Friday, 27 March 2015

Landlords to be forced to improve energy efficiency

The government is planning to use building regulations as a means of increasing take-up of its flagship retrofit scheme, the green deal when it is introduced in October.

The long-awaited consultation on building regulations announced by junior housing minister Andrew Stunell yesterday revealed that the government plans to make landlords undertaking extensions to their homes also carry out energy efficiency works at the same time.

It plans to extend and expand the requirements around consequential improvements in existing buildings where they are ‘technically, functionally and economically feasible’.

The energy efficiency works would be mandatory for all extensions and for the replacement of controlled services or fittings, meaning the replacement of a boiler or a percentage of windows.

Under the £14 billion green deal programme households will be able to receive energy efficiency works on their homes at no upfront cost and then private sector companies will recoup the costs through the resulting savings.

Although the works that will be required by building regulations will not be explicitly tied to the green deal, they would be made available under green deal finance.

Landlords will have to ensure they spend at least 10 per cent of the cost of the planned works on the energy improvement work – however the government hopes they will exceed this by using green deal finance, and, potentially energy company obligation subsidy funding.

Around 200,000 extensions and conversions are carried out a year and the government argues these works increase energy use which should be mitigated across the home.

Mr Stunell claimed the new building regulations would save over £63 million a year for businesses by cutting red-tape and deliver safer and more sustainable buildings.

He added that when the amendments come into force next year, more energy efficient homes could save householders more than £150 a year on energy bills compared with homes being built in May 2010.

Mr Stunell said: ‘The coalition is committed to being the greenest government ever, so improving the energy efficiency of our existing buildings through the green deal, and ensuring that all new homes are zero carbon by 2016 is a top priority.

‘But we need to do this in a way that doesn’t add to the regulatory burden on businesses. So I’m delighted that these much need changes will provide guidance that is both fit for purpose and will cut carbon emissions, whilst also saving money for house holders and businesses alike.’

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