Climate change urgency speeds up green building regs

Badly insulated houses must soon become a thing of the past if Britain is to deliver on its carbon cut pledges. This is the message the Government sent out by speeding up the transition to more demanding energy efficiency regulations for the building industry.

When new Part L building regulations come into force on April 6, energy efficiency requirements for new buildings will rise by 20% for dwellings, and by up to 27% for other buildings.

Given changes already made in 2002 this will give a 40% rise from four years ago.

But there are exceptions – notably for building plans approved before the changes come into force.

When regulations are altered, the building industry is normally given a three-year transition period, during which the construction of buildings approved before the change can start and still fall under the old regulations.

This time, the transition period will only last 12 months.

The changes will be fast-tracked because of the urgency of tackling climate change, housing and planning minister Yvette Cooper said.

“Tackling climate change is one of the biggest long-term challenges we face. That is why on this occasion we need the building industry to comply with the new regulations much more rapidly than normal.”

“These new regulations, combined with those in 2002, deliver a 40 per cent increase in energy efficiency standards in just four years, and cut householders’ fuel bills too.”

Buildings currently account for 40% of UK CO2 emissions. The new regulations aim to cut these by setting maximum CO2 emission limits for whole buildings.

By Goska Romanowicz

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