Government publishes guidance on nearly zero buildings requirements for new buildings

The government has recently published helpful guidance on the nearly zero energy buildings requirements for new buildings which came into force on 31 December 2020. Under Regulation 25B of the Building Regulations 2010, “Where a building is erected, it must be a nearly zero-energy building.

In a circular letter published on 10 February 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government set out two tests, both of which must be met to ensure compliance with Regulation 25B:

  • achieving the Target Emission rate under Regulation 26; and
  • carrying out and taking into account “the analysis of the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of using high-efficiency alternative systems” set out in Regulation 25A.

The letter is not applicable to new buildings owned or occupied by public authorities: Regulation 25B came into force for public authority buildings on 1 January 2019 and similar guidance was published in the same month.

This brief guidance will surely be welcome at a time when we are seeing ever greater focus on ESG issues including climate change and net zero, particularly with COP26 taking place in November and the government’s drive towards a green industrial revolution.

For more insight into what net zero means and how we get there, please join us at our next Foundations webinar on 29 April when Professor Sean Smith (Director, Centre for Future Infrastructure, University of Edinburgh) will be discussing what is net zero and how to we get there with Mills & Reeve Partner Stuart Pemble and myself.

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