Do you know how to be energy efficient?

 

 

 

 

Energy Saving Week is a national campaign with the aim to help encourage energy saving measures and cut down on fuel costs. During the current energy crisis with several suppliers failing, it is essential we are all aware of the best ways to reduce energy bills and share information for all to keep warm this winter. The Energy Saving Week event is created in partnership with Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The following tips will help save money by saving energy in the home:

Kitchen and bathroom 

  • Take simple steps to save money in the kitchen. You could save around £28 a year by cutting back the washing machine and dishwasher use by one cycle a week, and only filling the kettle with the water you need.
  • Other simple steps you can take in the kitchen include using the right hob size for your pan, keeping lids on pots and pans, cooking food in batches in the oven and eating for lunch/dinner the next day, and leaving the oven door open after cooking to let the residual warmth heat the air around.
  • Ensuring food cools down before putting it in the fridge also helps, as the fridge won’t have to work so hard to cool the food down.
  • Cutting your shower time by just one minute can make a big difference. If everyone in a four-person household with a water meter did this, you could save £50 a year!
  • Switching to a water efficient shower head could save a four-person household with a water meter around £80 on gas and water bills – quite a saving!

Appliances and lighting 

  • Looking for a quick and easy way to save money? Turn your appliances off instead of leaving them on standby – you could save £40 a year, and you’ll be saving energy too.
  • Are you guilty of leaving lights on? Turning lights off when you’re not using them, even just for a few seconds, could save you £14 a year on your bills. It all adds up.
  • If it’s time to replace a lightbulb, go for an LED. Replacing all your bulbs with LEDs would cost the average household around £145, but you’ll save £35 a year on your bills.

Heating and draught-proofing 

  • Feeling a chill? Unless your home is very new, you’ll lose some heat through draughts. Draught-proofing could save you £30 a year on your bills, and your home will feel warmer.
  • Don’t let heat escape through your chimney – installing a chimney draught excluder could save you around £20 a year on your bills and make your home feel more comfortable.
  • More than half of the money spent on fuel bills goes on heating and hot water. Try turning your room thermostat down by just one degree – you could save around £65 a year.
  • It pays to be in control of your heating. Installing and using a room thermostat, programmer, and thermostatic radiator valves could save you around £85 a year.
  • Close the curtains to keep in the heat, and tuck curtains in, especially if your radiators are underneath the windows so that your heating is funnelled into the room.

Check out the Energy Saving Trust’s website to learn more about saving energy and money: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/hub/quick-tips-to-save-energy

AES Sustainability Consultants have a team dedicated to improving the energy performance of properties undergoing refurbishment or conversion works who can help ensure that energy and carbon savings are cost-effectively maximised. All the EPCs we produce contain additional suggestions on how to improve the property’s energy performance and therefore reduce bills e.g. through the installation of PV panels, and include ‘typical installation costs’ and ‘typical yearly savings’ to help guide cost-effective decision making.

Please contact AES for advice on your projects.

Building Regulations update – Part L, O and S

In December 2021 the Government published the long-awaited update to Part L, confirming the energy, carbon and fabric standards which will be required once the Regulations are in force. Our summary document provides the key highlights and some commentary on the additional requirements set by the new Part O addressing overheating risk, and Part S setting requirements for electric vehicle charging.

Please contact AES to discuss the implications of these new standards for your development.

An Odd Sock Team Meeting

Celebrating World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) this year was inspired by one of our staff members, who’s 3 year old son Jesse received a post-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome at four weeks old.

WDSD occurs annually and presents a unique opportunity for families, advocates, professionals and organisations such as ourselves to both celebrate and raise awareness of Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome also known as Trisomy 21 is a condition where a child is born with an extra chromosome by chance. People with Down Syndrome will likely have a varied level of additional needs, but can and do lead full and rewarding lives.

This year WDSD has sought to highlight a number of issues, including giving people with Down Syndrome the chance to shine through employment. Jesse, like any other child has his challenges, but he is a very happy little chap who brings joy to all and has huge potential. One day when he enters the work place, we can only hope there are employers out there who are willing to give him a chance, like Simone in this fab new video and sung by none other than Sting! ‘The Hiring Chain’ – Take a look! THE HIRING CHAIN performed by STING | World Down Syndrome Day 2021 – YouTube

Here’s how our Odd Sock meeting turned out! Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2021.

MHCLG published their long awaited consultation on overheating in January 2021

The proposal adopts a risk-based assessment which distinguishes between Greater London (Significant Risk) and the rest of England (Moderate Risk). Depending on the fabric elements (glazing exposed to the outside) and the provision of cross ventilation, the ability to limit solar gains and the removal of excess heat must be proven using the simplified methodology. A simplified assessment means that some design restrictions would be applied, or alternatively compliance can be demonstrated through dynamic simulation.

