All new houses and buildings in England must have energy saving features such as better fabric insulation and more efficient heating and lighting under rules finally announced today in Parliament.
Exasperated energy saving campaigners say the rule was due to kick in by April 2013 and possibly even earlier but conceded it was “better late than never”.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ new energy standards are designed to trim £200 from a new home’s typical fuel bill and more than £60,000 from large businesses’ energy spend, compared to build standards before 2010.
England has a target to build only zero carbon homes from 2016 onwards. Government says the toughened up measures – “Part L of the Building Regulations” – will help keep to this. The measures come into force in April 2014.
Communities Minister Don Foster said: “Businesses will also benefit with new rules to make buildings such as offices, shops, warehouses and pubs more energy efficient.”
The Government claims this will lead to a 6% cut in carbon emissions for new build homes and a 9% cut for non-domestic buildings.
No changes are being made to rules on existing homes as these are expected to be covered by the Green Deal.
Andrew Warren, Director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy said: “461 days is believed to be the longest time any government department has ever taken responding to a time sensitive public consultation. Still, and grudgingly, better late than never”.
Building firms complained to the Communities Secretary in February about losing business because of the delay, after investing in training and parts based on a timetable which was not kept to, suggested Mr Warren.