Daniel Metcalfe
architecturedesignplanning
Copyright Daniel Metcalfe 2013

Changes to Approved Document Part L

April 6, 2014

Today is the day when unregistered applications are obliged to comply with latest thermal regulations under Part L. This is the next small step made by the government toward every new home being ‘zero carbon’. This effectively means that in net terms the home uses no fossil fuels and is thus self sustaining. This can be achieved through super insulation, as well as on site heat and power generation through solar cells or heat pumps. Having designed several low carbon homes over recent years I welcome this baby step toward making this mandatory. My only gripe is the relaxation on the definition of zero carbon, which in all likelihood will mean that developers can ‘carbon offest’ by planting trees or other spurious methods of shirking truly energy efficient housing. This practice believes that energy efficiency is one of the major issues facing the construction industry and would welcome a tougher line on this, for instance to include allowances on embodied energy (the energy involved in making the building). This is not purely about saving the environment but also has practical benefits as we approach a time when energy prices are increasingly dictated by foreign powers from an ever-dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

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