Part F updates for Northern Ireland

June 2023

New energy performance guidance

A revised energy performance guidance for new buildings in Northern Ireland came into effect as of 30 June 2022. Two new technical booklets covered the key areas: 
•    F1 ‘conservation of fuel and power in dwellings’ 
•    and F2 ‘conservation of fuel and power in buildings other than dwellings’.

The revisions are likely to result in greater levels of insulation, renewable energy and low-carbon heating being widely adopted in new homes. Where on-site renewable energy generation is part of the measures required the developer would need to establish with Northern Ireland Energy Networks to what extent excess generation could be exported to the grid. If it is not possible to secure an export connection additional information would need to be provided to the homeowner or building owner on how the benefits of such systems can be maximised both in the short and long term. The new technical booklets do not prescribe the use of renewables or heat pumps, however even if specified, developers will need to consider how their buildings are designed to reduce heat loss, such as careful attention to the detailing of the building fabric at junctions and openings and/or additional insulation to the walls, floors and roofs, and even triple glazing may be part of the solution – these measures are based on the principle of preventing energy waste by making sure that the fabric of the building is adequately insulated and airtight.

Energy efficiency transformation

The guidance is likely to lead to changes in the way houses are designed and built, potentially leading to wider cavity walls to accommodate additional insulation and less air infiltration through the fabric or the specification of renewables. As with all changes a holistic approach to design is required and it is important to consider that any outcomes are managed effectively, such as maintaining good indoor air quality. These updates will also help to bring Northern Ireland’s energy efficiency standards into line with developments elsewhere in the United Kingdom and support the reduction of emissions and energy bills in new buildings, with new domestic buildings potentially able to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon emissions and new non-domestic buildings a 15% reduction above standards.

These revisions were developed to underpin guidance that supports the regulations, with no changes to regulations themselves. This was the first phase in a program of uplifts to ensure progress on the ‘Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland’, phase 4 will encourage the introduction of similar requirements to the Future Homes and Buildings Standard for England and will be introduced in 2026/2027. The final phase in 2029/2030 will review the position and consider issues that have not been addressed in the previous phases.

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