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Govt signals changes to Building Regs

The government is asking for your views about the options for raising domestic boiler standards. It also wants to see evidence of the costs and benefits of wider improvements to the performance of domestic central heating systems, ahead of changes to the Building Regulations planned for October this year.

Its long-waited consultation Heat in Buildings: The future of Heat is open until the end of January and contains specific proposals to improve energy efficiency in homes across England.

BEIS minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe says: “This consultation proposes ways to drive performance of heating systems up and bills down, giving households the benefit of products and standards in line with today’s technical capabilities.

“The proposals set out in this consultation could transform the way people use energy in their homes by giving them greater choice, greater control, and tangible savings on their energy bills. These measures are critical to putting the consumer at the heart of energy policy.”

The consultation sets out actions that aim to transform the way people use their heating systems, giving them more control and new ways to reduce energy bills. They will also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, which the government says is crucial to meeting its carbon budgets.

The government wants views and opinions on measures and policy options that:

  • Keep energy bills as low as possible
  • Ensure the UK has a secure and resilient energy system
  • Reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively at home
  • Avoid unreasonable up-front costs for consumers that
    could discourage home improvements.

Crucially, the government is proposing changes to the minimum requirements that apply when a boiler is installed, to ensure a reasonable level of control to enable homes to optimise comfort and efficiency, and to drive the market for the highest-performing boilers.

It wants to raise the minimum standard for boilers in England, and to require time and temperature controls to be included with every domestic boiler installation in an existing home in England. It is also considering a role for weather compensation in all new boilers in existing homes.

The government is asking for views and evidence on a further range of technologies, which may be incorporated into proposals if the evidence shows their energy and money-saving potential and that they do not place unreasonable costs on consumers:

  • Hydraulic balancing
  • Return water temperatures and radiator sizing
  • Internal system cleanliness.

The BEIS proposals may be implemented through changes to the Building Regulations framework in October 2017, with a three-month period before they come into effect. Minimum requirements associated with domestic boilers are set out in Part L: Conservation of Fuel and Power, with guidance through Approved Document L1B and the Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide, which set out the minimum efficiency for a boiler and the minimum level of control.

This is the same approach that the government took in 2005 which required gas boilers to be high-efficiency products.

You can see the consultation at:
www.gov.uk/government/consultations/heat-in-buildings-the-future-of-heat

Respond by 27 January 2017 at:
https://beisgovuk.citizenspace.com/heat/heat-in-buildings-online-consultation/

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