systems).

Moving forward there’ll be no such allowance. This brings building regulations in line with Government commitments to phase out high-carbon fuel systems (in other words, oil). Developers can still use these heating systems providing they find a way to offset the additional CO2, using heat pumps instead of oil boilers would seem a more viable solution.

Make sure you read our related articles on other Part L targets.

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