AES Sustainability Consultants have looked at practical examples of what the implications of the simplified method could look like. Outside of London, we do not anticipate any major problems meeting the maximum glazed area. The challenge for the designer will rather lie in the provision of sufficient free area for natural ventilation.

We welcome the proposed new method as it will provide an incentive to address maximum glazing and minimum free area early in the design process but also allow the flexibility to go to dynamic simulation assessment. Please click here for further information on the consultation response.

Our Coronavirus Update

AES Sustainability Consultants has continued to closely monitor the development of COVID-19 in the UK. We aim to keep our customers and our staff as informed as possible.

We want to reassure you, our customers, that we are taking the appropriate action where necessary to ensure continuity of business and maintain our high level of service.

Some of the specific steps we have taken are:

  • We have the technology infrastructure in place for our entire business to work remotely.  This has been tested and worked well during the initial lock down restrictions, meaning we can quickly revert to this way of working should we be required to shut our office again.
  • We have the ability to stay connected using Telephone, E-mails, Skype, Zoom and Teams.
  • All points of contact remain the same.
  • We have reviewed our business to identify critical services and taken steps to secure these (e.g. EPC production for CML).
  • Our staff receive weekly updates.
  • All our site engineers have been given detailed guidance about what measures to take to ensure they minimise the risk of contracting or spreading the virus when visiting sites. They will all comply with any site-specific measures put in place.
  • All our consultants have been requested to work from home until further notice with just the administrative staff working from the office. Our employees know what action to take if they or anyone they have come into contact with have any symptoms.
  • Please note, our office remains open until further notice.

We appreciate that things are likely to get challenging again over the coming weeks but we are prepared and we are here to help. If you have any concerns please do get in touch.

Kind regards,

Fraser Hall
Managing Director 

2019 M3 User Group

Presentation SlideBuilding Sustainable Homes

On Tuesday we took part in the 2019 M3 User Group event at The Crystal, one of the world’s most sustainable buildings, achieving Outstanding BREEAM accreditation and Platinum LEED accreditation. This event was a gathering of social housing providers from around the UK, including development reporting and maintenance professionals.

There were a series of interesting speakers discussing the challenges facing this sector, including our very own Principal Sustainability Consultant, Silvio Junges.

Silvio presented on Building Sustainable Homes and went onto highlight the changes in the Part L consultation document; which will effect all developers but particularly those working in the social and affordable housing markets.

Mike Fisher, Head of Technical at A2Dominion, a fellow panellist, explained how early engagement with AES Sustainability Consultants ensures that cost effective sustainable solutions can be implemented at an early stage and managed throughout the build to ensure compliance and a reduction to the design As-Built performance gap.

If you would like to discuss the proposed changes to Part L, please Contact Us.

Constructing Excellence South West

Constructing Excellence Logo

AES Sustainability Consultants is pleased to hold a membership for Constructing Excellence South West.

By being part of the Constructing Excellence network, we are showing our commitment to improving the performance of the UK construction industry through collaborative working.

The forums we have chosen to sit on are: Health & Wellbeing, Quality and Innovation & Sustainability.

If you would like more information, go to www.constructingexcellencesw.org.uk/

 

New Part L & F Consultation

Following months of speculation after the release of SAP 10.0 the Government has published the first of two Approved Document L (conservation of fuel and power) consultations and the BRE has published SAP 10.1. The release of these consultations has been anticipated for some time, introducing plans for a significant improvement in carbon dioxide emissions over current standards as well as including changes to Part F (Ventilation), air tightness and improving the ‘as built’ performance of the constructed home.

Energy efficiency requirements

In response to the new UK law which targets to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, the proposed draft Approved Document aims to provide the roadmap to future energy standards. Two options are being discussed on how to meet this target. The preferred approach is a 31% reduction in carbon emissions when compared to current standards (option 2), with the second approach suggesting a less demanding 20% reduction (option 1). These are considered to be stepping stones to the 75-80% reduction targets in the Future of Housing Consultation. Each option is provided with a potential specification in order to meet these requirements but is clear that a wide variety of approaches to meet these performance targets are expected.

Transitional phase

In the past new Building Regulation changes have taken time to be adopted, typically with a year grace period, and in some instances with phased developments able to use old Regulations for future phases.  To mitigate this, the consultation is proposing to encourage a quicker implementation of the new energy requirements, where any specific building yet to have any work commenced is to be built to the latest standards. The introduction of this stricter implementation may result in sites with the same planning consent being constructed to different Building Regulations.

