The government has launched a raft of updates and proposed updates to the energy efficiency requirements for buildings over the past few months. From a long-awaited update to Part L – the conservation of fuel and power section of the building regulations, to a broader insight into Part L and Part F Ventilation, from 2025 and beyond. It has also introduced a new document to address the newly identified risk of Overheating.

The changes are long overdue with the current building regulations Approved Documents L1A / L2A dating back nearly 10 years to 2013.

There have been minor updates to the document over this period, but in essence, the requirements have remained broadly the same. Plans to update Part L in 2016 were shelved, along with the Code for Sustainable Homes and there has been little change since.

However, political and national sentiment on sustainability and energy efficiency has changed significantly of late. Increasing concern about climate change and co2 levels causing global warming, rising sea levels and extreme weather events around the world have forced the government to address the issue.

And with what is widely considered to be Europe’s worst-performing house and building stock for energy and co2 emissions, there is much room for improvement.

Part L 2020 Interim Update

This update represents the first step towards the Future Homes Standards 2025. It is intended to provide certainty for the industry and help prepare developers, housebuilders and the supply chain for the more stringent Future Homes Standards changes in 2025.

Originally due to launch in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic set this back a year and these new regs will now be effective from 2021. The key points we know so far are:

      • a requirement for 31% less co2 from new homes than in the 2013 regs
      • standards are technically achievable without the use of heat pumps, however, the interim upgrade is intended to start developers considering heat pumps as a heating solution instead of gas boilers
      • the use of new metric, Primary Energy, which is essentially a measure of the energy used to produce, deliver and use the source fuel (gas/electric, oil etc) for heat production
      • the interim requirements should be agreed by September for implementation from April 2022
      • a consultation on the final Future Homes Standards will take place in 2023
      • publication of the final FHS is expected in 2024
      • Future Homes Standards will be implemented in full in 2025

Part F Ventilation and Overheating – residential homes flats and care facilities

The government’s past focus on insulation, air tightness and minimising heat loss from buildings, coupled with global warming and the effects of climate change, means there is a now a recognised risk of overheating in homes. The problem has been exacerbated by the increased occurrence of heatwaves in the last couple of years, particularly in London.

Overheating was first identified as a potential problem and a risk to health back in 2017 by the Climate Change Committee, the independent body which advises the Government on emissions targets, in their second Climate Change Risk Assessment.

The more recent third Climate Change Risk Assessment, published June 2021, rates the ‘risks to human health, wellbeing and productivity from increased exposure to heat in homes and other buildings’ as one of the highest of 8 priorities for adaptation in the next two years.

Chart showing the highest priorities for further adaptation in the next 2 years.


Draft Overheating Approved Document

The introduction of overheating risk standards for new homes are likely to come into force to combat this, with the government recently concluding a consultation on a draft Overheating Approved Document.

Whilst they have not yet responded post-consultation, what we do know is:

      • Overheating analysis is likely to be included in the requirements of Part L
      • There are 2 potential compliance methods –
        • Dynamic Simulation using a location, either in or out of London, and the building type e.g. house, flat or care unit with restrictions on the total area of glazing for each type of building. This is a simplified, low-cost method.
        • Full Dynamic Thermal Analysis to CIBSE TM59 – uses the exact location of the building, more accurate predicted weather data and considers many more variables to enable a more detailed analysis of the building in question. This is a far more in-depth method and a more expensive option.

Part L 2021 Uplift Non- Domestic Buildings – New and Existing

So, what about non-domestic buildings? These will not escape the raft of new regulations either. A recent consultation proposed:

  • a 27% reduction in co2 proposed across the mix of building types
  • many of non-domestic buildings that will exist in 2050 have already been built, therefore the government believes there is significant opportunity in co2 reduction by improving existing buildings
  • as with residential property, the government hopes to introduce Primary Energy as the main metric for measuring co2 in non-domestic buildings

Energy Report is here to help

All in all, the risks from climate change are significant and now, having introduced the legally binding target of Net Zero in 2050, the government is making the legislative changes needed to address the problem and minimise the risks.

These requirements are still being clarified, so to stay informed on the changing building regulations, sign up to receive our regular email updates and follow our LinkedIn page.

If you need energy compliance advice on your next development project, please do not hesitate to contact us.