Since the treasury announcement that the 2016 target to meet Zero-Carbon Homes Standards within building regulations was to be scrapped and buildings energy policy to be kept ‘under review’, Many in the sustainability and construction industry have been wondering what the future for Zero carbon standards is likely to be, particularly with the requirements of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) meaning member states must introduce ‘Zero-Energy’ standard for new buildings by 2020.
The government released amendments to Approved Document Part L of the Building regulations this month, without much noise or announcement. And for the most part this was well justified as the amendments amount to little else that re-phrasing of calculation methodologies to clarify some areas.
However, there has been an unannounced addition within paragraph 1.1 relating to policy 25B Zero-Energy Homes. The note details:
Note: Regulation 25B ‘Nearly zero-energy requirements for new buildings’ will not come into force until 2019 at the earliest. Statutory guidance on how to comply with regulation 25B is not included within this approved document and will be provided nearer to the time that regulation 25B comes into force.
It seems therefore that at best the introduction of ‘Zero Carbon’ or ‘Zero Energy’ Homes Standards will coincide with the target originally set for all non-domestic buildings within the UK. This will still be in time to meet EPBD targets but only just. What is more likely, is that any Zero Energy equivalent standard will not be introduced until after this date and that the EU referendum may have a substantial bearing on how long we may have to wait beyond 2019.
- A remain vote would mean the UK would adhere to its EU commitments, including the EPBD target, likely resulting in zero-energy standards being introduced sooner rather than later.
- A BREXIT vote could potentially lead to the delay of implementation of the zero-energy standard.
What is clear is that no details on how energy performance standards are likely to be improved in any build up towards zero energy homes has been provided.
25th April 2016