Welcome to this year’s guide to codes and regulations, including Part L, energy research projects and innovative products

The March Budget saw the Tories cull Labour’s cherished policy of making housebuilders responsible for powering everything in the home from zero-carbon sources. Removing the obligation to provide zero-carbon power for appliances was greeted by squeals of protest from the WWF and UK Green Building Council but has been widely welcomed by the rest of the industry. It was unfair to single out construction by making it - and no other industry - provide zero-carbon power.

Providing zero-carbon energy for just heating, hot water and lighting is clearly going to be easier for housebuilders now but they haven’t got off scot free. There is now a move to make them ensure the homes they build do what they say on the tin by using similar amounts of energy to heat and light as are predicted by computer modelling. This is a welcome move and has been embraced by more enlightened housebuilders such as the AIMC4 consortium, which can see the competitive advantage of delivering homes that use no more energy than is promised in the marketing blurb. They have already started research projects that set out to find the best way of delivering on this promise.

Unfortunately there is very little activity on the regulatory path to make non-domestic buildings zero carbon. A consultation tackling this closed over a year ago and seems to be forgotten. Without a non-domestic road map to zero carbon the only option is to wait and see what will be in the next two versions of Part L. Although work has already started on the 2013 revisions there is a huge amount of work to do if a consultation on this is to be out before the end of this year.The industry will be more concerned with getting to grips with the 2010 version, which doesn’t seem to be proving too onerous or expensive - one piece of good news for these difficult times.

Thomas Lane, editor

A path to zero carbon?