In the United Kingdom, the government has implemented new regulations for energy efficiency in new housing developments as part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions. The regulations, known as the Building Regulations Approved Document L, set standards for the energy efficiency of new buildings and require that they are built to a higher level of energy efficiency than before.
The standard is set by "Fabric Energy Efficiency" (FEE) which is the total amount of energy needed to heat a building over a year. This standard is set by a target CO2 emissions rate and a target for the building's airtightness.
The first update to the regulations came into effect on the 15 June 2022 with further changes planned for 2025, prior to the full Future Homes regulations which will be adopted in 2030. In short the U-values which assess the thermal performance of a building element are becoming more stringent, (see changes in table below). The current air change rate of 10m3/(h.m2) will be reduced with all new buildings having to undertake air testing to confirm compliance.
In addition the new minimum thermal performance standards also require that new homes are equipped with low-carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps, along with being built with high levels of insulation in walls, roofs, and floors to ensure that heat loss is minimized, and energy consumption is reduced. The regulations also require that new homes are fitted with high-performance windows and doors, and that they are designed to make the most of natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
The regulations aim to ensure that new homes in the UK are more energy efficient and emit fewer greenhouse gases, helping the country to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
To support the changes to Building Regulations, five new approved documents have been published (linked below):