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Guide to Building Regulations Part L (Conservation of fuel and power)

Building regulations run from A to P, building regs part L refer to the requirements with regards to conservation of fuel and power.

Since the inception of these regulations in 1984, quite a lot has changed (understandably!) so this guide to Part L building regs will take you through the main changes builders must now adhere to in order to be in accordance with part L regulations.

As with most government documents, the new UK Building Regulations Part L is made up of around 600 pages of information, but the main changes can be boiled down to two rather simple points:

  1. The method of measurement has shifted from elemental U-values to actual CO2 emissions
  2. All domestic buildings need to show a 25% improvement on CO2 emissions over the 2006 standard.

The 25% improvement in Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) is part of the plans to reach zero carbon houses by 2016. In order to reach this target, certain measures need to be put into place to ensure properties are built in a more CO2 friendly way. This means a shift in the design stage towards more information, detail and calculations, as well as handing over more powers to Building Control Officers. Without these new building regulations the chances of us meeting the 2016 goal would be very unlikely.

How do I meet the new building regulations?

The main requirement is to reduce the DER by a minimum of 25%. You can see the planning portal website for more details on what that means for you.

We will use the building regulations insulation as an example. As the new cavity wall construction building regulations now state that simply insulating and sealing them does not count towards the 25% reduction target. This means that other measures must be used in addition to simply insulating and sealing cavity walls. For example, typical cavity block wall with 70mm insulations batts and a 50mm cavity will now need at least 90mm batts.

This change will push the elemental U-value where it needs to be. Building regulations roof insulations will also have changed, the 2006 U-value was 0.16, now it needs to be 0.15. For information on the specific changes visit the governments planning portal website.

What about renewable energy?

Part l of the building regulations encourages the use of renewable energy; however it is worth checking out what you install. For example heat pumps are no longer considered an environmentally friendly option and the CO2 emissions have skyrocketed by 40%, meaning they could potentially have a negative impact on the DER.

Easy ways to reach the 25% improvement could include adding a solar PV system, as it would be contributing to the electricity demand which goes a long way. Another option could be installing a biomass boiler, which has a net zero CO2 emissions, very impressive indeed!

So if you are struggling with the new building regulations then it is definitely worth thinking about renewable energy, as long as it is the right idea installed in the correct manner.

Sources: Planning Portal

Related Tips & Articles: UK Building Regulations, Guide to Building Regulation Part B, Building Regulations Part A

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