- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 02 Sep 2019
Energy targets for buildings
According to the Technology Strategy Board, the UK's built environment accounts for 45% of total carbon emissions (27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic), and 73% of domestic emissions arise from space heating and the provision of hot water.
- Limit heat losses and gains.
- Provide efficient, effectively controlled and properly commissioned building services.
- Provide the building owner with information allowing them to operate the building efficiently.
- The designed carbon emission rate (Dwelling Emission Rate (DER) for self-contained dwellings and individual flats (excluding common areas) and Building Emission Rate (BER) for buildings other than dwellings) must not exceed the Target Emission Rate (TER) for a notional building of similar type, size and shape.
- Fixed building services should achieve a reasonable standard of energy efficiency. This is intended to prevent inappropriate trade-offs between different elements of the building. Minimum limiting parameters are set for key components of the building fabric to ensure that this is the case.
- Solar gains should be limited.
- As-built performance should be consistent with the DER. This includes air-permeability testing and appropriate commissioning of building services systems.
- Provision should be made for energy efficient operation by providing the building owner with information enabling them to operate the building in a way that uses no more fuel and power than is reasonable. This might be done by the preparation of a building log book.
These requirements are becoming more demanding. However, it should be noted that energy predictions are not accurate. For example, they tend not to properly factor in occupant behaviour (such as the use of a great deal of electronic equipment, and the tendency not to switch things off when predicted), and so often fall short of the energy consumption of buildings in reality.
See Performance gap for more information.
Clients may wish to exceed statutory requirements, and set their own energy targets. Perhaps they have existing standards which they would like to apply to the new development, they may wish to create an exemplar development, or they may simply wish to reduce running costs. Such targets should be established during the early stages of the project by the designers and the client so that they can be properly incorporated into the design and included in tender documentation.
In addition to the requirements of the Building Regulations, the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that there should be a presumption in favour of granting planning permission for sustainable developments, this might include low-energy or low-carbon developments.
Schemes such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and the Energy Related Products Regulations have also been introduced to help encourage energy efficiency, and government initiatives such as the Green Deal, Feed in Tariff, Renewable Heat Incentive and the Climate Change Levy have introduced financial incentives.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Accredited energy assessor.
- Building log book.
- COP21 Paris 2015.
- CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.
- Emission rates.
- Energy Act.
- Energy certificates.
- Energy consumption.
- Energy Related Products Regulations.
- Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.
- Environmental modelling.
- Green building.
- Heating degree days.
- How a focus on carbon can drive innovation benefits
- ICE launches engineering route map to deliver UN SDGs.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Performance gap.
- Renewable energy.
- Simple payback.
- The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future.
- What 'net-zero emissions' mean for civil engineers
 External references.
- Building Research Establishment Energy Assessment Method (BREEAM)].
- CIBSE example structure for an energy policy.
- Building Regulations: Approved document L2A.
- CIBSE Guide F: Energy Efficiency in Buildings.
- PACE requirements for office buildings.
- Department for communities and local government, display energy certificates.
- Carbon Trust, Low Carbon Buildings & Buildings energy efficiency.
- Passivehaus passipedia.
Featured articles and news
European ports in a historic and global perspective. Book review.
The post-war response to blitz and blight.
Could you be our new editor?
Evaluating occupant satisfaction.
The Ancona eco-mansion
What is the cost of not getting it right first time?
The government announces a new role as part of a wider package of safety reform.
Lessons for the next UK road investment strategy.
Architectural Technology Studio 3
Construction Industry Advisory Committee CONIAC
The real impact of late payment.
How to tell which infrastructure projects will work.