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Electric heating may be hit by latest SAP

Crucial changes in the way buildings are assessed are out for consultation with electric heating and heat pumps possibly set to be hit hardest by a sharp increase in official emission factors.

Changes to the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) will come into force at the same time as the forthcoming updates to Part L and will be critical to demonstrating compliance.

Under the proposals the emission factor will rise slightly for gas, heating oil and LPG, but substantially for grid electricity which will rise by 40 per cent from 0.422kg/CO2 per kWh to 0.591kg/CO2 per kWh.

SAP 2009

Extract rom the 'Revised Emissions Factors for the National Calculation Methodology'. To see more click here

Peter Thom, managing director of Green Heat, said: “Regulations are getting tighter and tighter and it is critical we get SAP right - it is so crucial to compliance right through from building regulations to EPCs.

“The factor for electricity reflects the mix of power stations now and that will certainly not help traditional electric heating systems.”

A technical paper on the emission factors by BRE’s Christine Pout said: “They incorporate a much wider consideration of the upstream emissions arising from energy use than SAP 2005 factors and include fugitive emissions as well as emissions from energy used during extraction, processing, transformation and delivery to the final user.”

Other changes in the consultation – designed to tackle issues with assessing low energy dwellings – include using updated weather data, adoption of a monthly calculation, the explicit inclusion of cooling and new treatment of boiler systems.

Kelly Butler, marketing director at BEAMA, said the rise in emission factors was worrying: “The CO2 grid emissions are just hopeless and we spoke to the Government department on Wednesday to say if they keep to these figures it will be a big barrier to the growth of heat pumps.

“There seems to be no strategic thinking - these factors are just a snapshot and do not look forward to what might happen in the future.

“The new emission factor do not look good for electric heating, but we know that target setting under the new Part L is going to be different. Until we get the full proposals for Part L we cannot do the modelling and cannot say what the impact will be.”

Mr Butler urged the Government to extend the SAP consultation so it was aligned with discussions on Part L – which he does not expect to start until July: “The Department of Energy and Climate Change must make an announcement very quickly that this consultation will be extended.”

Presentations by Paul DeCort, from the Department for Communities and Local Government at H&V 09 in February and Cibse in April have indicated the general direction of the future Part L consultation.

Expected changes include a fuel-based Target Emission Rate (TER), extended compliance guides and a 25 per cent aggregate target for reducing CO2 emissions for all building compared to 2006 levels.

This aggregate target will be underpinned by models which aim to identify the most cost effective way of improving specific building types such as offices or hotels depending on their differing heating and cooling loads

Mr DeCort has said the Ministers “appear very supportive of this aggregate approach”.

Meanwhile, design submissions will have to include specifications, commissioning plans will have to be sent to building control at the start of a project and the energy efficiency of pumps will finally be included in Building Regulations.