No, not the big ‘In or out’ question on September the 18th, I am referring to an area where Scotland has been quite independent for some time – Building Regulations.
The Scottish equivalent to the English Part L is something called Section 6 and it, like its English counterpart, has been due for an amendment. There was a consultation on proposed changes that closed on 15th April 2013 and we have just had a response back after 16 months. It seems no matter what side of the border you are, the regulatory wheels turn just as slowly.
Implementation of the proposed changes will not happen until October 2015, so you could be forgiven for perhaps not caring too much right now. However, with the longer term question of what to do about Zero Carbon in 2016, the shape of Section 6 in late 2015 may give us a clue as to just what kind of specification challenge may lay ahead.
The Scotland approach to compliance for dwellings has been based on a recipe approach with the notional dwelling defined by fuel type. Build to the recipe and you are deemed to comply.
So what are the key changes to the new recipe?
- The U-values for all 5 fuel packages are more demanding
- PV has replaced Solar Hot Water and the area of PV cannot exceed 30% of the roof area.
- Waste water heat recovery systems are now defined in the recipe at 45% efficiency and 2 are required for dwellings with a floor area of more than 100 square metre
- A party wall needs to be constructed to give a U-value of 0 rather than the previous value of 0.2. So either solid or fully filled and sealed is the order of the day.
All this will help to give a 21% improvement over the current 2010 requirements.
As Part L 2013 for England was only a 6% reduction in CO2 over 2010, it would seem Scotland is ahead in the race to Zero Carbon.
It remains to be seen who will win the other race but a vote ‘in or out’ won’t change the fact that, when it comes to CO2 reduction, England and Scotland go separate ways.
For the sake of lower energy bills and Global Warming, we must hope that both independent paths are equally effective.
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