4 March 2022 | Article, Insights

Did you know that in 2020, UK household emitted 67.7 MtCO2, accounting for 20.8% of all CO2 emissions? The current climate crisis has rendered this figure unsustainable with urgent remedial action required.

Energy efficient materials like EPS Insulation have an instrumental role to play to achieve the challenging thermal performance targets laid out in the Build Regulations and reduce carbon emissions produced by dwellings and commercial buildings.

In January of last year, the government published The Future Homes Standard due for implementation in 2025 with the end goal of reducing household carbon emissions by at least 75% and for net zero UK carbon emissions by 2050.  The standard outlines changes to Building Regulations to impose stricter thermal performance measures specifically in Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part F (ventilation) . From 2025, new homes will no longer be connected to the main gas grid and instead, will be expected to utilise renewable energy sources like solar power or low-carbon air source heat pumps as an alternative method of heating the home.

What is Part L?

Every new property in the UK must adhere to a set of building regulations, outlined by the government to ensure the safety and efficiency of buildings across the country. Part L of these regulations refers to the ‘conservation of fuel and power’ by embracing materials that achieve a certain level of thermal insulation, reduce energy demand and make dwellings more affordable to heat. This focus on making homes as thermally efficient as possible by using suitable materials can help alleviate some of the financial pressure on running costs for homeowners.

Part L of these regulations, alongside Part F which focuses on ventilation, is the primary focus of The Future Homes Standard updates that have been proposed for 2025 and include new builds as well as extensions and modifications to existing dwellings.

How does The Future Homes Standard work?

The Future Homes Standard provides mandatory regulations for construction industry professionals to adhere to ensuring preparedness for the standards’ implementation in 2025. Actionable guidelines include the installation of heat pumps and solar panels as a renewable energy source and reviewing material choice for thermal insulation in the fabric of buildings.  By embracing low thermal conductivity materials in wall cavities, such as EPS insulation, will help reduce heat loss and achieve the stricter thermal performance requirements laid out in the standard.

The official document outlines four areas for improvement which will contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions from UK homes;

  • Improving fabric and services (heat pumps, cooling systems or lighting)
  • Introducing low carbon heat
  • Heat-recovery technologies
  • On-site energy generation (solar and wind power)

The primary vision of the standard is all about improving energy efficiency and utilising smart tech to cut energy bills, thus reducing energy demand and helping the UK meet its targets for carbon. The net zero target states the end game is complete decarbonisation of building by 2050. To accelerate the process, certain requirements will be in place from June 2022 with the aim of reducing CO2 by 31% going forward, until further legislation comes into place.

The Role of EPS Insulation in Part L

From as early as June 2022, new homes must be constructed under building standards that effectively minimise heat loss whilst remaining affordable. EPS insulation with its low thermal conductivity and ease of on-site install is an effective option for developers considering new materials that fall in line with these new regulations.

Resource efficient manufacturing and fully recyclable (when clean) EPS is packed full of tiny air pockets that are responsible for the material’s excellent thermal performance. EPS starts its life no bigger than a grain of sand and is then expanded up to 50 times its original size in a steam chamber at 200°C. This produces an extremely lightweight, resource and thermally efficient material consisting of 98% air providing a host of benefits to the construction of next-generation thermally efficient homes.

Continuity of Insulation

Any breaks in insulation can have a considerable effect on a properties ability to prevent heat loss and thermal bypass, this can cause a chance of condensation and mould build up. Using EPS insulation helps to enhance a buildings fabric and can be installed to maintain continuity and prevent thermal bridging so that the insulation is gap free across any newly built wall, floor or roof elements.

Engineered Foam Products supply EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation for construction in a number of forms. Large EPS sheets for wall and floor insulation or for use in structural insulated panels (SIPs), a proven, cost-effective material offering superior thermal performance and significantly reducing heat loss in the home.  Shape moulded EPS floor insulation for beam and block infill applications are ideal for use in ground floor insulation as it expedites installation whilst offering high load-bearing strength under compression.

EPS sheets can be supplied cut to any thickness, bespoke to project requirements with short lead times if required urgently and simple ‘L’ shapes can be achieved for inclusion in net zero Passivehouse foundations.  To discuss your future insulation requirements with an experienced EPS supplier in conjunction with the Future Homes Standard, please get in touch.

UK household emitted 67.7 MtCO2, accounting for 20.8% of all CO2 emissions.

https://www.gov.uk/ – 2020 UK greenhouse gas emissions, provisional figures.

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