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SAP 2016 – Changes Ahead for UK House Building?

25 Nov 2016 at 2:05 PM

The Government has launched a consultation to help shape SAP 2016, the new method for assessing the energy performance of homes.

SAP 2016 will replace the current SAP 2012 when launched alongside new Building Regulations, which govern how homes are designed to save energy in the UK.

What changes will be made in SAP 2016?

SAP 2016

As the government is still taking feedback on how the new SAP 2016 should work, we won’t know which of these changes are final for some time.

We do however have a detailed set of proposals which are currently up for consultation and provide a good insight into what we are likely to see. The points which we believe will have the most impact are:

  • Electric heating is set to treated more kindly as the grid becomes less carbon based. In recent years there has been a huge shift away from coal power stations and toward gas and renewable generation. This means that we are likely to find it easier to heat new build homes with electric in the future.
  • Thermal bridging is now more important then ever before, with more penalties for failing to use approved details when designing and building junctions. In the absence of obvious alternatives, many builders are clinging on to the outdated Accredited Construction Details. The government is keen to see more bespoke and accurate modelling in the next version of SAP.
  • It’s going to become much easier to specify a heat pump that isn’t listed in SAP. Currently, default figures are so poor that you cannot realistically use a heat pump which isn’t on an approved list.
  • Low energy lighting could make a much bigger impact in SAP than it does at the moment.
  • Solar PV panels are going to be measured more accurately, using data from MCS certificates. New types of PV technology are also set to be included, such as those which store excess electricity in batteries for use later on.

Will SAP 2016 be harder to pass?

SAP 2016It’s hard to know for sure – this consultation is about how SAP operates and not how stringent its targets are. That said, the last version of SAP was 6% tougher than the previous, and the Greater London Authority is already enforcing Zero Carbon Homes standards for major schemes independently of SAP.

It would be surprising in this context if SAP 2016 wasn’t tougher as well.

When will SAP 2016 be launched?

Despite the name, it is unlikely that SAP 2016 will be launched this year, as the consultation needs to run its course until January 27th 2017. You can view the consultation in full from the new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) here. A new version of the Building Regulations in England will follow once SAP 2016 is complete, with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland likely following soon after.

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