Performance metrics

The new Part L is proposing four performance metrics for buildings to be measured against, which are as follows:

  • Primary energy target
  • Carbon dioxide emission target
  • Householder affordability rating
  • Minimum standards for fabric and fixed building services

It is proposed that primary energy will be the principal performance metric and carbon dioxide emissions will be used as a secondary metric. This would measure the total energy demand of the building, accounting for the whole heating fuel Lifecyle rather than just the heat demand of the dwelling.

The currently used fabric energy efficiency metric has been removed, with the proposal to encourage good fabric by retaining and improving the minimum standards for the individual fabric elements (walls, roofs, floors, windows etc).

Electric heating

The latest CO2 emission factors released by the BRE in SAP10.1 considers electricity to be less carbon intensive than gas. In combination with the proposed removal of fuel factors this allows electric heating to become more appealing. However, the new Approved Document is careful to note electric heaters are very expensive to run, and if introduced on a large scale it may have a significant impact on the National Grid.

To address the above issue, there is the proposal for the introduction of the householder affordability rating to reduce the risk of high energy bills for consumers, which will be based on the theoretical energy cost of the dwelling. As a result of the lower fuel factors for electricity, heat pump technologies are looking more promising as they have the same low-carbon benefits as direct electric heating, but can deliver heat much more efficiently overcoming affordability issues and grid-resource constraints.

Phasing out high-carbon fossil fuels

It is the Government’s intention to phase out high-carbon fossil fuels in new build housing developments by 2025 with the new Part L supporting this intention. The removal of fuel factors will no longer provide any relief to the high-carbon heating systems like LPG and oil, which was previously introduced to help developments that did not have access to mains gas. The new Part L does not look to ban these heating systems but it will make it considerably more difficult to comply with substantial mitigating measures being required.

Energy planning requirements

The draft Approved Document proposes to streamline the planning process to potentially prevent Local planning authorities from having the power to set their own energy efficiency standards in an effort to avoid confusion and inconsistencies across the country. The move to the higher energy standards required by the new Part L may lead to the Planning and Energy Act 2008 becoming amended or even made redundant.

Overheating

Following the 2018 Environmental Audit Committee it was recommended that the Government should create a new regulation to stop buildings being built which are prone to overheating. In response the Government is committed to consult around introducing a new overheating standard in an effort to manage internal temperatures but the details are yet to be released.  If you want to find out more about the risk of overheating we recently published an article about this on our website http://aessc.co.uk/blog/overheating/

Air testing

Consideration is being given as to whether developers should test all individual homes on a development instead of having the option to sample test, to avoid the potential of untested dwellings not meeting the required standard. Developers will also need to include all failed air tests within the pack of documents submitted to Building Control to indicate remedial works have been completed.

The air tightness testing scheme methodology is under review and consideration is being given to alternative testing methods such as a pulse test. The proposed new minimum standards for fabric performance for air permeability is being lowered from 10 to 8m3/m2.K at 50Pa.

Air quality

The proposed Part F changes will look to include mandatory opening restrictions on buildings in low air quality areas in an effort to promote healthy indoor air quality in new homes. Consideration is also being given to the noise output of ventilation installations as research has shown this to be one of the factors contributing to home owners turning off fans, resulting in poor air quality. The draft Approved Document is clear that systems should not be unduly noisy but further consideration may be given in a future Part E consultation.

Consultation

Currently this consultation relates only to the Building Regulations for England, which will remain open for comment until the 10th January 2020. If you wish to respond, please see the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TQW8GQ9. The Government has released a preferred option in relation to timings with the proposal of mid/late 2020 for the new regulations to come into force. It is expected in the near future for Welsh Building Regulations to also go out for consultation.

We are still reviewing all the proposed changes and further articles will be released over the coming months to keep you up to date and assist you in preparing for the new Regulations.  Feel free to get in touch with us if you want any further information on this in the meantime at info@aessc.co.uk

Proposed Timetable

Late 2019 / early 2020

Subsequent consultation on:

  • Overheating in new dwellings
  • Energy efficiency standards for work carried out in existing dwellings
  • Energy efficiency standards for new buildings other than dwellings
  • Energy efficiency standards for work to existing buildings other than dwellings

Early / mid 2020

Publication of new Part L, Part F and overheating regulations, associated guidance and supporting analysed consultation response documents.

Mid / late 2020

Part L, Part F and overheating regulations come into force.

Further Links

Future homes standard:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-future-homes-standard-changes-to-part-l-and-part-f-of-the-building-regulations-for-new-dwellings

Draft Part L and F:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-regulations-approved-documents-l-and-f-consultation-version

SAP 10.1:

https://www.bregroup.com/sap/sap10/