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This July saw the Government’s unveiling of the changes to Part L of the Building Regulations bringing mixed reactions across the industry. While we were all relieved to finally have some clarity on Part L, that clarity was tainted with some confusion and disappointment.

Under the latest revisions, new build domestic homes will have to be 6% more efficient than under current regulations. This falls short of the Government’s original proposal to reduce carbon emission standards by 8%. The changes also saw efficiency standards for non-domestic buildings improve by 9% - a significant compromise on the originally proposed 20% increase.

This really does seem like a small step towards hitting the carbon neutrality in new build homes targeted for 2016 and non-domestic by 2019. However, no matter what the changes are, the underlining conclusion is that buildings have to be ‘greener,’ and if we are to reach these targets, intelligent, responsive, energy-efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems must be included as part of the ‘solution.’

It’s good to know then, that radiator technology has advanced dramatically in recent years with the biggest area of improvement being energy-efficiency and the introduction of Low-H₂0 heat emitters. These have less than 5% of the thermal mass of traditional radiators and operate with 90% less water running through them - meaning they buffer less heat and react at least three times faster to fluctuations in temperatures.

Along with the motivation to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) level 4, or BREEAM ‘Excellent’ buildings, these changes to Part L will undoubtedly force even greater coordination between architect and heating and ventilation engineers from the very beginning of the planning process.

To ensure the advanced heating and ventilating technologies on offer, are utilised to their full potential to make the environmental impact required, we – in the HVAC industry - have to commit ourselves to working closely with architects and give them the dedicated design and problem-solving support that they are going to need throughout not only the construction phase of a project, but the initial designing too.

While the carbon reduction targets are undoubtedly a step in the right direction towards reducing our country’s carbon emissions, they are quite significantly less than first proposed and, as some in the industry have quoted as “not challenging.” However, I don’t believe there is any reason not to aim beyond these standards. We all believe we can do better, so let’s!

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