Building value with renewables Such as solar in new build housing

The installation of renewables, such as solar PV and heat pumps in new build housing across Scotland is helping developers meet demanding new building regulations. Locogen offers a complete turnkey solution for housebuilders, taking care of everything from design and installation to maintenance and monitoring. A properly designed and professionally installed new build renewable energy system not only helps Scottish housebuilders meet these exacting new regulations but also adds value to new homes. Here we take a look at the role of renewables in Scottish new build housing and how government policy is shaping building regulations.

Renewables for the new build housing sector in Scotland – some background

The Scottish government must meet legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions and these are set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. The act includes an interim target of 42% reduction in emissions (against a 1990 benchmark) by 2020. More than 40% of Scotland’s CO2 emissions come from energy used to heat, light and power our buildings, so it is clear that the Scottish construction industry has a major role to play in meeting Scotland’s emissions reduction targets. The part that the construction industry must play was outlined in the 2007 Sullivan report: “A Low Carbon Building Standards Strategy for Scotland”. This was updated in 2013. Renewable technologies such as solar PV play a crucial role in reaching those standards.

How building regulations in Scotland favour installation of renewable energy solutions in new build homes

The recommendations of the Sullivan Report were adopted into building regulations in 2015 and have significant impacts for renewables and new build housing in Scotland.

These impacts on the Scottish new build housing sector are reflected in Section 6 of the building regulations Technical Handbook. The overall aim of this section of the regulations is to deliver more efficient buildings with reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The regulations take a holistic view of how building design must adapt to meet these targets but suggest that there will be a greater need to consider the part which localised or building-integrated renewable energy systems, such as solar photovoltaics, solar hot water, combined heat and power and air source heat pumps, will play. Standard 6.1 is focused on reducing CO2 emissions from new build housing arising from the use of hot water, heating, ventilation and lighting. As overall emissions are considered, the designer is able to consider the energy performance of the building as a complete package and can therefore combine various elements to meet emissions targets. Realistically, however, many house builders in Scotland install renewables in their new homes to help meet these targets.

Solar on New build housing

Methodology to determine energy efficiency of new build homes in Scotland

The actual building emissions rate (BER) of the new build house must not exceed the emissions for a ‘notional’ building, known as the Target Emissions Rate (TER). This notional dwelling will have the same size, shape and ‘living area fraction’ as the proposed dwelling. The carbon dioxide emissions are measured in kilograms of CO2 per square metre of floor area per year. Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculations are used to determine the dwelling emissions rate (DER) in order for this to be compared against the TER.

Solar or heat pumps? Selecting the right renewables in Scottish new build housing

Although the building regulations adopt a holistic approach and do not specify any particular renewables for new build homes, there are clearly some technologies that are more suited than others to a domestic environment. The two most obvious candidates for renewable energy in new build homes are solar panels and air source heat pumps. Both provide efficient clean energy solutions with a small physical footprint and little maintenance requirement. Both solar pv and air source heat pumps can be effective over a range of situations and Locogen is expert at identifying which renewable energy technology is most appropriate for any new build development.

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