The Government has announced to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. With under 14 years to go, it is an ambitious goal which the Climate Change Committee says will require big changes.
Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying at Robinson & Hall explains…
This is a significant announcement and will have widespread implications for all building owners and the construction industry. It will also have huge ramifications for the whole property sector and how building projects (however large or small) are carried out over the next few years.
This will bring many legislation issues to the forefront and I summarise a few of the recent stories you may have read over the past few months:
• By 2025 all new homes will be banned from installing gas and oil boilers and will instead be heated by low-carbon alternatives.
• Fossil fuel boilers will be phased out over the next 15 years. By the mid-2030s all new boilers will need to be low carbon. Given that current boilers are estimated to last 12-15 years, any new gas boiler fitted now is almost certain to be your last.
• Technologies such as hydrogen boilers, electric heat pumps and district heating schemes will become the new normal. These all bring new challenges on how they will be integrated into our homes and places of work.
• If you are thinking of installing renewable heating in your home, you have less than a year to benefit from the current domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The Government backed grant scheme which pays you for heating your home with a non-fossil fuel source is due to expire for new applications on 31st March 2022.
• The Government has set a target for all homes being marketed to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C rating by 2028. Given current estimates, this is likely to mean around two-thirds of existing homes will require retrofitting potentially with a change of heating system as well as upgrading insulation. Non-compliance may make it extremely difficult to secure a mortgage for properties.
• All non-domestic rented buildings need to meet an EPC B rating by 2030 (currently the requirement is EPC E rating). The Government is currently consulting on how best to implement this and to improve the compliance and enforcement process for EPCs. It is estimated the change will affect one million properties.
• Since 1st April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let domestic properties covered by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations if they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place.
The residential sector is one of the biggest emitters of carbon. According to a recent reports, almost 25% of the nation’s entire energy consumption is used to heat our homes. Therefore, retrofitting domestic properties and upgrading standards for new builds is recognised as a cost-effective route to achieving UK decarbonisation targets. This is in addition to all the health and social benefits derived from such a programme.
If we are to meet net zero by 2050 then the construction industry will have an important part to play. Many existing owners may not share the enthusiasm of the Government when retrofitting requirements come to be addressed, however they may not have much choice if they wish to rent or develop their properties.
In the past, the Government has tried to incentivise owners with grants such as the Feed in Tariff, the Renewable Heat Incentive and, more recently, the infamous debacle of the Green Homes Grant. There has been lots of speculation on how the Government is going to meet these targets and we wait to see what changes it is likely to make through further incentives or enforced regulation.
What this all points to is that all new building works and construction projects will soon need to comply with more stringent fabric and energy efficient heating measures. More than ever it is critical you obtain the correct advice to ensure your development not only complies with current legislation but will also comply with the impending legislation in years to come.
For more information or to find out how Robinson & Hall can help, please contact Robert Franklin, Head of Architecture & Building Surveying on 01234 362917 or email email@example.com