Part L and the Green Police

It seems like just yesterday I was absorbing the 2010 incarnation of Part L. Now 2013 is creeping up on us fast, and the consultation will be closed 4 weeks from today. The plans for zero carbon homes in 2016 and non-dwellings in 2019 are ambitious, and rightly so. But what happens after 2019? It’ll be years before there are enough zero-carbon buildings to really make a dent in UK emissions. In the meantime there are thousands of inefficient buildings that won’t get touched by Part L, because no building work is being done on them. The ever-expanding list of actions that triggers consequential improvements may help – for example making works such as boiler and window replacements trigger further improvements. But there is a danger this will just discourage building owners from doing such works in the first place, or encourage them to hide their activities from the green police.

We need to come up with new ways of bringing the existing building stock up-to-scratch, that don’t involve waiting until someone decides to do some building work. Building MOTs? Mandatory follow-through of recommendations from EPCs, DECs and air conditioning inspections? Fines for excessive energy use? I don’t have all the answers, but what I am pretty sure of is that energy prices are going to keep rising as fossil fuels get scarcer and the world’s population gets bigger. Give it another few years, and businesses won’t need legislation pushing them to manage their energy use better, they’ll have to do it to survive.

One Response to Part L and the Green Police

  1. Yes, ‘Building MOTs’, that sounds a great idea. But what follows next for buildings that fail the test? ‘Scrap’ the building when it will cost almost like putting up a complete new structure to de-carbonize it? As we try to ensure that buildings meet the zero carbon target by 2019, are there efforts to reduce the embodied carbon involved in operation and maintenance? What efforts are put in place to ensure that clients are not unnecessarily laddened with high maintenance costs and operational difficulties of the new technologies they are provided with? These are some of the questions that my research titled ‘Combating the impact of Operation & Maintenance of Low Carbon Buildings’ tries to find answers. Your professional opinion based on your first-hand experience of low carbon building design, construction, management or reseach will be very valuable to my study. The research is basically academic, but I see it as a steping stone to a great future in the design process of buildings. Please click on this link or copy to your browser if you will like to contribute your opinion to the research:
    Thank you!

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