New homes must now produce 30% less CO2

By Christophe

In June 2022, new Building Regulations came into effect that have a significant impact on new build homes and home improvements. From now on, new homes must produce 30% less carbon emissions than current standards. Those looking to extend or renovate a home will also face more stringent regulations.

To mitigate the higher cost of necessary measures, it’s important to consider energy efficiency from the beginning of a project. The new rules apply to all projects not yet in planning, though plans submitted before 15 June are exempt if work begins before 15 June 2023.

Working with an architect who understands the new energy efficiency standards is more important than ever. The TAS Architects team is working on several projects not yet in planning that will be subjected to the new building regulations. If you’d like to talk to us about your project, get in touch. Meanwhile, here are the highlights of the new regulations.

What the new rules contain

The new rules have sections relating to avoiding overheating, as well as how to reduce energy use. For example, they detail the amount of glazing allowed in a new home or in an extension. It can be a fine balance getting high levels of daylight, without risking too much sun.

Ventilation is also under the spotlight in the new building regulations. An extension cannot reduce the ventilation level of the rest of a home, for example.

The new rules include requirement to use a lower water temperature to deliver the same heat. If you’re doing an extension, you might need to install a new heating system to deliver this. Under these rules, the use of solar or heat pumps is likely to increase as gas is phased out.

Lighting is also under the spotlight, and those building a new home or extending will have to consider lighting design carefully to minimise energy use.

We’re currently creating a planning submission for a family dwelling in Hertfordshire, with a focus on low carbon. It will have a high level of insulation, triple glazing, extremely high air-tightness levels, mechanical ventilation and an air source heat pump. Our aim is to use renewable energy where possible and future-proof the building to allow further renewables to be added.

The need for evidence

New homes now must include more insulation – and self-builders will need to document that this has been done. They will need photographic proof that design details have been implemented in construction.

Those building a new home will also need to work to improved U-values – how much heat is transferred through a structure. They will need to take photos of thermal bridges (places in a building that have a higher level of heat transfer) and the materials used to reduce heat loss.

The cost of these changes

Inevitably, stricter rules on energy efficiency and ventilation will increase costs for home builders in the short term. Using more insulation, for example, will push costs up. Improving thermal bridging will require careful design work.

However, costs can be understood and factored into the overall cost of the project. During detailed design, you can discuss with your architect the most appropriate construction methods. You can consider your choice of materials to meet the regulations while being aware of the cost implications.

Of course, whilst the changes to building regulations come with more considerations and capital costs, they are there to make steps towards a more sustainable way of building and renovating homes. As homes are better designed and performance improves, home owners will benefit from cost savings over time due to the energy saved.

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