It is (almost) excellent news that the latest changes to the building regulations are definitely coming into force this October.
That will mean that new buildings, both residential and commercial, should be designed to use 70 per cent less fuel than those being built 20 years ago.
There is a more overt marriage between concerns to improve the building envelope and those to upgrade building services and plants - a welcome development.
The complication is that there remains an enormous number of F or G-rated boilers still in use and still capable of seemingly endless ‘patch and mend’. These were the type of boilers replaced under the successful cashback schemes, run earlier this year. But sadly this only reached about 2 per cent of the boilers that should be eliminated.
It had been hoped that this October the building regulations would have included a requirement for ‘consequentialimprovements’, which refers to when an extension is placed on a building, which must by definition increase overall energy use at that particular address.
The ‘consequence’ is that the energy efficiency of the existing buildingand its heating system must be improved. This has long been true for larger buildings.
Sadly this is not yet going to be a requirement for smaller buildings - even though the government’s official Economic Impact Assessment concluded that triggering such investments would have saved the economy over £710 million.
However, there will be another opportunity to make sure this happens. Mr Stunell has announced he wants the next round of changes to the energy-related regulations to begin in 2012, and that he wants them to be more relevant to improving existing buildings.
Excellent news - let us hope that he can complete the job that will be left half done this October.
Andrew Warren is director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy