New climate regulations demand more from the built environment

Jun 08, 2022

Rule updates coming into force in June 2022

Following a one-year transition period after a public consultation last summer, June 2022 sees new Building Regulations take effect[1]. The new regulations demand an improvement to the performance standards of new buildings across England; this, by design, lays the groundwork for the Future Homes & Buildings Standard slated for 2025 which will mandate even further cuts to carbon emissions[2]. By tightening the requirements in stages, the severity of their impact on builders should be reduced, allowing for a smoother transition towards a low carbon industry.


Why are these changes important?

The built environment accounts for a staggering 40% of UK greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, with the UK’s 28 million homes responsible for 14% of this. The amendments to the current Building Regulations, along with those proposed in the Future Homes & Building Standard, are designed to combat these levels and act as a roadmap for the UK industry and homeowners to achieve net zero by 2050[3].


What parts of the Building Regulation have changed?

The changes reflected in Documents L, F and O collectively detail the new requirements for all buildings to lower emissions.

  • Approved Document L looks at the energy efficiency of properties[4]
  • Approved Document F looks at required ventilation improvements[5]
  • Approved Document O looks at overheating safeguards[6]

Alongside these changes is Approved Document S, stipulating that from 15 June 2022, there will be a requirement for new homes with allocated parking spaces to have an electric vehicle charger (with some exceptions relating to cost, and in cases where parking spaces outnumber dwellings)[7].


What do these changes hope to achieve?

Some of the government’s main targets include:

  • A 30% reduction in carbon emissions for all new homes
  • Non-domestic buildings achieving an average 27% reduction in carbon emissions
  • Mitigating the risk of overheating in new homes (maximum limits to the amount of glazing will be set on new residential buildings)
  • New homes to adopt the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard to measure energy efficiency
  • Requirements for new or replacement heating system designs to accept low-carbon heating in future, including integrating the latest Ecodesign appliance benchmarks


So where do digital twins come in?

Technology will play a fundamental role in the decarbonisation of the construction industry, and digital twins are an ideal solution for the industry to utilise. Yet despite the mounting decarbonisation pressure, only 36% of industry participants currently use digital twin technology[8]. This leaves the other 64% with a gaping hole in their decarb arsenal, and an uphill battle ahead in their attempts to mollify the regulators.

Spinview’s supercharged offering goes even further than your standard digital twin, levelling-up the concept to offer clients true visual intelligence. Here are some of the ways Spinview’s technology can be harnessed by the built environment to fast-track its decarbonisation efforts:

  • Digital twins (BIM models) can be used to produce climate calculations in the design phase of new buildings to find the most sustainable solutions before the building is built. These models perform real-time energy analyses and simulations of building performance, ensuring the lowest possible energy consumption and the best possible occupant comfort.
  • Scanners and sniffers utilise thermal visualisations and environmental data capture to identify any equipment not performing as required (for example, if it is overheating or releasing dangerous – and invisible – particles).
  • We create dashboards that show the energy performance of a building in real time, showing the total energy consumed and the total energy produced, using IoT that connects the devices in the building.

As emerging regulations demand ever-higher standards in the drive to decarbonise the built environment, unlocking data with tech-informed solutions is key. Spinview’s enhanced digital twin technology offers something unavailable anywhere else in the market – accessible, actionable data in a real-time digital twin environment to plan, test and forecast the most viable route to next zero. Don’t get left behind – start exploring how to use digital twins as the ultimate decarb tool for your built environment assets.